Previously separate facilities in Grand Junction offering places to start and operate businesses have merged at one location under an effort expected to further foster entrepreneurship.
The Factory, a Proximity space, has relocated its coworking operation to the Maverick Innovation Center on the Colorado Mesa University campus.
“Students might call it collaboration, the private sector might call it coworking space. But in the end, the business of Factory and the Proximity network aligns nicely with the mission of the Maverick Innovation Center,” said Tom Benton, director of the center. “Factory is the right company at the right time to create a culture within our program that is conducive to helping students bring their ideas to life.”
Allison Blevins, chief operating officer of Proximity Space, a Montrose-based company that offers software and hardware to manage coworking spaces and is involved in the Factory, said leasing space at the innovation center offers a number of benefits.
“We are interested in asking and learning as we go about how higher education institutions can engage small businesses and startups and connect them to the future work force,” Blevins said. “This partnership is a great way for us to do just that.”
The Factory coworking space at the Maverick Innovation Center will offer spaces for dedicated desks and drop-in users as well as nine conference rooms and high-speed internet access. Members will continue to have access to other Proximity coworking spaces in the Grand Valley and across Western Colorado and the United States.
Blevins said the new location for the Factory offers the benefits of a college campus that includes three coffee shops, a lounge, a pub, five restaurants and a dining hall.
But the new location also remains close to downtown Grand Junction with bus service between the two, she said. “Our clients and collaborators can utilize the Dash transportation system to maintain that important connection between CMU and the greater downtown Grand Junction creative district.”
The Maverick Innovation Center opened in 2015 to provide a place for students to develop their ideas for products and services — along with businesses to sell them.
The center moved earlier this year to a new location on campus at 730 Mesa Ave. and was combined with a cybersecurity center. The goal of the center has remained the same, though, in promoting collaboration among students, faculty and entrepreneurs through close proximity and shared workspaces.
The Factory opened in December 2016 in downtown Grand Junction to offer a place where people can work, meet with clients and take advantage of video conferencing equipment and high-speed internet access.