OLEAN – Last month, a New York-based media consultant was in the city for the start of the weekend at St. Bonaventure. Bona’s 1999 graduate had to run a business and, through local friends, learned about a joint office space project on the fourth floor of Olean Business Development Corp. on North Union Street.
“He came and was really impressed with our space here,” said Bob Fornes, CEO of OBDC and who is leading the launch of The Hub, a joint effort shared by the St. Louis Innovation Center. Bonaventure and SUNY Jamestown Community College. “He worked here for a few days and insisted he wanted to pay us, but I told him I was just glad he was using the place.
Fornes encourages this reaction to what could be The Hub. The center, which will register members this summer, is designed as a convenient workspace that can help remote workers and start-ups who need a desk and meeting place in a professional setting – with strong WiFi and stimulating coffee making.
If nothing else, Fornes points out, the space in The Hub can simply be a place to get out of the distractions that arise when – as they do more and more – working at home.
Brian Conahan, senior media consultant at Valpak Direct Marketing and Bona grad, and his wife, who grew up in Olean, hold an apartment here when visiting family and friends. But The Hub, though still unfinished at the time, served him so well that Conaghan offered to at least build a website for it, for free, before it officially launched sometime in July.
On a tour of The Hub, which opened Friday for visitors during StrOlean, Fornes showed desks and desks, as well as less formal living spaces with sofas and armchairs with a bag. Exposed brick walls and canals in the building, built in 1895, give it an industrial atmosphere of an attic. The interns from St. Bonaventure and JCC submitted documents Friday morning to prepare for the day.
Through its membership model, The Hub offers access to a large, shared workspace, private offices and the ability to book a meeting room and lecture hall, giving new business access to a space that may not be easy to find in its early development. . Daily passes will be available along with monthly and annual memberships, while space can also be rented for events. There will be punch cards for refreshments at Union Tea, located on the ground floor of the building.
Fornes said more than $ 200,000 in grants have already gone into renovating 1,600 square feet of space, while OBCD is constantly seeking additional grants to continue the development of The Hub.
“We want it to be a place where someone can come and do some work, but we also see it as a place where like-minded entrepreneurs will come together and share ideas,” he said. “It can be a dynamic environment in which members can learn from others, and it can provide a boost to the business they are just starting.”
Fornes said there are plans to offer seminars and training programs by business mentors, which is another way to provide support to members.
He noted that OBCD and its partners, through their own auspices as well as through their business connections, will also offer support to newer companies to expand and expand. He said two of the companies that shared $ 35,000 from the Laine Business Accelerator program for 2021 also received advice and guidance on expanding or relocating over the past year.
The applications are available at www. lainebusinessaccelerator.com and will be accepted by July 15 for the 2022 program. There will be $ 50,000 in funding to be distributed to participants, with the goal of selecting up to 10 businesses to participate in the program.