When I first moved to the suburbs over 20 years ago, a co-working space was almost the only option to occupy so many of the acres of underutilized office space that was still being occupied by one or more old-line industry giants in these rapidly changing environments.
That changed in 2006, when a group of Brooklyn founders organized PopUpWorkSpace in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. PopUpSpace connects individuals with an open invitation to set up shop where one may create a brand new business or work to upskill.
Today, there are approximately 15 PopUpWorkSpace locations located throughout the U.S. They are tapping into a long-standing trend, as the booming development of the so-called “skills economy” in tandem with accelerating technology has created an ever-expanding market for workforce- or company-development and education services. The founders of these spaces predict that the co-working movement is only going to accelerate its development over the next several years.
What sets PopUpWorkSpace apart from the competition is its simplicity. Opened in 2006 in a dilapidated building in Park Slope, these space were subsidized by the modest rent paid by PopUpStories, an educational program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, The MacArthur Foundation and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
Today, PopUpStories offers a number of courses for adults, including courses in marketable writing and project management. Those who take the class are introduced to some of the people who live and work in their current location, and are offered referrals to other PopUpStories locations.
For those looking to establish their own community, there are also catering and food programs as well as weekly trolleys and bike rides.
This product doesn’t charge any monthly membership fee. Membership for PopUpWorkSpace members to the PopUpStories classes and shared resources is done in a peer-to-peer manner, with all fees flowing straight into a common pot, with the intention of helping each founder become more financially independent.
What does this not entail? If you signed up with PopUpWorkSpace last year, you get to keep that free space. It’s a great way to start, and works well for people who just don’t want to give up their coffee shop meet-up spot.
PopUpWorkSpace locations are generally attractively landscaped and painted in warm earth tones. The business information on their website is also accessible via a mobile app.
The creators of these spaces now anticipate a long-term financial outlook when it comes to retaining, training and educating customers. Entrepreneurs can create pop-up spaces on their own dime, and are able to hand-select talented and dedicated staff with a vested interest in their success.
For established professionals, PopUpWorkSpace offers some of the same resources as it does for individuals looking to run their own business. Among the benefits offered is global software or help with building an online presence for your new venture.
PopUpWorkSpace also runs programs like “[email protected],” a professional development program for those looking to change careers. In addition, PopUpWorkSpace “Hotel” developments in Germany allow jobs to be outsourced from home or the office.