Last Friday I had the chance to meet up with 20-something other individuals from across our state to talk about something we have in common: building coworking communities.
It was great—a lark of an idea that David Tominsky and I had been chatting about off and on for a few months finally coming to fruition. Coworking isn’t new to Iowa, we’ve had spaces operating here in Des Moines since at least 2008, but we haven’t completely figured it out either.
Overall, I know of sixteen spaces across the state and we representation at this meetup from nine of them. From Springboard Coworking (Sioux City) in the West to Creative Collective (Davenport) in the East, they vary a lot in terms of size, legal structure, community support and funding, mission and age. Furthermore, like most people who run coworking spaces-worldwide, most of us just happened into this.
That is why it was so important for us to get to know each other, to learn from each other and to build a community amongst each one another. Some of the topics discussed include ‘finding our tribe’ (many of the attendees had never been in another coworking space other than their own), bringing broader awareness to the benefits of coworking, sharing ideas on member recruiting and on-boarding.
We formed a sort of de facto group which we’re calling the “Iowa Coworking Collaborative” and plan to meet again.
We were privileged to host the meetup at Gravitate but full credit for planning, facilitation and pizza-buying goes to David, Sarah Binder and Jessalyn Holdcraft from Vault Coworking & Collaboration Space in Cedar Rapids.
 This number doesn’t include incubators, accelerators or any entities like that.
 Fong’s, of course.
PHOTO CREDIT: Vault Coworking & Collaboration Space via Facebook