There are a number of great neighborhoods that have healthy clusters of economic development around the City. It seems that rather than concentrate startups in an innovation district that we should connect the clusters. (Note: “Innovation Necklace” is a take on Olmsted’s Boston Emerald Necklace of Parks in Boston) Could the clusters be connected by networking, app, and/or transit?
One of the benefits of an innovation district is the concentration of companies and people that engenders a familiarity with each other and increases the potential of serendipitous engagement and meaningful conversation.
Medalogix located in Germantown in large part because of the neighborhood amenities help them recruit new talent. New talent wants to be involved in the areas they live and work. Many of these amenities are recreational. There is a need for convenience services (i.e. doctor offices, grocery stores, etc), where people can run errands conveniently.
How can city building rehabilitation loans be used to develop affordable office space?
People are isolated at home. Often for the success of their business and sanity, it is very important that they get out of their home office and network with others. Stages of early startups home -> coffee shop -> co-working Medalogix started in Frothy Monkey. Coffee shops are struggling how to deal with the customers that want to use their shop as an office. They are covering plugs and turning off wi-fi in some examples. People are willing to pay for cheap space that had the amenity (but is it enough to make it a viable business model?) Pinewood Social recognized the need for people needing to hang out and work. They serve Crema coffee and allow people to stay longer. Another example is the Ace Hotel in NYC that encourages the use of their lobby. Are there any other hotels, banks, or other businesses where this might benefit them? What about Charter schools? Would they be willing to experiment with the idea?
Could underutilized spaces bye used by startups at night? Places like coffee shops that close by 6:00? Could someone manage their space for office at night? What about libraries and schools that sit idle? Are there other places that have excess capacity that can be utilized (i.e. office sharing)
In New York there were small communities within the city that made the city feel smaller and well connected. Nashville has been harder to connect and know where to start.
Ft Houston is an anchor for the Wedgwood-Houston neighborhood. Makers could serve as an anchor for a district.
It’s important to protect affordable office space for the smaller businesses.
While eventually startups need to be able to grow to a point where they can pay market rate for office space and services. In the early stages, these companies can be fragile and need affordable space to survive. How can we provide more affordable space for these early companies?
Crema’s success/brand has been an asset for their area and attracted new development. Pricing pressures and loss of parking could easily push them to a point where they can’t stay in their location. Is brand strong enough that people will follow?
Stahlman Building offers great alternative live-work units for companies particularly for those with families.
Tomorrow building in Chattanooga was brought up as an example of micro units that would allow for co-living. These can be very beneficial to start ups by reducing their cost of living and creating networks. Bento Box in Wedgewood-Houston is a local example of micro housing without the office amenities.
Many independent companies have no where to go.
There is often a disparity between start ups. There needs to be a way to bring this diverse group together.
The immigrant community is often disconnected from the entrepreneurial network because of cultural barriers.
There has to be a pull to other clusters to connect them. Why would I leave the comfort of my cluster to visit another? There has to be a compelling reason? What is the value proposition?
There are similarities between software and architecture and fine arts. Bringing together a diverse group of people and topics.
There is a willingness in Nashville where peers and competitors are willing to collaborate and share. Nashville is a place where people are people are willing to help each other. You can contact a CEO of a company and many times they will take the time to talk to you. This quality is something very special about Nashville.
The Entrepreneur Center’s (EC) Happy Hour program is only held at the EC. It is important to get out into the neighborhoods where the entrepreneurs are.
Nashville needs a better guide to navigating resources for small businesses and startups of all types.
Local companies could host events that talk about issues and bring about a healthy debate
Crema hosted a culinary dinner to bring together the coffee owners and restaurant owners. Crema is hosting a new event with Dozen bakery.
Medalogix is hosting new healthcare start ups to teach them about what they have learned during their early days.
The EC is a very male and healthcare dominated environment.
Girl Geek Dinner was started to provide women a place that addresses gutsy topics (i.e negotiating salary vs work life balance) and help make connections within the tech industry.
Other events around town that mix a more diverse group include, Creative Mornings and Pecha Kucha.
Girl Geek Dinner was started to encourage women into technology careers and addresses gutsy topics (i.e negotiating salary vs work life balance) and help make connections within the tech industry.
Would a service like the Innovation Compass (Swedish company, http://swedishinnovationcompass.com/) that is a yellow pages for business services to help people navigate the starting of a new business in Sweden. They are creating one that is geared to immigrants as well. Digital NYC http://www.digital.nyc/ was another example that was brought up.
Could public space be used to for development areas? Shake Shack is an example of a simple building within a park that housed a very successful business. Witchcraft is another success in NYC parks.
Could we activate more public spaces and parks like Rolling Mill Hill Lookout or Centennial Park with vendors to encourage more interaction with others.
Many perceive that the EC looks down upon lifestyle brands. The EC is looking for scaling major employers. There are resources for those starting out and those that are growing fast but not much if anything for those in between. (How can we support life after the start up? What do they need to continue to grow? What about the companies that are happy as $100k-$500k businesses?
The mid-life companies are ripe for job creation.
The TSU small business development center can be a helpful resource.
Could there be a Barnes type fund that is funded through corporate relocations where a percentage of the incentives are put into it? Like a 1% for art program.
Kids and dogs are some of the best connectors. They provide common ground and/or familiarity with one another. Parents getting to know one another.
How do we engage introverts as well?
In NYC, participant recounted, that they knew everyone in the neighborhood because they walked to the transit station or businesses in the neighborhood. Transit is a great connector. People on same train everyday builds familiarity and comfort to talking to one another. They aren’t strangers. This is one of the benefits of innovation district. Familiar faces.
Competition between peers was a great motivator.
Proximity and familiarity lessens the barrier to meeting.
Nashville is potentially experienceing a tipping point in the attitude of the city. There seems to be more confidence that you don’t have to go elsewhere to experience or buy great things. Art and food were examples.
Leadership Nashville visited all ethnic neighborhoods and met at neighborhood restaurant where local leaders told them the background of the neighborhood.
Kitchen incubator at Casa Azafran is a great resource that brings a diverse group of entrepreneurs together.
It is perceived that the Planning Department, Nashville Electric Service and Public works make decisions separately without realizing what the other departments are doing. This creates obstacles for those trying to innovate.
We should find ways to develop more peer-to-peer mentoring.