The 5th T Innovation Group, operator of the Conway Innovation Center, is adding several new business services at the Conway Innovation Center.
The Center is now offering co-working space to entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers. Co-working spaces, or shared workspaces, are locations where affordable office space is provided for individuals looking for a work environment with a community atmosphere. At the Conway center, located at 1119 Third Ave., use of a small conference room, wifi, a lounge and kitchenette are included in the $10 per day fee. Weekly and monthly rates are also available.
The Conway Innovation Center is a business incubation center that focuses on the development of emerging technology, life science, information technology and service businesses. It is designed to foster entrepreneurial growth and sustainable companies in the Grand Strand and has launched several highly-successful businesses.
Jan Silverman, director of the Conway Center, said most larger cities and innovative communities have one or more co-working spaces, but there are none currently available on the Grand Strand.
“We believe co-working space is the next step to advance our goal to build innovative companies and sustainable communities and we have the added advantage of being in the heart of Downtown Conway, with its fantastic restaurants and wonderful shopping opportunities,” Silverman said.
Additionally, for small teams and startups that want to take advantage of flexible private space, there are small offices available for monthly rent. Office tenants have extended hours for use of their space as well as all of the amenities available to those co-working in the space. Cost of the private offices varies with the needs of the tenant and the size of the space.
There are three offices for rent that include desks, chairs and bulletin boards, and there is room for about 10 co-workers.
Silverman points out that being at the Innovation Center is good for networking.
“I don’t think co-working is for everyone, but I think there’s a group that would be glad to be here,” she said.
Michael H. Roberts, president of the Board of the 5th T, says one of the challenges faced by businesses in their early stages is finding facilities that serve their purposes at reasonable costs.
“We were a start-up when we started five years ago. For a startup to be in business five years later is a testament,” he said.
The CIC is a public/private economic development effort, funded by the regional business community, major educational institutions and other leading private foundations and is administered through the Fifth T Innovation Group, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Fifth T also operates another business incubator, the Georgetown Innovation Center, in Downtown Georgetown.
John Kenny, director of the Georgetown Innovation Center, said many of the people that his group is helping are area retirees who need more money, and they’re starting businesses.
“You can tell we’re excited about what we do,” he said.
Roberts says the group has added new members to its Board of Directors, who can act as a part of the overall mentoring team.
Veysel Gokbel, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Pittsburgh and a startup consultant, and Monica Gray, an associate professor in the Engineering Science program at Coastal Carolina University, have joined the Board, Roberts said.
The program also offers small business loans through its partnership with Community Works of Greenville.
Call (843) 488-2733 or email jsilverman@CICinnovation.com.