Based on a demonstration project between DVI and local entrepreneurs in 2011, CoWork Jax opened its doors on January 26, 2012, to create Jacksonville’s first co-working community with a simple mission of offering entrepreneurs and small businesses an environment to collaborate, conspire and grow.
It’s a formula that not only fosters local entrepreneurs and small businesses, but fosters Downtown growth as well. To date, 15 companies with nearly 90 employees have grown out of CoWork Jax. Companies such as: Ignite, Content Design Group, Digital Edge Marketing , Sports Yapper, One Spark and KYN have all outgrown their CoWork spaces and have relocated, leasing office space in Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
The three founders of CoWork Jax, Varick Rosete, Dennis Eusebio and Elton Rivas, developed and launched the inaugural five-day One Spark innovation festival at CoWork. This festival, of course, went on to bring more than 500 creators and 130,000 patrons Downtown and had an estimated economic impact in the tens of millions in its first year. In turn, Northeast Florida’s first business accelerator program, KYN, was imagined here. Selecting four companies from the One Spark Festival, KYN will nurture and develop these companies to grow their businesses Downtown through a 16-week boot-camp-style curriculum designed to validate business models, and scale the companies while attracting additional investment to their businesses.
Today, CoWork boasts more than 100 members and 50 “alumni” members. Approximately 20 participants and program managers are regularly working out of the space, and CoWork is the home of Healthbox Florida’s first cohort of seven companies. An average of 850 unique people come through CoWork’s doors each month, including: members, event and meeting attendees, clients, colleagues, family, and friends.
CoWork Jax has proven itself as a laboratory for fresh innovative thinking, and also as a great vehicle to help revitalize Downtown Jacksonville.