That was a bit of an angry pitch wasn't it?
Inspired by Michael Shannon's reading of a sorority chapter president's email to her chapter, we decided to have a bit of fun of our own and do our own riff on the theme. So after 3 hrs of shooting, about 5 beers, and some generous donated time of video editing, we have what you just saw. First and foremost we are professionals, but we like to make fun of ourselves and stir things up in a good way. After all what's more fun than helping people build their businesses and grow the community? Below are some details about the organization behind this project and what we want to do.
How We Started
SunDown RunDown began as a monthly evening business pitch event series in Central Ohio in March, 2013. We gave entrepreneurs a chance to share their ideas, get feedback and maybe make a connection with an investor, mentor or talent to help take their idea to the next step. Members from the entrepreneurial community make up the audience and provide a fun, safe, and laid back atmosphere. It's no Shark Tank... more like a Manatee Petting Zoo. This format was liked so much that it spawned four more independent chapters in Akron, OH Mansfield, OH, New Albany, OH and Canton, OH. We've been going strong to give entrepreneurs a forum to get their ideas out there.
Starting to Grow
In October of 2013 we launched a social platform called the Venture Resources Network that seeks to connect entrepreneurs with other entrepreneurs to exchange skills and expertise to help each other build their business. We do not charge for the VRN, it is there for the community to recruit the help they need.
Share, Connect -> Do.
Here is where the SunDown CoWork comes into play. We have a forum with a dedicated community, we have a platform to connect, now we need a place to let entrepreneurs DO. We are finding that having a "third" space for entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate and have the resources to get things done is essential to launch and sustain successful ventures.
We are in the process of site selection. We have narrowed the site down to four potential properties around Central Ohio that meet our criteria for a good site. Our criteria for site selection are as follows:
- Easy access to a major highway or state route
- A densely populated residential area close by with a high percentage of the population that works from home or telecommutes
- Easy access to parking
- The physical space would have to support at least one conference room, multiple cubicles, and offices with an open floor plan
We've also created a flexible rate card for use of the space - either by the hour or with monthly memberships. We feel this gives the entrepreneur the flexibility to get quality work done and keeping costs as low as possible for entrepreneurs.
We have run a number of financial models to validate utilization rates of a minimum of 30% to cover all overhead and labor costs to keep the space open, running, and delivering programming. We can operating efficiently in a space as small as 2,500 sq. ft. (8 cubes, 1 conference room, 2 offices, kitchen/vending) and scale-up as needed to 5,000 sq. ft. (16 cubes, 2 conference rooms, 4 offices, kitchen/vending) based on demand before having to move to a larger space.
Programming at SunDown CoWork
Since we started off as an event series to connect entrepreneurs with investors, mentors, and talent to help take their idea to the next step, you can be assured that we will have great programs and workshops to help you be successful in running and operating your venture. We've make great connections with local incubators, such as TechColumbus, BrainTree and Innovate New Albany. We also have strong ties with Ohio State's Center for Entrepreneurship and the TEC Institute and we are making new connections and building deeper relationships throughout Ohio. Being part of SunDown CoWork makes you part of that network, which will give you access to mentors, resources and capital that you may not be able to source on your own.
A Team That Can Execute
SunDown RunDown is filling board and committee positions to help it expand and grow. You can have a look at the current leadership team and open spots that we are actively filling here.
Everything that we are doing with SunDown RunDown is to build the ecosystem for entrepreneurs to connect, share their skills and expertise, and create programs that will help drive towards successful, long-term, and sustainable businesses that will provide meaningful impact to the community.
But we can't do any of that really cool stuff without your help.
Risks and challenges
1) Site Selection - Having a site with a large enough population of work from home, home office and telecommuters to serve.
How we are mitigating this risk: We are using GIS services like ESRI to pinpoint locations that fit our clearly defined criteria (http://sundownrundown.org/partnerships.asp)
2) Pricing - Setting appropriate pricing to cover costs, provide resources of value without overcharging an entrepreneur
How we are mitigating this risk: We have done extensive research of other coworking spaces in similar markets like Central Ohio and re-indexed the prices based on cost of living for our area. We have also surveyed our target market with our pricing structure to validate it. (http://sundownrundown.org/rates.asp)
3) Delay in opening - space prep delay, cost overruns, technology installation, arctic vorticies, etc.
How we are mitigating this risk: Pre-work has been done to identify a number of suitable sites, multiple technology and furniture vendors have been identified and quotes obtained for pricing. We have a solid budget outlined with a 10% pad built in for cost overruns or the need to "crash" a project to hit the timeline for opening.
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