With over 500 home-based businesses in Greater Forest Lawn in mind, EmergeHUB – a coworking space on International Avenue — has created some unique programs to help them grow.
“We were looking for forward-thinking, innovative ways to address the challenges Greater Forest Lawn faces,” explains Mark Shields, project manager at International Avenue BRZ. “There seemed to be a connection between businesses operating in a commercial space and the people that live around it.”
“These programs seemed like the next natural progression.”
- EmergeMARKET Vendor Training: EmergeMARKET is an outdoor marketplace that runs through the summer in a modified shipping container at EmergeHUB. At 2017’s EmergeMARKET, Shields noticed that some of the vendors had never done a market before, and didn’t know what to expect. “Some of them didn’t have cash on hand or signage” he says. So, led by Phil Lozano of Momentum, EmergeHUB hosted a first-of-its-kind crash course in market vending for new and aspiring entrepreneurs on May 17, covering topics like merchandise display, promotions, and table setup.
- EmergeKITCHEN: Around 30% of businesses along International Ave are restaurants, some of which have under-utilized space, so having a commercial kitchen available was a vital augment to the space. With no minimum booking length required, people can use EmergeKITCHEN to try making their own product on that scale or use it to produce for a market. “We’re always trying to lower barriers for entrepreneurs to excel,” Shields says.
- EmergeRETAIL: Besides food, retail is another major niche market for EmergeHUB. Every summer, EmergeHUB selects up to two retail-based members to engage in EmergeRETAIL – an in-depth incubator program. Shields describes it as a “stepping stone towards opening a store along International Avenue.”
Shields says meeting new people and being able to help them find solutions to their business challenges is the best part of his job at EmergeHUB. He says the Hub will be “laser-focused” on its activities to serve the community moving forward, and hopes to see new programs spark up in the future.