PROVIDENCE – Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, a shared workspace and incubator for early-stage businesses, celebrated its official grand opening Wednesday.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Cranston Mayor Allan Fund and state legislators.
Located at 244 Weybosset St., the Hatch Entrepreneurial Center will provide 6,000 square feet of office space – including typical workplace amenities such as phone and Internet access; fax, scanner and copier machines; and conference rooms – for startup companies that cannot afford office space of their own.
Daniel A. Murphy, principal and co-founder of Hatch, said the center aims to bring entrepreneurs together in a collaborative space to share resources, knowledge and ideas.
“That’s how innovators are going to be able to succeed, through collaborating with others who have different strengths,” said Murphy.
Tenants will also get access to “à la carte” mentor services in accounting, finance, international business, law, marketing and management, which Hatch will provide based on each individual tenant’s needs.
A basic Hatch membership costs $100 per month and includes access to the space, non-dedicated work bar seating and access to shared amenities.
For $200 per month, entrepreneurs can purchase a resident membership, which gives them a dedicated desk and chair in the main Hatch co-working space, in addition to access to shared amenities.
Murphy co-founded Hatch with his brothers Brian, Kevin and Jay, and his father John, founder and chairman of Home Loan Investment Bank. As head of the bank’s small business financing division, Murphy said he understands the challenges startups face.
“I speak to small business owners every day,” he said. “The biggest need is access – access to capital, access to resources, access to professionals who aren’t going to charge them an arm and a leg to give them a leg up.”
Corey M. Auger is the owner of Core Consulting & Marketing, a Warwick-based company that focuses on restaurant consulting. Since founding Core with two partners in March, Auger faced uncertainty about managing a startup while raising his four sons.
When he discovered the Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, he knew the center’s collaborative atmosphere was a perfect fit for his business. Auger is currently applying for space at Hatch for himself and his 15-person team of collaborators.
“I think that what they’re doing is very profound,” said Auger. “Hatch provides a specific place where entrepreneurs can receive hope.”
The theme of hope is one that Murphy emphasized as a critical part of the Hatch mission.
“[Small businesses owners] have this economic outlook of ‘the sky is falling,’ ” said Murphy. “We’re trying to breathe a little bit of hope into what they’re doing.”
Creating jobs and boosting Rhode Island’s economy are the ultimate goals of Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Murphy said. He believes that providing an environment for small businesses that encourages innovation, collaboration and fast-track growth will convince more businesses – and local college students – to stay in Rhode Island.
“When it comes time for [students] to graduate, they look around at the opportunities in the area, and if the opportunities that are there aren’t worth them staying in Providence, then they leave,” said Murphy. “They go to New York and Boston and L.A.”
To capitalize on the crucial element of cooperative innovation, Murphy said Hatch plans to collaborate with other local think-spaces, including Betaspring in Providence, and Workbar in Boston and Cambridge, Mass.
Murphy said that the mission to improve the state economy through innovative partnership was inspired by Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation, which encouraged such efforts through its year-long “Make it Happen RI” campaign.
“Neil Steinberg challenged Rhode Islanders, and we accepted that challenge,” said Murphy. “We hope others will accept the challenge, too.”
For more information or to apply to become a Hatch Entrepreneurial Center member, visit www.hatchri.com or call (401) 263-5626.
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