BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A business concept that's working well in large cities is now available in downtown Biloxi. It's called "co-working," an idea that allows small business owners to share resources.
Two young entrepreneurs are convinced that this concept makes sense for the business community in downtown Biloxi. And their efforts were recognized by the City of Biloxi on Tuesday.
Mayor Fofo Gilich recognized Jana Franco and Geneva Dummer for helping spark the entrepreneurial spirit in downtown Biloxi. Both young women recently opened co-working ventures. Franco owns The Junction in the Vieux Marche.
"It needs to be open and private all at the same time," said Franco, as she showed a visitor the available space.
Business owners can choose membership levels, which gives them access to private office space, conference rooms, and internet access.
"It's for small businesses and start-ups. Telecommuters, remote workers. It's a place to come and get out of your house to work. It's also a great place to start a business. Less expensive than your traditional going and renting your own space," she said.
It's not just about sharing space and resources. Co-working often involves creating a small business community.
"Of other small businesses and like minded people to come and work with, to be able to bounce ideas off of. I love hearing people's stories and hearing what their business ideas are and how excited they get about it. I get just as excited," said Franco.
Geneva Dummer owns The Meeting Place on Water Street.
"This is the collaborative work space. So this is what I thought would be a productive and efficient way of co-working. So instead of a bunch of people sitting at restaurant style desks, I thought people would want some other options," said Dummer, as she showed off the available spaces.
Private office space is available, but The Meeting Place also offers semi-private options.
"And so if you want an office, you would work together and you guys would kind of chip in on the cost," she explained.
A big selling point here is the one gig of dedicated fiber.
"You would have to pay an awful lot of money to get a gig of fiber delivered to your door, but you get that benefit here at the Meeting Place. You don't have to go and open a brick and mortar storefront. You can work right out of this location."
Both women say they were encouraged by Mayor Gilich's promotion of business and technology, including the broadband initiative.