The Workspace 311 Business Incubator and Remote Workspace is now open to the public! View our Remote Work and Training Opportunities webpage for more information!
by Gale Rose, Pratt Tribune - Aug. 23, 2019
Communication is crucial for a business to succeed. In a remodeled building at 311 Broadway in St. John, offices with broadband connections are awaiting tenants, eager to have a space to conduct their work remotely.
This new facility is “Workspace 311” and it’s an incubator where new business can get started, said Carolyn Dunn, Stafford County Economic Director.
Work Space 311 is set up on a membership basis and each business pays fees to use the building spaces.
At a recent Kansas Department of Transportation, one of the topics of discussion was the importance of infrastructure to keep rural communities going and that included Broadband. Broadband is essential connectivity for employment and sometimes it is a barrier in rural communities. Some places may not be connected and some can’t afford broadband service and that can limit business potential. “Not all places have access to high speed internet. We’re trying to remove that barrier,” Dunn said. At Workspace 311, they have the highest speed fiber optics available along with new computers.
This space is designed for those that don’t want to work at home, their work environment is too noisy, or they want to start a new work chapter in their life but don’t know about remote jobs.
Workspace 311 also provides business security. Business can be done in private without interruption. “You can’t do that from a place where people can look over your shoulder,” Dunn said.
But Workspace 311 is more than just a space to work. Training programs are available to show people what remote work jobs are open. Economic Development is working with Flexjobs, a clearing house for remote jobs. They help find what remote jobs are available that may be unknown in this area.
“It’s hard for us out here to know what those opportunities are,” Dunn said. “We provide support. We find what is available and what is the best fit for them.”
Workspace 311 can provide space for those that want to work independently. If they already have an established business in another town, they can set up an office in St. John as a second connection point for their business.
Those using Workspace 311 will be working for themselves. They will not be working for Economic Development. Economic Development will provide the work space and training to get started in the remote job program.
There are three areas of focus in remote job training: Customer Service; Technical-IT training; Professional level jobs.
AmeriCorps has played an important part in getting this project up and running. Economic Development received funding in 2018 for three AmeriCorps positions including one for the incubator. Kathleen Norman, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, came to St. John in 2019 and started working full time on the incubator project. A United States Department of Agriculture business grant was awarded in March 2019 to the project for renovation of the building that Economic Development purchased in 2017. Norman and Ashlee Bevan, Stafford County Economic Development Program Director, spent a lot of time finishing work on the building after Bike and Build, a cross county bicycle group that helps with affordable housing, stopped in St. John and spent a day working on the building to help get it ready to open.
The grant also covered running the training program for the next year, Norman said.
This includes classes in the various areas of remote business and an assessment of the persons readiness to go to work. Training in remote work etiquette and expectations, time management, office management, are some of the areas available. They are working on a workshop in office Excel, Norman said.
Workspace 311 is looking for solopreneurs, an individual that doesn’t hire anyone but does freelance or contract work or consulting. “We are happy to work with any kind of business,” Norman said.
Memberships and fees for office spaces at the incubator:
Stafford County Economic Development announces the completion of this spring’s Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) class that provides the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program to ignite the entrepreneurial mindset and cultivate an entrepreneurial culture.
Ice House redefines entrepreneurship as more than an academic discipline, reaching far beyond the concept of traditional business creation and small business management. Entrepreneurship is a mindset; a framework for thinking and acting that can empower anyone to succeed. It is a mindset that can empower ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary.
“We want to start providing business development workshops to businesses and individuals in our county. Utilizing our NetWork Kansas E-Community partnership made the most sense,“ Ashlee Bevan, Program Director for Stafford County Economic Development. “We partnered with Pawnee County Economic Development in hopes to broaden conversation amongst the participants so there were new faces and stories to share. This board-certified program not only had participants thinking outside the box, but it brought in current business owners from around Stafford County to share their successes and lessons learned along the way.”
The Ice House Program is an experiential, problem-based learning program designed to inspire and engage participants in the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset. ELI is the creator of the Ice House Program and ELI Founder Gary Schoeniger is the co-author of the program’s companion text, Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur, a powerful and compelling story that captures the essence of an entrepreneurial mindset and the unlimited opportunities it can provide.
“An entrepreneurial mindset shifts every day thinking into a new framework, empowering people to identify problems and deploy solutions using creative and critical thinking, effective problem solving, communication, and teamwork. And, in today’s rapidly changing, highly-complex world, the need for entrepreneurial thinkers at all levels of society has never been greater,” Schoeniger said.
Attending from Stafford County were: Misty Newell, Executive Director at Kenwood Plaza; Jamie Getty, St. John City Administrator; Kathleen Norman, AmeriCorps VISTA member with Stafford County Economic Development; Jami Downing, Stafford City Administrator; Eddie Towers, Director of Nursing at Kenwood Plaza; Kara Jecha, Administrative Assistant at Golden Belt Telephone.
About Stafford County Economic Development
Stafford County Economic Development strives to promote economic and population growth throughout the County by assisting our local businesses, engaging in community activities, and promoting Stafford County as a great place to live, work and play!
About the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) is a global thought leader dedicated to expanding human potential through entrepreneurial mindset education. ELI serves academic institutions, government agencies, profit, and non-profit organizations around the world to empower their constituents with an entrepreneurial mindset through professional development training, facilitator certification, and curriculum content. ELI is the creator of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Programs. Learn more at www.elimindset.com.
The four in the photo were participants from our last class yesterday evening. Left to Right: Kathleen Norman, Kara Jecha, Misty Newell and Jamie Getty.
(Thanks to the severe weather, it kept some of the other regulars from attending)
Stafford and Pawnee County Economic Development in association with the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, announces the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program will be offered in Larned and St. John. Sessions will be held 6:00-9:00pm on Wednesdays starting March 20th in Larned and ending May 8th in St. John with a program fee of $100 for adults, and $50 for high school students. The goal of the course is to teach participants to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
Taught by Lea Ann Seiler, a certified Ice House facilitator, this interactive 8-week program provides practical entrepreneurial lessons through first-hand experiences of successful, real-life entrepreneurs. Based on the book, Who Owns the Ice House, this curriculum consists of video interviews and case studies along with individual assignments, assessments, and discussion topics. This popular course is offered only a handful of times per year across the state and Stafford and Pawnee County Economic Development have brought this course to their communities for the 1st time under this partnership.
"We hope this course will expose you to a new way of thinking, recognize opportunities, ignite your ambition and foster the habits that will enable you to succeed. Those who complete the program will learn how to develop the mindset skills that enable you to recognize and evaluate opportunities regardless of your chosen path." - Shelley Paasch, Ice House facilitator.
A 50% rebate will be given to participants that attend seven out of the eight total classes.
For more information contact Ashlee Bevan, Stafford County Economic Development at (620) 549-3527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program online, visit http://www.staffordecodevo.com/entrepreneurship.html.
For more information about NetWork Kansas or the E-Community Partnership, visit www.networkkansas.com.
- January Classes in Larned –
Chamber Jordaan Room
502 Broadway St.
March 20 | Welcome and Overview
March 27 | Introduction
April 3 | Recognizing Opportunities
April 10 | Ideas into Action
- February Classes in St. John –
Annex Community Room
210 E 3rd Ave.
April 17 | Pursuit of Knowledge and Building Your Brand
April 24 | Creating Community
May 1 | The Power of Persistence
May 8 | Final Presentations
Stafford County Economic Development
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