Cool Coworking Space Spotlight

Small town Skowhegan goes big for small business

Want to know what your community needs most? Ask them.

That’s what Main Street Skowhegan did. As a nonprofit, its mission is the revitalization of the downtown area of this small Maine town with just over 8,000 people. And rather than move ahead on hunches and guesses, a needs assessment was conducted with hundreds of businesses. 

The answer? Conference space. Office space. Educational and networking opportunities.

So on April 11, 2022, the Skowhegan Center for Entrepreneurship opened its doors.

“The biggest need of our business community is support,” said Business Relations Manager Patric Moore. “We’re putting together classes on accounting, web design, finance, IT… pretty much everything that goes along with running a business.”

The space that the Center occupies includes two conference rooms and a handful of desks. All in, the whole facility is about 900 square feet. Moore noted that each part is designed for flexibility.

“Everything can move around and fold up. We can host groups or configure small workstations. We have a kitchenette — we all need coffee! And then we offer our own programming ad our member businesses use our space for their own events.”

Local businesses aren’t the only ones interested in leveraging the space and the resources. The Entrepreneurship Center is attracting a fair amount of people looking for — imagine this — a coworking space.

“With more and more folks working from home and the remote work that resulted from COVID, we’ve had an uptick in people asking about using our space so they aren’t at their dining table anymore.” 

This inclusion of individual freelancers, gig workers, and remote employees enriches the community of the Entrepreneurship Center. But larger organizations want in on it, as well, including an accelerator program run out of Dirigo Labs in Waterville, Maine.

“They're in their first cohort right now,” Moore shared. “We've set it up to be a hub and spoke model. They are more focused on more tech while our area has more of a focus on agriculture, outdoor recreation, and the food scene. We’re all serving people in the ideation phase, helping locals figure what they need and how to make it happen. We want to help them understand the whole business cycle, from growth to maturity to exit.” 

The Center uses Coworks software to manage its rooms and resources, and to schedule tours and promote events to members.  

“We want to give business owners the opportunity to tell their story,” Moore said. “And we’re excited to be a part of their growth.”

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