reSET was determined to find an ideal new location for its Business Factory last spring. The goal was to create a community space for entrepreneurs in Hartford where the non-profit organization could grow, explained Ojala Naeem, Director of Operations at reSET.
Naeem remembers driving by the building in Parkville and having an “a-ha” moment. “The space was exactly what we were looking for to enhance our presence in the community,” she says.
The reSET Business Factory opened May 1, 2015 in its new Parkville location. Since then, “there has been more than 100% increase in membership,” Naeem noted.
reSET is using space on the first floor the building as open co-working space for entrepreneurs and freelancers in many industries. There is separate space for programs, events and private and larger group meetings.
PLANS FOR EXPANSION
The organization is currently working on building out space upstairs where there will be six private offices, a meeting room, a kitchen and shared workspace, which will be used for “quiet co-working,” Naeem explained. “This will be a quieter more private space compared with the co-working space downstairs,” she added.
“reSET is very community-based and we want to attract strong businesses to Hartford,” Naeem emphasized. “We have regular member meetings to generate ideas and figure out what entrepreneurs need from the space.”
After the private upstairs space is built out, reSET plans to build out a multimedia lab with a digital classroom structure to provide entrepreneurs with a high-tech environment for meetings and classes. The organization is hoping to start that build out in the first quarter of 2016.
“Most entrepreneurs don’t have the resources to produce high-quality video for their business promotions and materials,” Naeem explained. “The media lab will provide affordable to access to tools in a video and sound production studio, something they don’t have access to currently in the Greater Hartford region.”
The building has plenty of room for growth. It has three floors of residential apartments, with 30 on each floor and there are currently more being built out. reSET’s long-term plans may include offering subsidized housing in space for entrepreneurs.
“We have a lot of growth and expansion plans,” Naeem says. “It’s an exciting time.”
SUPPORT FROM THE METROHARTFORD ALLIANCE
When the MetroHartford Alliance convened its entrepreneur working group in 2014, it established three early priorities: develop a website designed to showcase and serve entrepreneurs; increase the size, profile and diversity of the region’s mentor pool; and secure a new community space for the region’s entrepreneurs. The lease of the reSET Business Factory fulfills the third goal.
“We are looking forward to seeing the build out of this space,” said John Shemo, Vice President and Director of Economic Development at the MetroHartford Alliance. The space and neighborhood have a good vibe and the address is a two-minute walk to CTFastTrak. We are also pleased to provide financial support to the build out of the media lab.”
reSET will host a Grand Opening event and celebrate the new space and the launch of Innovation Destination: Hartford Monday, September 28, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the reSET Business Factory, 1429 Park Street, Hartford.