This is Matrix, a Coworking Space For Small, Local Businesses

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In the capital of Wisconsin, a new coworking space is promising to attract a surprising clientele: small businesses.

Coworking spaces are most prominent in urban tech hubs like San Francisco and New York City, where young entrepreneurs need office space on the cheap to hammer out their next product idea. But as the concept of coworking spreads across the country, so too does it spread across demographics.

In this interview with The Capital Times of Madison, WI, we see that Matrix Collaborative Business Solutions was aimed at a different audience all along. Tiffanie Mark, founder of Matrix, questions the distinction between small business and entrepreneurship. Her explanation: “a lot of the principles that we need to apply to entrepreneurship—working together and collaboration and learning from each other—needs to happen with small businesses, too“.

That may sound like a bold and profitable vision, but it was an uphill battle. Mark’s target audience was the likes of local retailers and community groups, a far cry from the scalable tech startups that occupy coworking spaces on the coasts. Many of these professionals hadn’t heard about coworking, and they weren’t aware of its potential value. After all, a local retailer isn’t renting a small office space for half a year in the hopes that they’ll soon grow out of it; usually, they’re maintaining the status quo and assuring that profits keep rolling in. A change in work environment hardly seems necessary.

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For some business owners, the appeal of coworking is the same as it is for freelancers. One online retailer said that he was tired of working from home and thought that a change of pace would be refreshing. Other clients enjoy the space for its flexibility, which is especially valuable if you travel often or if you frequently meet with clients. Matrix even counts a web designer among its tenants; some prefer to work among the type of businesses that might one day need their design services, rather than the hustle and bustle of Madison’s premier tech coworking space, 100state.

Matrix’s success is a sign that coworking is liable to expand not just in the ways that we expect it to. As coworking services scale across major cities and cross international borders, companies will arise to spread the word to new markets.