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New co-working space helps female entrepreneurs meet multiple challenges to launching a business

Posted: 11:01 AM, Aug 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-15 17:35:57-04
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CLEVELAND — EVOLV, a new event space and co-working studio, is introducing itself to the downtown Cleveland community Thursday with its launch party.

Most of the Inside of the 5,000-square-foot-building is event space, with a co-working space for more traditional office work.

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A large, open event space takes up most of EVOLV's square footage, giving clients room to host a variety of events while also being a creative space for EVOLV's co-working tenants.

"With a co-working space adjacent to an event space, there's nobody else that has that," said Glo Founder and CEO Shelly Gracon. Glo is part of the movement that is opening EVOLV.

EVOLV is focusing exclusively on helping out female entrepreneurs. One of the founding companies is Sugarbowl Creative , owned by Theresa Crockett, who helps other companies use video and social media to expand their brands.

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Gracon moves panels around the EVOLV event space, showing the versatility of the building.

"To have a space that caters to female entrepreneurs is to have a space that caters to the unique vulnerabilities of being a woman in a business environment," said Crockett.

Crockett says female entrepreneurs often don't get taken seriously. Data shows female-owned start ups get investment much less often than male-run companies and investors tend to give women smaller amounts.

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"We honestly might not be taken as seriously as other entrepreneurs," said Crockett.

Gracon is at least trying to give them a spot to work and find support.

"We're all trying to navigate this very difficult path and it's best to do that together," said Gracon.

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Gracon shows the co-working space behind the event space, which will eventually house a handful of female-owned companies looking for a place to work.

While the eight to ten spots for businesses to use the co-working space are reserved for female-run companies, the area's large event space is open to be rented out by outside clients.

Gracon says she hopes that will open the door the companies in the co-working space to provide services like photography or videography during those events.

"I want to bring in others like me and really build this ecosystem and community so we're all really working off each other," said Gracon.

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An infinity wall gives businesses a way to make creative videos that doesn't exist in more traditional co-working locations.

"Isolation is the killer of creative potential," said Crockett.

Crockett says other spaces don't give creative companies like hers the space to create interesting videos like the environment at EVOLV will.

"One of the things we ant to be is a hub for versatility," said Gracon.

"It's a place to experiment that I haven't seen in other places," said Crockett.

If you want to learn more about Glo an EVOLV, or help the company with an investment, click here.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.