Despite the abundance of such organizations in Austin, the first ever co-working space in San Marcos kicked off this Friday at the Root Cellar Bakery.
The initiative began when Carina Boston-Pinales, San Marcos citizen and co-founder of the San Marcos Memaid Society, started exploring work environment options when she did the feasibility report for San Marcos Main Street. Upon consulting with entrepreneurs and small businesses in town, she found a lack of affordable office space. She decided to create Splash Co-Working.
“The concept behind co-working spaces is that they allow talent and resources to be in the same incubated space, facilitating dialogue and collaboration,” Boston-Pinales said.
Having to pay for office space these days can be so expensive that it can cause a solo entrepreneur to fail, Boston-Pinales said.
“When given an opportunity to have a home base with a mailing address, freelance workers are able to gain more respect and legitimacy,” Boston-Pinales said. “Clients are more likely to come meet with you if you have a place that is professional and welcoming.”
Splash Co-Working hopes to provide that in the future, Boston-Pinales said. Currently, the initiative is limited to occupying venues temporarily, but founder and CEO Boston-Pinales is working on securing a permanent location.
In the meantime, Splash hosts “pop-up” co-working events for members of the community coming to cooperate proactively together in independently-owned businesses around town.
“This is a grassroots, home grown San Marcos effort, organically put together,” Boston-Pinales said. “It’s keeping our money here, which gives us the power to elevate and accelerate the development that the community wants to see.”
Leah Armstrong, resident, said she heard about pop-up co-working from Facebook friends who had attended pop-ups. This is the first time she has attended such an event, she said.
“I work for an Austin-based advertising agency from home, here in San Marcos,” said Leah Armstrong, residents, on her reasons for attending. “When you work from home, you miss interacting with people. It’s not healthy to be cooped up all the time.”
Other attendees had varying levels of experience with co-working networks.
Luke Lashley, finance junior, said he is familiar with co-working spaces in Austin, but this is the first he has heard of co-working in San Marcos.
“I heard about it through Twitter,” Lashley said. “I like to keep in the loop. It’s great not to have your work restricted. Anything that can get done with wi-fi, I can get done while I’m here.”
The initiative is intended to be all-inclusive, and no statement clarifying eligibility requirements will be released, Boston-Pinales said.
“Some co-working spaces are women-only, or strictly tech-oriented, for example,” Boston-Pinales said. “We are open to anyone. In a way, these pop-ups are similar to marketing research: it allows us to see which groups are interested, and what their needs are.”
The first pop-up event, held at a conference room in the Corridor Business Park Feb. 18, reached full capacity, prompting Splash’s founder to begin searching for larger venues. About 25 people attended the pop-up on Friday, coming and going freely throughout the event’s three-hour duration.
“We also want to open a dialogue that offers students a learning experience outside of what their major has defined for them,” Boston-Pinales said. “We are a neutral collective that wants to encourage students to engage with the community, to become citizens rather than just residents.”