Cowork Rochester

Who Says Coworking Won’t Work?

Posted in coworking, industry, news coverage by Erik on March 17, 2010

Coworking has been getting a lot of  press lately and this article from USA Today is just another feather in the cap of coworking. It got me thinking about a comment left on an earlier article comparing coworking and shared office space. Jason said, “Coworking Spaces = Not Profitable and most FAIL[.] Shared Office Space = Struggling but have a PROVEN biz model.” It’s clear that the rules of business are continuously changing and that the landscape for how businesses source a physical location will change as well. I suspect that shared offices were a radical idea when the first one was pitched. Coworking will ultimately be successful in any market with a sufficiently large talent pool because of the economic benefits they provide to bootstraped and underfunded startups and solo-workers. From the article:

Such facilities surfaced a couple years ago, but they are thriving because the economy has forced companies and non-profits to use them as a practical way to save money. They are especially appealing to one-person businesses, which grew 8% in 2008

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What’s Beyond Mayo and IBM?

Posted in economy, industry by Erik on March 5, 2010

Despite earlier ramblings on this blog, Rochester isn’t entirely Mayo and IBM. There is actually a diverse group of companies operating largely off the local media radar. Don’t tell anyone, but there’s even a Y-Combinator startup on the list below. With the University of Minnesota campus expansion in the next few years, new and fresh ideas will follow. Rochester is uniquely situated to grow in the information technology and knowledge economy. As Rochester’s business environment diversifies, collaboration and cooperation between these companies will be critical to continued success in this region.

These are a few operating or based in Rochester:

I read a depressing quote on an article from the Star Tribune while looking for information for this article.

There really isn’t a VC community/pool here in MN — especially for web technology — but even the medtech folks will tell you that its all but dried up. We’re unfortunately a layover between the coasts. You either have to be self funded or have a deep pool of the 3F’s – Friends, Family, and Fools. You’ll spend a lot of time driving around, buying lunch, getting free advice. And in the end, someone on the coast will be beat you to the punch.

Some of the above companies are directly serving Mayo or working in conjunction with IBM, but not all. One thing is certain, there is a mass of talented people working in Rochester with a diverse set of industries and backgrounds represented. The old saying that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts rings ever so true. Rochester is uniquely positioned currently to transform itself and open collaboration and sharing within the technology community will be a vital component of that success.

You can read more about these local companies in the RAEDI glossy and in Rochester Magazine’s Silicon Prairie series too. I’ve intentionally left off solo-workers and firms that exist only to serve one of the major employers for the sake of brevity. Furthermore there is no shortage of web design and development firms in Rochester, be sure to check them out while your at it. If you feel you were unfairly excluded, add yourself and a one liner about what you do in the comments below.

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Economic Makeup of Rochester

Posted in economy, industry by Erik on February 17, 2010

Some interesting data regarding the makeup of Rochester’s economy and workforce.

141,360 People live in Olmstead County; 96,975 (67%) of which live in Rochester (2008 estimate). 8,951 (6%) people generate income from non-employer establishments in Olmstead county. According to RAEDI employment numbers for major area employers, 24% of the jobs in Rochester are directly related to healthcare. 31,539 (22%) by Mayo Clinic and an additional 2,170 (2%) by other health service organizations. Hospitality is the second largest industry, accounting for an estimated 5,000 (3.5%) jobs. Adding hospitality and and the Medical industry together results in 1 in 4 Rochester residents working for or in an industry directly supporting the Mayo Clinic!

The census describes non-employers business as, “generally small, such as real estate agents and independent contractors.” It goes on to generalize their contribution to a regions economy, “Nonemployers constitute nearly three-quarters of all businesses, but they contribute only about three percent of overall sales and receipts data.” No data was available as to how non-employers break down further. RAEDI provides a wealth of other information interesting information including housing prices, median age and industries.

Sources for Rochester data: