With close to 150 shared workspace locations including coworking spaces, business centers, and incubators, Chicago has been living up to its nickname “The City That Works.” That is, of course, if you're not located south of The Loop. Despite representing 30% of the city's population, fewer than 10 shared workspaces (6%) exist on the South Side of Chicago. Thus, too many South Siders try to host Skype calls in loud coffee shops and navigate piles of laundry and playful children while “working” or “studying” at home. Too many try to start businesses without professional support or resources.
University CoWork, located in Woodlawn (across from Hyde Park), is changing that by providing a full service facility whose best-in-class amenities rival or exceed those of downtown and North Side coworking spaces. Importantly, University CoWork is also dedicated to promoting a supportive culture and programming that will better position entrepreneurs for success.
By offering monthly memberships priced under $100, well below the industry average, University CoWork is dedicated to bringing the benefits of coworking, business accommodations, and entrepreneurial community to South Side residents that might not have had this type of access prior. “University CoWork, at its core, is about our members. It's through making connections, jumpstarting productivity, and thus catalyzing achievement that we will measure our success,” said Lubin.
University CoWork is owned and operated by longtime Woodlawn resident David Christopher Lubin. He first moved to Woodlawn to pursue his PhD at the University of Chicago, where Lubin researched the creation and impact of social networks, entrepreneurship, and organizational development. This unique perspective, his background as an entrepreneur, and understanding of social problems plaguing the under-resourced South Side inspired him to bring coworking to his Woodlawn neighborhood.
Coworking, one of if not the most significant of trends in the workplace, is best described as freelancers, entrepreneurs, and now many corporations sharing space through memberships and renting temporary accommodations. Deskmag, a leading industry publication, estimates that there are now over 1,000,000 people working in 15,000+ coworking spaces around the world. About half of all new jobs are created by small businesses, and minority-owned small businesses are the second largest employer of minorities. University CoWork already has 40 members even though it only recently opened. They represent an array of industries including real estate, finance, accounting, non-profits, churches, bloggers, grant writing, transportation, logistics, research, policy, and engineering.
In addition to providing a beautiful and inspiring space - like many of the finest one might expect to experience downtown - University CoWork offers programming to enrich personal and professional development, such as “Lunch & Learns” with members as well as executives from Fortune 500 companies. A few “stand out” amenities that come with membership include free-flowing gourmet coffee, an array of soft drinks, healthy snacks, a boardroom, “Zen Den” nap suite, event spaces, and Peloton Bike that can all be booked through the online member portal. 24/7 access is available, and the work environment is noticeably enhanced by a technologically- advanced aesthetic. Members agree that University CoWork provides a special experience.
“University CoWork is not just a place to do business, it is more of a place to build and grow a business,” said Ray Jackson of Cardinal Financial. “I can have one-on-one meetings, group meetings, Happy Hour networking events: these things grow my business. What also sets University CoWork apart is the sense of community. The members share whatever we can with each other to help grow our businesses. Plus, there is an upscale, downtown feel without the parking fees and traffic. University CoWork is a unique gem on the South Side of Chicago.” University CoWork is open to the public Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm, and 24/7 for most members. Individuals interested in joining are encouraged to book a tour by appointment at www.UniversityCoWork.com.