At the Creative Bloc in Baton Rouge, entrepreneurs and small businesses find a thriving co-working space in a renovated storefront in the city’s downtown. Anchored by the digital communications firm, Launch Media, which spearheaded the project, the Creative Bloc hosts around a dozen members from a variety of business sectors, including several media and communications outfits. With four levels of office space rentals, this shared work space appeals to all sorts of business owners, from freelancers who wanted an upgrade from a coffee shop to small enterprises eager to collaborate and network with other businesses. Members pay one fee for all office amenities.
“Two of the key benefits for having my business based in a cowork space is the experience-sharing with other business leaders and the convenience of having only one monthly invoice to manage for all things related to the space,” says Launch Media founder and CEO John E. Jackson.
Aimed at individuals, start-ups and established businesses, co-working spaces have been exploding across the country and globe since 2005. Widely seen as dynamic, inspiring, convenient and affordable, co-working spaces worldwide hit an all-time high in 2019, according to industry watcher, Coworking Resources. Louisiana has experienced a similar boom in co-working spaces, which are seen by a growing number of business owners and sole proprietors as winning environments to seed success.
“Cowork spaces are absolutely a trend that’s changing the way people think of renting an office,” says Carmen Austin, associate broker with Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate in Baton Rouge. “There’s a big demand for this kind of space right now, and I think we’re going to see it continue to grow.”
Here’s a window into some of the workspace options you’ll find throughout Louisiana.
The Shop at the CAC is an art-filled, amenity-rich work environment located in the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown New Orleans. It offers a range of membership levels and features a chic 15,000 square foot common space draped in contemporary fine art. Seven conference rooms give you plenty of opportunities to hold client meetings, and you can buy into an HR benefits plans for a 40% discount. The Crescent City is no stranger to co-working spaces, having embraced the trend early on with Launch Pad, the city’s oldest co-working space and soon to have locations in eight U.S. cities.
Located in downtown Shreveport, the nonprofit business accelerator and workspace Cohab is home to sole proprietors, start-up entrepreneurs and existing businesses that are poised for growth. More than 100 businesses have come through the doors of Cohab since it opened in 2010, including big names like Red River Brewing Company, which recently opened the largest craft brew pub in the state near Cohab on the Shreveport riverfront. Cohab has also helped launch Twin Engine Labs, Tadpole Tapecutter and numerous other ventures. Explore four levels of membership, including option for individual or business, as well as business and start-up levels that deliver tailored technical assistance and mentoring along with workspace.
Lafayette’s Opportunity Machine hums with small businesses representing a variety of sectors, from health care and retail, to aerospace and technology. This innovative cowork space is also an entrepreneurial accelerator. It was created by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority in partnership with the University of Louisiana, Lafayette and the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise and has fostered the successful launch of numerous small business in Lafayette, a city long known for its robust oil and gas sector and recent growth in technology and health care. Memberships include drop-by co-work space, personal desks and private offices.
The SEED Center offers both co-working space and business incubator services in Southwest Louisiana, as well as programs to support existing business and even budding entrepreneurs who have just the kernel of an idea. Among its members are Waitr, the Louisiana-born meal delivery app that recently went public, and Ally Gator Bookbites Publishing House, which provides turnkey production services for self-published children’s books. You can rent a flexible hot desk every day or once a week, and if you want to return to the same spot every day, there are reasonably priced dedicated desks. Members have access to the kitchen, meeting rooms, entrepreneurship guidance, equipment and more.
Launched in 2016, Think Tank was the first co-working space of its kind to open in the northeast Louisiana city of Monroe. The community has seen big expansions from both IBM and Century Link as well as several cyber engineering ventures nearby along the I-20 corridor. Located in the high rise Tower Place, Think Tank offers a range of drop-by or permanent options for the area’s growing number of entrepreneurs, including several levels of daily and monthly rentals for business owners, independent contractors, remote workers, creatives and others. Rent a hot desk, organize a group desk configuration or rent a private office. Members have access to a rooftop terrace and training rooms with video conferencing capabilities.
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