The bright green sign advertising Connect Bradenton was an indication that something interesting must be going on in the downtown office building that traditionally houses law firms, CPAs, and insurance agencies. The concept behind Connect Bradenton was originally based on a growing trend in the business world: to offer customizable office spaces for working individuals and businesses. According to Wade Hamilton, Community Manager, “Connect Bradenton is a place for people working from home to focus on tasks and meet with clients, provide meeting places for a variety of businesses and offers options for co-working, virtual, and public/private offices.” Memberships start at $95 a month and include office access from 8:30 to 5, Wi-Fi, and the use of meeting spaces. More than a receptionist, Stephanie Foley, Office Coordinator, is on hand to greet members and clients, when she’s not at her Pilates class!
But the mission of Connect Bradenton has evolved far beyond offering physical office space to truly connecting Bradenton. As Wade explains, “Connect Bradenton is focused on creating opportunities to bring business owners together to share ideas, offer support, and explore innovation.” Like the personalized work spaces it offers, Wade and other local business and government partners have created a variety of casual networking experiences for businesses and owners at all levels in their development. “We want to create the conviviality of a small town where everyone knows you, but in a more expansive business environment. The goal is to offer opportunities for startups and new entrepreneurs to learn good business practices from seasoned professionals and experts. We want to connect people with others who have the knowledge and skills you need to succeed and make your dream a reality.” Networking sessions are held at different times and on different days to accommodate a diversity of work schedules and a variety of topics: grant writing, marketing, finance, to name just a few. By making this space and expertise available to a new entrepreneur issues can be resolved before they become serious problems.
While the pandemic has created challenges, Connect Bradenton used the time to listen to their members and others in the business community to assess ways Connect Bradenton could provide additional services. They have added modular classroom space, created additional meeting rooms, increased the number of private offices, and added to technology options. Thinking back on the isolation of the past year, it’s comforting to know there are options for professionals, not only in terms of people to talk to but welcoming places to be.
You can reach Wade or Stephanie through the website, ConnectBradenton.com or call them at 941.822.8741.
Thank you to guest blogger, Maureen Zaremba, for this Good News!