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Hawaii's First Coworking Space

BoxLunch Vendor: Laverne’s Lunch Wagon

BoxLunch is a lunchtime series featuring food vendors in the BoxJelly storefront from 11am – 3pm. Click here for the list of schedules. Laverne’s will be at BoxLunch Monday’s.
 

LavernesTruckRene Paulo first opened Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering in Waipahu over 10 years ago. Rene’s son Travis manages the lunch wagon (now operating for over 5 years) and catering services, with Rene and Laverne cooking all the food. You may have seen Laverne’s at the last luau, birthday, wedding or graduation party you went to; the month of June alone, they served over 7,000 people.

Laverne's manager Travis Paulo (left) and Brandon.

Laverne’s manager Travis Paulo (left), and Brandon.

Although they are phasing out the restaurant, you may see them soon at your grocery store. Within the next year, Travis is looking to package their squid luau and smoked meat, and bottle their sauces. “A lot of people from the mainland ask us to box it up and ship [the squid luau] to them, so we thought it would be a good idea to expand into the retail sector.” As a graduate of University of Las Vegas who studied Finance, Travis brought his skills back home and contributes his knowledge towards building the family business. With Rene’s recipes and Travis’s finance skills, we can look forward to sharing in many more memories with Laverne’s.

Interview with Rene Paulo, owner of Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering:

The mahi plate - mini.

The (mini) Mahi plate – a favorite among many.

How did your concept come about?
I used to work for the state, Department of Education. I worked in food service, first as a cook, then a manager, and operated cafeterias. Then I decided to start my own restaurant back in November 2000.

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The Teriyaki Chicken plate – mini (with sauce on da rice!)

What are some of the biggest/most unexpected challenges you face?
Getting good workers. Besides doing the food, it’s finding good, dependable workers. We are pretty well established as far as catering, but the success of your business depends on the kind of workers you have.

BoxJelly members, cruising on Kamani!

BoxJelly members Jo Anne, Danni, & Chelsea, cruising Kamani St. with Laverne’s!

What are the most rewarding aspects of your business?
Just hearing the comments from people. That’s the highest compliment I can get – “Oh your food is so good!”, or “Your smoked meat is the best!” In restaurants, the bottom line is your food. If you have great service but bad food, great spices but bad food, then you really don’t have anything.

 

Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering
808-678-1678
facebook-16Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering
instagram-16 laverne’s_catering
twitter-16@laverneswagon
Monday’s: BoxLunch (307 Kamani Street)
Wednesday’s & Thurdays.: Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa, Engineering Building
Friday’s: Oceanic Cable Mililani Tech. Park
Mon. – Fri.: Campbell Industrial Park
Events: Eat the Street, the Food and New Products Show

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BoxLunch Vendor: Chef Hana

BoxLunch is a lunchtime series featuring food vendors in the BoxJelly storefront from 11am – 3pm. Click here for the list of schedules. Chef Hana will be at BoxLunch Thursday 9/19.
 
 

ChefHanaChef Hana will be our second BoxLunch vendor of the series. From Indonesia, Chef Hana has been a food service operator ever since her college days, owning first a restaurant, and a marketplace food stall. She moved to Hawaii where her first vendor experience was for Balinese Night at the Hawaii State Art Museum this past March. “I enjoyed doing it,” she says of the event, “and thought it would be a great to connect Indonesian culture with other cultures in Hawaii.” You may also have seen her at the Makiki Farmer’s Market and the Made in Hawaii Festival.

Getting ready for a popup dinner! Vegetable curry, beef rendang, and rice.

Getting ready for a popup dinner! Vegetable curry, beef rendang, and rice.

How did you come up with the concept for your business?
Well, I want to bottle our Indonesian peanut sauce. Indonesian peanut sauce is different from like a Thai peanut sauce. It is not easy to make and everyone enjoys it, so we want to bottle it and sell it here. But first, I need to get to know the local people face to face, so we can introduce the sauce. 
I want to bring variety to Hawaii. So the concept would be introducing the hidden treasure of Indonesian cuisine. It really is like a hidden treasure, and  is different on every island. Rendang is the most famous Indonesian dish. We have curry (gulai), such as the Thai and Indians do, but we use spices that are different.
Hawaii has many different food cultures here, and Indonesian food is a community food, and I want to connect it with the cultures already in the Hawaii community.

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

What are some of the biggest/unexpected challenges you face with your business?
The limitation of space; sometimes it is not enough space, or it is just not affordable. Also finding people who know how to cook (Indonesian food). We are still trying to become a part of the community culture here; I would love to train people in cooking Indonesian food!

Veggie-stuffed Tofu

Veggie-stuffed Tofu

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your business?
The satisfaction when they first try Indonesian food, and being able to introduce Indonesian treasure to the world. Sometimes, it’s not about making money. I would like to make money, but I’m passionate about what my culture is. I’m proud about introducing Indonesian culture to the world.

Find Chef Hana at

Chef Hana
808-944-1901
facebook-16CHEF HANA
instagram-16 ChefHana
Thurs. 9/26, 10/3, 10/10:BoxLunch 11am – 3pm 
Fri. 9/27, 10/4Taste Table 10am – 2:30pm
Events: Eat the Street, Made in Hawaii Festival

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BoxLunch

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BoxJelly - 307 A Kamani Street, 96813

BoxJelly – 307 A Kamani Street, 96813

Next week Monday will be the start of our lunchtime event series, BoxLunchAfter listening to members and talking with the neighbors, we are opening up the BoxJelly storefront to meet the demands of variety, convenience, and quality on Kamani Street. So come by, 11am – 3pm to see what’s cooking. Our first vendors: Laverne’s Lunch Wagon and Chef Hana!

Laverne’s Lunch Truck
MONDAY 9/16

LavernesTruckYour classic plate lunch wagon, made with local love and care! Combo, regular, mix, and mini plates are all available for whatever your appetite might be. They are a part of a catering company out in Waipahu, and even do plates such as garlic shrimp, and Eat The Street events (latest featured dish: their Kalua Pig Poppers!) Menu items include: Pork adobo, shoyu chicken, lau lau, squid luau, smoked meat, and even haupia!
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Chef Hana
THURSDAY 9/19

ChefHanaA taste of Indonesia right on Kamani Street! Chef Hana is an internationally versed cook, and is brining her knowledge of Indonesian cuisine to Hawaii. Her variety of menu options offers something for all sorts of palates! She’ll be featuring her most popular items: chicken curry and vegetable curry! Chef Hana will also be bringing beef randang, and her speciality melon-passion fruit drink, es buah!
Follow her on Facebook.

 

 

For more info., questions, or to suggest a vendor, email britney@theboxjelly.com!

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TRIPPIN’

DMV (Pt. II)

By Britney T-M

DMV
TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

**I am no longer on the mainland, and I will be writing the remainder of this series from HQ (BoxJelly, I’ve missed you!).

Things don’t always go to plan. This series is case and point for me. Plan: hit as many DMV spaces as possible. Execution: “as many as possible” means two spaces.  Both spaces I ended up at were actually Unsectord events, so taking the perspective as an actual space user (as opposed to just a “tourist”) was a nice change.

Affinity Lab

 AffinityLab

20130624_204329The first  Unsectored event was a discussion on cross-sector leadership at Affinity Lab. With the cross-pollination and networking that occurs, there couldn’t have been a better setting than a coworking space for the discussion. At Affinity Lab, there was a key coded door, wide open receiving room, and a whole back area I knew I wouldn’t have time to schedule a tour for. Because of the limited accessibility I would have, I started paying closer attention to the details. 

20130624_204412It was at this space where it occurred to me how advantageous displaying member profiles could be. Upon entering, a table of business cards greet you. Towards the back by the printers is a bulletin board of one-page, self-authored profiles of members. Each personality comes through in their writing styles and flyer designs, and so did information on their businesses, skill sets, and experiences. What better use of copy/printing wait time, than getting to know your coworkers?

20130624_204309The event itself left me with a huge sense of encouragement. I’m very fortunate to be recently graduated during a time where the base for this ecosystem for innovation is already built. The model for Unsectord events wouldn’t be as feasible without coworking spaces, and coworking spaces wouldn’t have been supported without the rise of the independent worker (whether you’re on the freelancing tech side of life, or the Downturn hustler end of the spectrum). Through coworking spaces, we can expect to see much more variety in what organizations and businesses do,  the type of interactions we’ll have, and ultimately, the capabilities we’ll be using to fulfill that human potential.

 

PunchRock

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The Unsectord event we attended at Punch Rock was for a happy hour around social innovation. It was here that I met founder Roxie Alsruhe. PunchRock sits atop the third floor of a historic brick building, the first two floors of which are (also) an interior furnishing store.

PunchRockworkareaThere’s a common work area, kitchen, meeting room, and roof top. As a place, the PunchRock community is made of members who are involved in everything from alternative energy to fashion. “Essentially what our mission is, is to grow social entrepreneurship,” says Roxy. “Social entrepreneurship is the way to break down the mold of what business traditionally is or how organiations traidtionally run…it’s basically how I view social enterprises as mission driven businesses. They’re sustainable and they’re making a positive impact. So we’re punching through the rock. We’re PunchRocking.”

BinderThat also came with unexpected challenges – like people not taking them seriously. “We were the first coworking space in the nation’s capital that was focused on social impact. Many were skeptical of the idea, and [the focus] on social enterprises.” So PunchRock has become not only a coworking space, but also a learning environment and gathering place where different workshops like obtaining free legal advice from Georgetown Law’s Social Enterprise and Non-Profit Law Clinic are held and events like Unsectord discussions take place.

The Bradley, from Eone Timepieces. "Because telling time shouldn't require sight."

The Bradley, from Eone Timepieces. “Because telling time shouldn’t require sight.”

From energy to education to genocide prevention, PunchRock members are cross-pollinating ideas, skills, and networks. Sitting next to us was Dewey, an intern with Three Birds Sustainability, an organization that brings renewable energy to underserved schools and integrates renewable energy into their curriculum. A couple desks away was Hyungsoo, who designed a timepiece, the Kickstarter for which was launching the next day (and has raised over $500,000 in just 35 days). A faceless watch (or, timepieces because you don’t actually ‘watch’ it) – is innovative, creative, and about every other buzz word you could think of, but it’s the impact it has that matters (especially for the blind, and visually impaired). “…there’s something much bigger than you are,” Roxie explains. “A lot of different issues need to be confronted with, and imbedding that into your lifestyle and with the work that you do.” As we would say at the BoxJelly, Work the Way You Live!

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The Simple Magic with Denny McDonough

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Win-win[-win] situations are magical, but how to create them? Here to teach us is Denny McDonough, adjunct professor at Chaminade University and President of Attitude & Response Management System. In this weekly workshop, Denny will teach the strategies and skills for effective persuasion. Unlock your potential by expanding skills and knowledge in persuasion, communication, and networking to get people to do get what they want (and what you need done).
Previous groups of Denny’s programs include the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Hawaii and the Rotary Club. Join us as we welcome Denny’s workshop series at the BoxJelly!
Date: Wednesday, August 14, 21, 28 & Sep 4
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Box Jelly – White Box
Event Description: DO NOT MISS THIS! We are excited to present this 4-week workshop series with top sales and leadership coach Denny McDonough. Whether you do sales or not, Denny teaches you easy to use strategies to get what you want and a whole lot more.
Open To Box Jelly Members?: Yes
Open To Public?: Yes. Invite your friends!
Price: FREE 1st class for BoxJelly members
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TRIPPIN’

DMV (Pt. I)
By Britney T-M

DMV
TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

The Social Innovation Program (at George Mason University)

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SIP 2013! Photo cred: Katie Rendon (Program Director)

From our first day: touring the campus.

From our first day: touring the campus.

So this is it; the reason I’m TRIPPIN’. I approached The Social Innovation Program with the question: “How am I going to learn more about social innovation?” The answer: by doing it. The first week was packed with speakers that presented on everything from accounting to the “myths of social entrepreneurship“. Then for the following four weeks, we broke out into teams and performed consulting projects and created our own lean-startup models. Our team consulted for a performing arts organization and a service center, and attempted to address the gap in technology education for undeserved communities. Other consultation projects included work with organizations from farmers’ markets to community discussion platforms, and lean startups that addressed issues of ex-offender re-entry and social innovation education at the elementary school level. What a trip!

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Waitin’ for the metro.

Co-living and co-working is a large part of how we were able to deliver so effectively in such a short period of time. We’re seeing this paradigm shift of the way we work, which also includes shifts in the way we live.

InterGen Care at Graduation/Pitch Fest!

InterGen Care at Graduation/Pitch Fest!

By living this way for the 5 weeks of the program, I was confronted by my expectations, and the unexpected. Expectation: I won’t use Twitter until more of my friends do. The Unexpected: I’ll make new friends that will prompt me to up my Twitter game, and I’ll realize how much professional potential there is to unlock (thanks Ramzy!). Expectation: I’ll get to know my roommates, and we’ll learn to live with each other. The Unexpected: My roommates will get to know me, and we’ll have to learn how to live without each other. As a graduate with no “real job”, it was discouraging trying to find opportunity. Having all securities such as prospects, predictability, and instantaneity fall from under you is admittedly scary. But the thrill teaches you, and in the clarity of zero gravity, I have come to what so many others realize: opportunity is created. Expectation: The world is a big place. The Unexpected: The world is infinite.

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TRIPPIN’

Hanover/Madison, IN
By Britney T-M

Hanover/MadisonTRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.
Student Activities Center at Hanover College
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The Center was donated by Jo Ann Flubaucher Withrow ’63 in honor of her late husband Ward Withrow ’60. 

Usually those tables aren't there, but there was a banquet going on (versatility!)

This area doubles as event space (versatility!)

Being so close to my alma mater and hometown-away-from-home, I had to visit good ‘ole Hanover and Madison, Indiana. I’m glad I did because Hanover College has coincidentally implemented the perfect coworking environment. Admittedly, I was rejected for a grant to study the application of coworking in the design of public campus spaces at HC, but so was Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural proposal, so I digress.

This used to be a laundry room.

This used to be a laundry room.

Our Sociological Research Methods class (led by Dr. Robyn Ryle) formulated recommendations for renovation implementations. “Back in my day”, (as in 2012) Phase I of the “SAC” (as we endearingly called it), had a few pool tables, some flat screens, a few ping pong tables, and a ‘theater’ (bunch of sofas in front of a huge flatscreen).

With the completion of Phase 2, there is now a computer lab, a stage with a green room, open area space where pool tables and ping pong tables, meeting rooms, common areas, lunch nooks, and organizations such as the Haq Center lining the first and second floors (yes, BOTH floors are now in use!) which include the student life offices.

This used to be underutilized storage area.

This used to be underutilized storage area.

There are now countless possibilities for interaction with all of the diversity in space – student organizational meetings, class project work sessions, networking over ping-pong – the list is endless! A lot of conversation could occur between coworking spaces and institutions with spaces such as the SAC. I am jealous of, but more so very excited for, all future Hanoverians.

Second floor common area.

2nd floor common area.

NOTE TO STUDENTS: Take advantage that costs such as ‘membership dues’ are already factored into your tuition, and quarters aren’t required to operate the pool tables (billiards skills are ESSENTIAL to connect with local sub-cultures of the nearby town of Madison, IN). 

NOTE TO ’12 CLASSMATES: If you need to find me during Homecoming, I’ll be on the beer tour at The Shoebox, or hustling pool tables in the SAC.

Madison, IN

The Broadway Fountain

The Broadway Fountain

In front of the Lanier Mansion.

In front of the Lanier Mansion.

I don’t have much to say (there are no coworking spaces here), except for my expressions of affinity for this little river town. It’s got so much heart and soul if you look, and it unfortunately took me 4 years to find it. It’s a small town, but there are a lot of professionals that are either located here or pass through because of behemoths like the power-plant, that would/could use coworking; not to mention the population of tourists, and community opportunities that coworking spaces tend to bring. The question of coworking in rural areas always tugs at my interests because of Madison being my home-away-from-hometown. If you’re interested in this conversation too, please, get @ me.

Next stop: Social Innovation Program at George Mason University

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JellyWorks – Words+Pictures feat. Clifford Cheng of Hawaii Skin Diver Magazine

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The BoxJelly’s creative series JellyWorks continues with it’s next exciting installment, this time featuring owner and designer of Hawaii Skin Diver (HSD) Magazine, Clifford Cheng. Join us to welcome his work into our creative space with the opportunity to hang out with Cliff and mingle with members of our community. There will be a presentation followed by a Q & A session, light pupus, and beverages. Don’t miss the chance to chat with a design genius and chill with a diverse crowd of entrepreneurs, ocean enthusiasts, photographers, creatives, and designers.

Clifford is a treasure of the islands and since the inception of HSD in 1999 he has built the brand using his business savvy and design prowess to now include a television show, spearfishing gear, apparel, and DVD collection. The designs for his magazines have been nationally recognized by awards from the American Advertising Association and the American Institute of Graphic Arts; and now large-scale prints of some of his finest work will be featured in our co-working space.

What: JellyWorks – Words + Pictures

Who: Clifford Cheng of Hawaii Skin Diver Magazine

Where: The BoxJelly

Date: This Thursday, July 25, 2013

Time: 6 pm – 10 pm

RSVP: Please RSVP on our Facebook event page  

HSDCoverBackToCali

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TRIPPIN’

Louisville, KY
By Britney T-M

Louisville, KY

TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

iHub

“Louisville is extremely strong in the manufacturing, distribution, and long-term healthcare sectors. How do we cross-pollinate and innovate around them?” – Vik Chadha (director of iHub)

iHub

iHub is a coworking space within Nucleus (a research park), located in downtown Louisville. For just $80/month, membership grants you access to the entire space (which includes mailing services, meeting rooms, and events), free coffee, and free parking.

My host, Vik (director of iHub), was inspired by the cross-pollination and networking aspects of coworking, and in six months time, turned around what used to be a storage building for Nucleus into a coworking space. For Nucleus, it’s a great way for vertical industry cross-pollination, and can act as a sort of feeder into their main facilities, which include office spaces, laboratories for research, and business management and consulting services.

Dorit Donoviel (NSBRI Industry Forum Leader) with Mayor Greg Fischer

Dorit Donoviel (NSBRI Industry Forum Leader) with Mayor Greg Fischer

They are very open to first-time users, offering free use of the space to them. Vik emphasized not having to monetize services, by having the right alignment in order to be a magnet for those who will best carry out the initiatives you are trying to implement. In the same way that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing, alignment is the most effective way for a coworking space to exist. “It’s all about identifying the needs for the ecosystem,” said Vik. “Louisville is extremely strong in the manufacturing, distribution, and long-term healthcare sectors. How do we cross-pollinate and innovate around them?” In answering this question, iHub creates a sort of ‘critical mass’, a density if you will, for creativity and innovation, that it will eventually feed into the science park and in turn, serve as a beneficial ‘Nucleus’ (puns intended!) for the entire city.

“We want to create our own future by creating ecosystems for innovation. How can we create a foundation for that?” -Vik Chadha, iHub Director

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Vik and me on TV! (wlky.com)

The launch of XLerateHealth’s Accelerate SMARTCAP Program at iHub could not have been an anymore serendipitous example. Vik extended an invitation for me, as it was scheduled during our time to meet. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was in attendance, as well as Ted Smith, the chief of economic growth and innovation. An initiative of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), the SMARTCAP program will be an accelerator program, with awards in $20,000 to each selected participating early-stage startup companies who address healthcare barriers in space to address problems here on earth, such as access to remote areas, limited resources, and patient evaluation. (Space flight will also turn commercial within our lifetimes, so look out for that as well.) Selected start-ups will also have full access to Nucleus services, and of course, access to a network which includes NASA. They are currently accepting applications. Louisville is a prime location for this program to emerge, not only because of Nucleus, but also because of the city’s rich history in distribution and healthcare.

With all of this wonderful news, I couldn’t help but wonder how all of this benefit would include/enhance the lives of the people living in Louisville, and in Kentucky. The answer? Organic growth (of the economy), of course.

Christopher Davis

Twitter: @cdavis

“The more I explore it, the more I realize that what we don’t have is a space that’s constantly trying to benefit and grow the creative economy in Louisville. That’s what I want to do in this space.” -Christopher Davis

The next “space” that I would visit has not yet opened it’s doors, but founder of what will be Method in Louisville, Christopher Davis, was more than willing to meet with me. We met of course, at the place that parented the whole coworking concept: a coffee shop.

Quills Coffee on Baxter Ave.

Quills Coffee on Baxter Ave.

A young up-and-coming designer and entrepreneur himself, Chris is not only trying to cultivate an industry, but looking to grow the city as a whole. What started out as an initiative to open a coworking space has turned into an analysis of Louisville’s ecosystems and cultures that led Chris to innovate around what so many smaller cities (including Honolulu) experience: the dreaded brain drain. “…it’s harder to find talent here in Louisville, which is so ridiculous because I have so many friends who were, and are, moving to places like the Valley and Austin and Chicago because they can’t get jobs in Louisville. Or, they think they can’t get jobs in Louisville.”

What will be the header for the Method page (in Louisville red!)

The more he looked around, the more Chris realized that Louisville needed a physical space for a designer and developer culture to form (much like what Nucleus is doing for the entrepreneurial, science, and healthcare culture); for people to come, create, build, and ‘”organically” develop the identity of the designer and developer cultures that are not yet in place. Realizing that renting desks would not feasibly sustain a space and distracts from other financial opportunities, Chris wants to build Method with the intentions of it being a creative commons; a place to cultivate creativity in Louisville. “The more I explore it, the more I realize that what we don’t have is a space that’s constantly trying to benefit and grow the creative economy in Louisville. that’s what I want to do in this space.” His ideas build a sort of support matrix that would patch a lot of holes that many urban areas see (such as unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, and outsourcing). Workshops and events open to the public, a three-tiered educational plan, and a “Startup Weekend” type of event to act as a crowd-sourcing program to address the city’s problems.

Chris is one of those people whose emanating love for their city keeps its heart pumping. Literally, a place would only be a bunch of buildings if it weren’t for the initiative of its citizens to contribute to its life flow. As a millennial, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start as our generation ages into the professional world and leadership positions, but there are great examples of peers we can look to for that glimpse of guidance.

Next: How Hanover College is (coincidentally) creating a coworking environment.

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TRIPPIN’

Bloomington, Day 1 (Pt. II)
By Britney T-M

Bloomington

TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

…Continued from Part I

SproutBox

SproutBox
Mentioned by both John and Aaron, SproutBox is a different breed entirely. It’s not quite a coworking space, but the cooperative environment is certainly all the same. What’s different is the business model. Believing that startup culture is failing entrepreneurs, founders Mike, Brand, and Mark are an alternative to the typical venture capital investment group.

“[There’s kind of a] ‘spray and pray’ model…If you’re a startup, what that means is that you’re basically partnering with someone who has a high degree of failure as a part of the expectation in the relationship. Obviously they want them all, they want you to succeed, but their business model is predicated on the idea that most of them won’t.” -Mike Trotzky, on how startup culture is failing entrepreneurs

20130610_171306An alternative to venture capitalism, SproutBox positions itself between an accelerator and incubator. They bring on 3-4 companies a year (1 per quarter) who are in the early stage of their ideas. “The economics don’t work out for [investors] to be very hands on…we’ve always tried to find a way to be incredibly hands on.” So instead of ‘spraying-and-praying’ a bunch of money away, SproutBox provides the majority of their investment in the form of services – everything from building the website from the ground up, to legal research and consultation. Not all tech scenes can give entrepreneurs what they need – so SproutBox builds the whole product so they don’t have to outsource work (‘try buy local!’ as we would say).

Founders Mike, Brad, and Mark founded ReCite, their first venture together, which ended up being one of Bloomington’s first major sells. In this process, they realized they were successful at working together, and discovered a lot of problems in the tech scene. Therein the idea of SproutBox was conceived, and today, they currently have three different funds with over 20 companies. The most recent clients have been travel based companies – Evacua, Pocket cab, Trackable  are all Indianapolis based.

Basketball and cornhole - two indicators that together, undoubtedly locate us in Indiana.

Basketball and cornhole – two indicators that together, undoubtedly locate us in Indiana.

The ‘coworking’ comes into play with SproutBox’s hackers in residence. Instead of having members pay, they’ll give them 10 hours of work for a SproutBox project and they call it even. This exposes coders and gives them freelance projects, while helping SproutBox fulfill their services.

Currently in a period of downtime, Mike is now working with a previous client for Cheddar Getter – an online bill recurring management system. They are attempting to target coworking spaces through their affiliate program (‘make some cheddar together!’), so be sure to check them out if you’re involved with a space.

And thus, SproutBox is a prime portrayal of innovation. Even though they may have reinvented the (VC) wheel, their ethic for personal investment (in their partnerships and their work) reflects a classic set of business values – you know, the sort that made a ‘man’s word’ sincere, and a handshake just as binding as a contract. In a way, all that innovation is, is going back to basics; integrating previous practices and enhancing current processes. The challenge might be the funny looks other kids give you on the playground, but I have a feeling organizations like SproutBox will be the next ones to lead the lunch line.

Next stop: Louisville, KY

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