Succeeding as an entrepreneur means that you must first build an iceberg, a form to which any entrepreneur can relate. Buried below its visible features, however, there is much unseen, much unappreciated, and much to learn from.
The Iceberg is Fayetteville’s brand new, 5,600-square-foot co-working facility specifically designed for entrepreneurs and the like-minded who either can’t afford an office of their own, due to bootstrapped budgets, or who simply want the multiplied resources that an open, collaborative space brings to the table. These resources range from experienced advice in the various business fields to possible financial investment.
The space’s roots trace back to the Northwest Arkansas Entrepreneurship Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded by 2009 University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture graduate Josh Clemence and Fayettechill clothing company owner Maurice Elliot.
When the two first started the group, almost two and half years ago, they met every two weeks in local coffee shops to facilitate entrepreneurial discussion. Clemence said this was an incredibly useful advancement for the entrepreneurs of the region; a new way to seek advice, network, or to simply enjoy the positive atmosphere naturally sustained by its members.
“The Alliance was very much a step-by-step process,” said Clemence this week at Big Momma’s Coffee and Espresso Bar, one of the group’s original meeting places. “The Iceberg was the next natural step.”
As the product of a nonprofit organization, The Iceberg’s sole purpose will be to fuel the already accelerating start-up spirit found throughout Northwest Arkansas, benefitting those who rent space, future investors, and the community alike.
Northwest Arkansas Entrepreneurship Alliance members will soon see direct benefits as the organization is set to begin meeting at The Iceberg in February. In addition, the group’s already successful local pitch contest “Gone In 60 Seconds” will also find a permanent home inside the space.
Set in the basement of the Metro District Commercial Center at 509 W. Spring St., The Iceberg is right in the heart of downtown Fayetteville with direct access to Frisco Trail, an ideal location for drawing students from the university, as well as adults who adore downtown Fayetteville, but can’t afford its rental prices.
Co-working spaces will be rentable by the day or by the month and will feature all of the essential amenities and technologies found in a corporate office. Ideas and influences were absorbed from many successful collaborative spaces throughout the country including New York’s Grind Spaces, with which The Iceberg’s organizers said they worked with directly.
Clemence also mentioned that he has spoken with local artists about using their work as décor and is open to artists working inside The Iceberg to feed off of and enhance the creativity of the room.
Memberships to The Iceberg, which is expected to host a grand opening in early March, can be purchased from the organization’s website. Organizers are also accepting applications for four internship positions though the same site.
Entrepreneurs are innovators. They create jobs and improve the regional, national, and global economies. In a recession where we find the unemployment rate on par with Congress’ approval rating, perhaps now is the perfect time to create a niche in the job market. The Iceberg and the NWAEA are certainly growing one’s advantages of starting a business in Northwest Arkansas. If Josh Clemence sounds like a man from whom you would take advice then I will end with an effective quote found on the start-up enthusiast’s wristband: “Do what you love.”
Cole is a contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. Upon graduation from the University of Arkansas, Cole began serving the community of Northwest Arkansas through journalism and volunteering. His website can be accessed at colehladun.com.