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St. George — Ever Gonzalez and his business partners have a simple, but lofty goal: to help turn Southern Utah into a hotspot for technology companies.
Gonzalez is one of the founders of Outlier Labs, a new organization created to provide resources and support to entrepreneurs and startup companies in Southern Utah. Outlier Labs includes an online business magazine, a conference series and a co-working space. Any entrepreneur or type of business is invited to join, but Outlier Labs is particularly interested in tech companies, Gonzalez said.
“Our goal is to bring them in, help them in whatever way we can, and phase them out into the Southern Utah community, where they can rent their own space and employees,” he said.
The Outlier Labs space is set to open Nov. 1. It is 3,000 square feet located on the ground floor of the Business Resource Center, located in University Plaza in St. George. It includes wi-fi, common work areas, board rooms, classrooms and conference rooms. Outlier Labs is meant to be a place where entrepreneurs can collaborate and work among similar people. It is especially intended for those running businesses out of their homes and looking for a public place to meet with clients and hold meetings. The space will be accessible to members 24 hours per day to accommodate people working regular jobs and running startups in their spare time. Gonzalez said he and his partners hope to be able to move the workspace to its own building soon.
The concept of a collaborative space for entrepreneurs is not new. Similar spots have played a role in launching successful companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, and Gonzalez and his partners decided Southern Utah could benefit from it.
Gonzalez said no one involved with Outlier Labs will make money off it (users will pay $50 per month for full use of the space), but profit isn’t the motive. The intent is to promote and support business in Southern Utah.
“I want my kids to have the choice, once they graduate college, to be able to find jobs and stay here if they’d like,” Gonzalez said.
Outlier Labs plans to collaborate with Dixie State University. Students will work with companies as interns and earn college credit. The university’s president, Stephen Nadauld, serves on Outlier’s advisory board. The City of St. George has also been supportive, Gonzalez said.
In addition to the workspace, Outlier Labs plans to create a series of conferences, with the first being held January 2014.
An opening celebration will be held Nov. 1 at noon at the Outlier Labs space, located at University Plaza, Building C at 1071 E. 100 South. in St. George. The public is invited.