November 22, 2013

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Article

New Co-working Space for Entrepreneurs in Downtown Ogden

By Rachel Madison

November 22, 2013


A new building in downtown Ogden is paving the way for Northern Utah entrepreneurs and students alike to innovate, create and learn from each other.

The building, dubbed Weber State Downtown, officially opened Nov. 21 and is an addition to Weber State University’s offerings. It will boast 18,000 square feet of co-working space for startup companies and college students to collaborate.

Bruce Davis, vice provost and dean of continuing education at WSU, said the new building will be much more accessible for business owners and entrepreneurs by providing them with everything they need at one location.

“We provide a lot of services to the small business community, so this building is a lot more accessible,” he said. “People don’t have to come up and navigate the challenges at the main campus, and they’ll still get that one-on-one business counseling and training.”

The ground floor of the building houses a WSU campus store and café. The campus store will officially open Jan. 7, on the university’s 125th anniversary.

The building functions as headquarters for StartUp Ogden, a community group that promotes entrepreneurs, new businesses and software development. WSU’s Small Business Development Center and Ogden City’s Business Information Center have also moved into the building. Each center provides training, consulting and referral services to local business owners and prospective entrepreneurs.

On the second floor, a large conference room and several living room-style areas with furniture, televisions and gaming stations provide room for entrepreneurs to brainstorm and collaborate. In addition, the second floor houses a 40-person classroom with iMac computers and an 80-inch screen that will enable local professionals and WSU faculty to teach both credit and non-credit courses.

“Our continuing education division for the university will be providing a lot of non-credit, high-tech courses like computer science and information technology,” Davis said.

The third floor is dedicated exclusively to open, co-working space. Other perks throughout the building include fiber internet and bike racks, lockers and showers for bike commuters.

Alex Lawrence, vice provost of innovation and economic development at WSU, said it’s exciting to have a new space downtown because WSU hasn’t had a presence in downtown Ogden for several years. He said the building will give students and entrepreneurs the chance to work in a unique place with an “urban feel.”

“It’s really a collaborative and interesting space,” he said. “We’re lucky we got the building we did, because it’s sort of an old-meets-new vibe.”

Lawrence said he hopes that 10 years down the road, downtown Ogden will be filled with tech companies because of Weber State Downtown. 

“My hope is that there are a bunch of tech-enabled companies that are moving here and building a nice core of many high-growth, high-tech businesses,” he said. “I want this to be the center and base of economic activity in downtown Ogden.”

Similar spaces to Weber State Downtown have recently opened in cities such as St. George and Provo. Davis said there are several reasons why co-working spaces are gaining traction in Utah, one being their ability to bring together like-minded individuals.

“A synergy occurs when people interact and share ideas and encourage each other,” he said. “And it’s affordable office space. People don’t have to pay a lot of money to be there, which is great for someone just starting out.”

The building came to fruition through several partnerships, including WSU, Ogden City and the local business community. Weber State Downtown is located at 2314 Washington Blvd. For more information, visit http://weber.edu/downtown">weber.edu/downtown.

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