The CoCo Community

by Thomas Fisher | Apr 02, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

CoCo, the flexible workspace for entrepreneurs, has a small office in downtown St. Paul. This idea would be to take the CoCo idea and use it as a way of strategically attracting entrepreneurs to the entire community. This would go beyond creating CoCo-like spaces throughout the city. It would also address some of the major obstacles that entrepreneurs face in starting new ventures, such as finding affordable healthcare and other support services. The idea would have the City of St. Paul work with CoCo and with a healthcare provider like Regions Hospital to offer affordable support services and a healthcare plan to any entrepreneur trying to start a business in the city. This coverage could be available in particular areas that the City wants to see develop, such as the downtown or the east side, and it might also only be available to those willing to set up shop in particular facilities, such as the empty Macy's store in the downtown. Related services of value to entrepreneurs, such as finance and accounting, design and prototyping, and marketing and promotion, would also be offered, along with the networking and socializing events that have made CoCo such a success in launching new businesses. The first cities that focus on the needs of young entrepreneurs and that provide them with the support and services that they need, will do the best in an economy in which entrepreneurs can now live and work almost anywhere. This idea gives them a reason to live and work in St. Paul.

About You

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About You

First Name

Thomas

Last Name

Fisher

City

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United States

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

College of Design, University of Minnesota

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

The CoCo Community

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

CoCo, the flexible workspace for entrepreneurs, has a small office in downtown St. Paul. This idea would be to take the CoCo idea and use it as a way of strategically attracting entrepreneurs to the entire community. This would go beyond creating CoCo-like spaces throughout the city. It would also address some of the major obstacles that entrepreneurs face in starting new ventures, such as finding affordable healthcare and other support services. The idea would have the City of St. Paul work with CoCo and with a healthcare provider like Regions Hospital to offer affordable support services and a healthcare plan to any entrepreneur trying to start a business in the city. This coverage could be available in particular areas that the City wants to see develop, such as the downtown or the east side, and it might also only be available to those willing to set up shop in particular facilities, such as the empty Macy's store in the downtown. Related services of value to entrepreneurs, such as finance and accounting, design and prototyping, and marketing and promotion, would also be offered, along with the networking and socializing events that have made CoCo such a success in launching new businesses. The first cities that focus on the needs of young entrepreneurs and that provide them with the support and services that they need, will do the best in an economy in which entrepreneurs can now live and work almost anywhere. This idea gives them a reason to live and work in St. Paul.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Few cities have created the conditions that attract entrepreneurs. Most economic development still focuses mainly on attracting existing companies and employers and it emphasizes tax breaks and other conventional strategies. Entrepreneurs need other help - healthcare coverage, support services - that they often cannot afford at least initially. With St. Paul creating a suite of benefits and services aimed at entrepreneurs, it would be one of the first cities in the country to do so and would attract national attention for its efforts, which would in turn attract the entrepreneurs that it needs to thrive in the future.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

We are in the midst of an entrepreneurial revolution, spurred by the digital environment that allows people to start businesses and produce products and services at a much lower cost than in the past. The future wealth producers also are increasingly moving to places they want to be, near other entrepreneurs like themselves, and then starting their businesses. This idea would set up the conditions that would attract entrepreneurs, who in turn would attract more like them. Just as St. Paul first emerged out of the entrepreneurial activities of people like James J. Hill, so too does the city need to be the place of choice for his 21st century equivalent. The provision of health benefits and other services for people willing to start businesses in the city would provide the magnet.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

St. Paul could develop a brand around this idea - St. Paul, The City for Entrepreneurs - and could create a culture of embracing young business people. This could become a model for other cities who have yet to adjust their economic development activities to suit the entrepreneurial revolution underway. For example, this strategy recognizes that it may be more important to provide a three-D printing hub for young companies that need prototyping services or to provide ample work space for entrepreneurs to "plug and play" as they do in the CoCo space than it is to give tax breaks. And it may be more important to rezone the areas in which we want entrepreneurial activities to thrive, allowing for living/working/making to occur all in one place, than to focus on other financial incentives.

jandayangacho2013 jandayangacho2013 said: That community will be more effective in their old farm ways. - Green Water Technologies about this Competition Entry. - 2563 days ago read more >

Thomas Fisher updated this Competition Entry. - 2845 days ago

Thomas Fisher submitted this idea. - 2845 days ago