Economic developments efforts continue in the Grand Valley to land the proverbial big fish — a company that would bring a substantial number of new jobs and hefty payroll to the area.
Meanwhile, though, other efforts continue to promote the birth and growth of lots of small fish — ventures that start out as the efforts of entrepreneurs or professionals who perhaps hire one or two employees.
There would be obvious benefits from the addition of a single large employer that would add, say, 300 jobs. But there would be even more benefits from the creation of 100 employers adding three jobs each. Sure, the number of net new jobs would be the same. But think of the diversification — and resulting strength and stability — 100 new businesses would bring to the economy. Moreover, think of the potential of those 100 small firms to add even more jobs as they grow.
To that end, there’s considerable promise in the impending opening of the Factory, a new coworking space in downtown Grand Junction that constitutes yet another resource in promoting small business development in the Grand Valley.
The Factory, located in the former county building at 750 Main St., will offer shared and dedicated work space, high-speed Internet access and high-tech video conferencing capabilities. All that comes with low monthly membership fees.
The Internet access at the Factory will offer download and upload speeds that are 25 times faster than the average connection in Grand Junction. The Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance plans to open in the Factory what’s called a Fuse Impact Center, one of four the trade association will operate in the state.
The centers offer manufacturers and other types of business equipment to conduct video conferences and share information, connecting them with other companies and customers without the need to travel.
The Factory will offer members what they need to grow their businesses, whether its a place outside their homes to work, high-speed Internet access for accommodating large files or a place to meet with clients either in person or through video conferences.
Perhaps what’s most exciting of all, though, is the possibilities for connections the Factory will promote among members and among the Factory and other organizations involved in promoting business development.
Consider what happens when creative entrepreneurs work in the same space and start talking about their various pursuits. Think of the innovative ideas they’re likely to come up with and the products, services and businesses that will follow.
Now, consider the ways in which the Factory can work with the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Consider, too, how the Factory could work with Colorado Mesa University to not only assist entrepreneurial students while they’re attending CMU, but also encourage them to stay in the Grand Valley and pursue their dreams and careers after they graduate. The Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce also can take advantage of the Factory and its coworking space in their efforts to recruit new businesses and help existing businesses.
In fishing and economic development, size definitely matters. But there’s something to be said for numbers and the potential for growing small fish into large fish.