Many of the participants at Open Coffee Santa Clarita are pursuing home-based or “garage” businesses. It makes sense for a small startup, because many of us are bootstrapping, which means making due with tiny budgets. However, occasionally, the necessity arises for a different kind of space, especially for meetings with outsiders.
- For informal meetings or work in public places, local coffee shops are very popular. The owners are generally very happy for us to work at their locations as long as we buy their food and drinks, and are considerate of other patrons and their employees. Particularly popular among local entrepreneurs are Honu Coffee (where Open Coffee meets), The Corner Bakery, Peets, and Starbucks, which has several locations in the SCV. In fact, I’ve been to business meetings at all of these, at one time or another. It’s amazing how likely you are to run into a fellow entrepreneur at one of these locations.
- The Santa Clarita Public Library has meeting rooms that may be used by the community. Once again the degree to which we are welcome depends on how considerate we are of the library, staff, and other patrons. Talk to the library in advance to find out the procedure, any required paperwork, and to make a reservation.
- Co-working spaces provide more formal business environments. Compared to equivalent regular leased commercial space, they may be more expensive per square foot, but what you gain is tremendous flexibility. You only pay for the amount and kind of space you need, and can easily scale up or down whenever you need to. EngageSCV has a small shared space at a fantastic central location on Main St. in downtown Newhall. The Steamworks Center is planning a large project, but a space hasn’t yet been formalized. It will most likely be in the northwest part of Santa Clarita near the Industrial Park. If neighboring San Fernando Valley isn’t too far for you, you could check out OfficeSlice on Ventura Blvd. Pasadena is chock full of co-working spaces.
- The City of Santa Clarita has a beautiful business incubator in downtown Newhall; it’s a great place to really get work done. Unfortunately, it is only large enough to host a small handful of businesses. If you’re interested, sign up with The City to be notified when a space opens up, and be prepared for a competitive application process.
- The SBDC at the University Center at College of the Canyons has created a new free space for local startups to use, which they’re calling The Entrepreneurship Center. It is available Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm, and on Friday from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve the space for a private meeting, at least a few days in advance. An SBDC Parking Permit will be provided if you reserve the space. You may want to avoid using this resource during the first few weeks of each academic semester, as the parking lot is quite busy. While you’re at the SBDC, you may wish to sign up as an SBDC client as well (www.cocsbdc.org). This is also free, and includes invaluable support to startups, far beyond access to an occasional-use office space.