KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Business leaders in the startup culture frequently say some of the toughest resources to come by are cash flow and finding mentors.
The first co-working space set to open in Gladstone in October answers both of those needs.
The partners of iWerx said the City of Gladstone came to them to see if they were interested in buying a building at 7001 N. Locust Drive after it went into foreclosure earlier in 2018.
Partners Robert Curland and Bob Martin, along with the other two owners who launched iWerx in North Kansas City, decided they would rent the building and pay for all the rehab.
The construction will cost $1.5 million to redevelop the space that has an open, community feel in mind. Martin said when it is done, the former racquetball club would be colored in grey and earth tones and have smooth finishes.
The developers have a Chapter 100 Sales Tax Exemption on the construction and will buy the building in 12 years.
It’s good news for the city, because at the start of 2018, there was just one tenant in the 32,000 square-foot building. Right now its being build to house 76 business members and eight co-working, group spaces.
“We have spaces that are more collaborative,” said Robert Curland.
Martin explained iWerx will be the first business incubator in Gladstone, and they will offer something a traditional landlord can not.
“Flexibility. You come here it’s month to month there is no long-term lease,” said Martin.
They will have access to printers and technology all for one price, which for space space, is as low as $400 per month.
That comes with mentorship from the owners as well as the Clay County Economic Development Council, a group that has already moved into the space amidst sawdust.
TJ Berry, the executive director of the Clay County EDC, explained the group left a traditional office space to better meet its goal of helping new entrepreneurs.
“Let’s become really really good at developing our own talent and keeping it here,” said Berry.
This is iWerx third project since 2016.
But they are far from alone, with the metro touting 15 co-working spaces. Seven more are planned to spring up in the next year.
Berry said that can make it easier for new businesses to enter the marketplace.
“The number one thing all entrepreneurs face when they are doing startups is “Do they have enough money to make their idea come to life?’” said Berry.
Martin said the goal is for the businesses to become so successful they will leave the incubator and go out on their own.