Business

Iowa City Area Development Group opens new facility in Coralville

What They're Thinking: Coworking spaces support entrepreneurs in time of 'transformation'

FILE PHOTO: Mark Nolte, president of the Iowa City Area Development Group, introduces the keynote speaker at the third annual Gazette Business Awards at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
FILE PHOTO: Mark Nolte, president of the Iowa City Area Development Group, introduces the keynote speaker at the third annual Gazette Business Awards at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CORALVILLE — The Iowa City Area Development Group’s most recent collaboration space, CoWork @ 808 opened this past week in Coralville.

The space, at 808 Fifth St., is the group’s third coworking space to open in Johnson County.

Last October, the project received up to $40,000 in startup costs from the city of Coralville. The space has room for five offices, in addition to a conference room and kitchenette.

It follows the 2017 opening of MERGE, the downtown Iowa City coworking space that is a collaboration among the Iowa City Area Development Group, the city of Iowa City and the University of Iowa. That facility has 15 offices and houses ICAD’s CoLab, while the North Liberty coworking site has four offices.

In a previous interview with The Gazette, Iowa City Area Development Group President Mark Nolte explained that the goal of the coworking spaces is to help new companies “get their feet under them” in part by offering month-to-month rent.

In an interview last week, he discussed the new space in Coralville and offered insight into what’s next for his organization’s coworking efforts.

Q: CoWork @ 808 has officially opened. Can you talk a bit about why this project came together and what it offers area entrepreneurs?

A: The space is another location in our market where we can offer a highly supportive, affordable launching pad for new companies. The city of Coralville was instrumental in supporting the creation of this new space.

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Q: In addition to the Coralville space, how have things been going at the Iowa City and North Liberty locations?

A: MERGE downtown Iowa City is doing well, and the (Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce) will be moving in to some space that ICAD was underutilizing for our own staff, so this will certainly help make it the official business hub for the community. North Liberty space has some available offices, and we are always looking to help find the right users for that space as well.

Q: How have ICAD’s co-lab efforts grown or changed over time?

A: The core concept remains the same. The biggest challenge we are still working to address as a region is our ability to help startups access the growth capital they need is limiting. We are working with our partners to attract and deploy more capital faster.

Q: What’s next for ICAD and co-lab working spaces in Johnson County?

A: Just keep looking for ways we can support our new and existing companies. We know that we are just beginning an era of great transformation with automation and artificial intelligence. How we serve our companies will determine how successfully we transition into this emerging economy.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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