Downtown attracts young pros, entrepreneurs

This architectural rendering of The Machine Shop at 4 S. Wahsatch Ave. shows multiple collaborative workspaces that will host young design professionals after its grand opening in early May.

This architectural rendering of The Machine Shop at 4 S. Wahsatch Ave. shows multiple collaborative workspaces that will host young design professionals after its grand opening in early May.

Why are urban areas so enticing to start-ups, young professionals, and entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurship needs a hub, a place with close proximity to clients, competitors, and a density of people and resources.

Downtowns across the country naturally become this center of activity because their traditional structure was built to foster business relationships and constant interaction, and Colorado Springs is no exception.

Areas throughout the city attract specific industries such as manufacturing, defense, health care and others, because they are near their clients and have the right space to suit their needs. Businesses — especially entrepreneurs and start-ups — choose downtown for the same reasons. Downtown provides close proximity to new or potential clients, professional and social networks, access to resources and a variety of spaces with room to grow, key factors for young professionals and entrepreneurs.

“Downtown is not just a place to work, enjoy a nice dinner, or attend an event. It is a unique place of connection, collaboration, and idea sharing,” said Lisa Tessarowicz, co-founder of Epicentral Coworking. “These are factors that attract young professionals and entrepreneurs, and ultimately contribute to the vitality of an entrepreneurial economy.”

Young professionals, especially, choose their location because of connections, the people around them and an area’s overall vitality and culture. No other part of the city provides the diversity of downtown, the urban center of our city with diverse businesses, retail, dining, and cultural activities.

Proof can be seen in the success of Epicentral Coworking, which opened in 2011, and the creation of the Machine Shop, a creative collaborative space scheduled to open later this year. Both spaces cater to the entrepreneur, start-up, freelancer, consultant, and individual business proprietors who seek collaboration and inspiration from their peers.

Further evidence of the collaborative and social workspace is demonstrated at the Wild Goose Meeting House, Urban Steam, and 503W. These new eateries feature craft food and drink, with flexible open seating, wifi and an atmosphere conducive to the vital personal connections on which entrepreneurs and young professionals thrive.

It’s clear that downtowns play a key role in attracting and building an entrepreneurial economy, and Colorado Springs is no exception. Entrepreneurship is critical to economic growth locally, regionally, and globally, and Colorado Springs is poised to capture the potential.

Sarah Harris is the development manager for the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs. Her role is to attract, encourage and promote new business development downtown.