I will be the first to admit that I love a good challenge, so when faced with the opportunity to dream up a co-working center concept, I was intrigued, and admittedly terrified. My boss handed me an initial idea and floor plan and told me to run (life advice: if you ever find someone with unshakable faith in your capacity, hold on tight!). My passion for helping people, for understanding how businesses and communities work, and my competitive drive to produce something bigger than myself lead me down a path of statistics and studies... and endless pots of coffee.
What I found was, we already know there is a series of roadblocks in supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in Maine. So, now we ask ourselves, “how do we solve the problem?”
Understanding the Call to Action
Augusta is home to the largest workforce in the area, with the City of Augusta reporting 59% of their population is currently employed in the workforce, 18% are under 18 years old, and 18% are above age 65. This means just 5% of the adult population is not currently employed!
The changing work landscape, including the rise of the millennial generation, now more than 54% of the workforce (Millennial Majority Workforce Study, 2015), presents a challenge for employers and businesses. As more people aim to work from home or remotely, some are faced with the challenge of distractions, equipment expenses, and overhead. By providing a cost-effective, and lifestyle conducive solution, BBC provides a service that meets the economic, and health needs of Maine’s workforce, while maintaining a stable business model.
Creating Something Sustainable for All
Americans work more than any other demographic. By providing a convenient, productivity minded space, BBC is differentiating itself by focusing on the specific needs of consumers on a larger scale, BBC asks, “how do we help you work productively, and enrich your life?” Ballard Business Center does this by providing gym access, showers, free parking, and placement in a community that is focused on businesses helping each other grow.
The business center model was adapted and adopted to solve a critical need in Central Maine. The mission of Ballard Business Center is to adapt with the modern workforce and allow for strategic growth, as individuals become the core of business and community. We exist to bridge the gap between median income and entrepreneurship, such that no office-based business is hindered by start-up cost.
57% of Augusta’s workforce makes less than $24,000.00 annually. The city has gathered significant data that shows Augusta’s citizens want to work, BBC is here to solve problems, and provide a cost-effective way to do so.
Monthly memberships include printing, scanning, wifi, workspace, conference space, gym use, showers and locker room, a kitchenette and food storage, free parking, and free coffee. This combination isn’t seen anywhere in Maine, and not ever before available to those demographics. Spaces are priced by privacy level: shared office, or private office. In some markets a low price may cause buyers to feel cautious, however, Augusta’s median income creates a call to action: A premiere space with premiere pricing isn’t viable in that market yet.
Redefining the structure of work
This concept is as literal as it is visceral. Ballard Business Center is a space where the need for flexibility, work-life balance, and convenience is met with modern amenity and ease of use.
The workforce is changing. In 2015 millennials were the largest demographic in the workforce and 79% would leave their jobs to work for themselves (Millennial Majority Workforce Study 2015).
BBC's combined amenities provide a one-stop space for people to create and deliver work that feels good. Ballard Business Center provides a space to adjust the physical and mental structure of how Maine produces work.
While one business center wont cure all of Maine’s ailments, what it will do is create a space for growth, for collaboration, and for community. While we open our doors as a beta-space, constantly changing, growing, and reacting to needs, we hope you will join us! We aim to accommodate to changing times, to attract entrepreneurs, and to encourage collaboration in the community.
For more information on the Millennial Majority workforce study, click here: http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce
Aly Cram is the Director of Operations for Dirigo Capital Advisors. Aly has worked in operations, branding, media, marketing, event production, sales, and service since 2009. When she isn’t chugging pots of coffee and bringing order to chaos a la the borg, she can be found cooking, spending time with her siblings, hiking, biking, traveling, or on the water. To contact Aly, email: firstname.lastname@example.org