I hope that by now, you have heard that The Iceberg has now become a reality. In previous posts, I proposed The Iceberg, then asked for support. Today, I want to update you briefly on how it all came together and what is to come.
On August 16th, 2011, I wrote a blog post about how I was tired of hearing all the ‘talk’ about organizing a co-working space in NWA and that I was just going to make it happen myself. It was very clear to me that there was a need for this facility and the response to that first blog post supplemented such thoughts. From there, I just needed to figure out how I was actually going to make this ‘idea’ into a reality.
From the get go the plan was for this to be a part of NWAEA and from the get go, the Board of Directors was on board and willing to do what it took to make this a reality. Over the course of the past 4 months we met with multiple space owners. We negotiated lease agreements over and over. We would get excited about a space we thought we were going to sign a lease on, before ultimately not being able to make it work. We talked with many entrepreneurs and independent professionals and got their insight on what would be ideal in a facility like the one we were trying to make become a reality. We had long brainstorming meetings on putting together everything we needed to make this happen as well as trying to figure out a way to pay for everything that was required to make this happen. It has been a roller coaster ride so far to say the least.
Everything about organizing and making The Iceberg a reality has been completely in startup mode. Each of us has a business or career that we work full-time, while any free time we had was being dedicated to realizing The Iceberg. Jeannette Balleza, owns and operates Scribe Marketing. Maurice Elliott, owns and operates Fayettechill Clothing Company. Mark Tocco owns and operates Arketype Consulting. While holding down my duties as Social Marketing Director at Acumen Brands, Inc., I also got married.
While I was away in preparation for tying the knot, the team met with a local building owner, Brian Reindl. He showed them a space he had and they instantly sent me pictures with excitement. When I returned from my honeymoon, I agreed with the team, that this was indeed the space. Not only was this the space, but Brian shared the vision that we had for the space and was determined to figure out a way to make it happen.
Before sticking the NWAEA flag in the ground at the space though, we first had to negotiate the lease. We were not funded, we had no sponsorship dollars, only a ton of support and passion to make this happen and provide this to the community. Support and passion doesn’t pay the bills though. So we pitched our guts out and days went by while we waited to see if we could come to an agreement that made sense for everyone involved.
We finally came up with an agreement for everyone involved and the team scraped up money from our personal accounts in order to get this thing off the ground. We signed the lease in November and have since worked with local Architect, Rob Sharp on the finish out. The Iceberg takes a lot of queues from a co-working facility in Brooklyn, NY called the Grind. Rob was able to secure the same lighting that the Grind actually uses as well.
With a proposed public opening date of February 1st, 2012, it will have taken less than 6 months since the initial proposal was blogged to opening a facility that will help the economic landscape of Northwest Arkansas. There has been much interest expressed in memberships since launching http://www.buildingicebergs.com. We are hoping to sign up 50 members by the February 1st, 2012 public opening date.
We are also seeking sponsors and donors to help sustain what we see becoming the region’s entrepreneurial, freelance, and independent professional hub.
I thank everyone who has challenged, helped and supported this initiative. February 1st, 2012 will be an exciting day that changes the way that entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independent professionals are able to work in NWA. This is just the tip of The Iceberg. We hope to see you in February, so that we can show you what is below the surface.
To learn more about The Iceberg, visit http://www.BuildingIcebergs.com