The shared, flexible desk concept has grown from a hive of tech startups, entrepreneurs and independent freelancers in 2005 to an environment many small, medium and even large businesses prefer. Not only can small- and medium-sized businesses eliminate the ordeal of leasing commercial office space, but well-established businesses and large corporations are also finding the energy and opportunity to network and collaborate with other business professionals an exciting way to work. Along with the collaboration that coworking spaces foster, all types of businesses benefit from the strong sense of community that coworking spaces embody. Additionally, Venture X coworking spaces elevate the concept of coworking, with design-forward, contemporary spaces that offer concierge style services, high end furnishings and a variety of workspace options.
Living in Jupiter for about five years, Venture X Palm Beach Gardens owners, Jeannie and Steve Fowle, said they always wanted to make Florida their home and that, “after paying their dues in the Northeast and Midwest,” in the insurance and financial services industries, “the opportunity to come south arose and we jumped at it,” opening the Palm Beach Gardens Venture X location in November 2018. Jeannie’s experience as the owner of an executive coaching business and Steve’s extensive financial services experience provide a wealth of knowledge in helping their Venture X clients grow their businesses. “We are in love with this area,” the couple said, “and can’t believe we are blessed to call it our home.”
We caught up with the Palm Beach Gardens Venture X owners to get a closer look at coworking in their beautiful South Florida location. Here’s what they shared with us:
What is your connection to this community?
We are active in local Chambers of Commerce (including sitting on the Board of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County) and are active volunteers at our church. Passionate about adoption, we also started a charity that provides scholarships to Florida birthmothers who have placed a child for adoption.
What has been the most interesting or exciting part of owning a Venture X location?
The most exciting aspect of owning a Venture X is the opportunity to meet and help amazing people each day. The most fascinating people/businesses come through our doors – as prospects, clients and guests – from the CEO of an international retail store to a racecar driver, to a client who sells meat in South and Central America. Our goal is to do everything that we can to make sure each one has great experience and benefits from the community that we are building. Word of mouth is our best advertising!
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur and business owner?
1. Service: We believe strongly in a servant leadership philosophy and do our best to practice it with everyone we meet.
2. Community: We work hard to build a culture of community within our space. Florida is made up of people from all over the world. We want to help them feel a part of our geographic community and especially our Venture X community.
3. Creativity: Every day brings a different challenge, many outside of our traditional skillsets. Yet, it is critical that we provide our clients with an easy place to work while meeting their business needs and their desire for a warm and welcoming community. Creative problem solving is a must to make our space work – so that our clients can do their work.
How did you hear about Venture X?
We knew that the concept of a shared economy was the way of the future. And, coworking plays a big role in that economy. We were looking at another coworking brand, but our pastor introduced us to UFG and then Venture X. It was a great fit.
What makes this an ideal location for a coworking space?
Palm Beach Gardens is a great location for a coworking space for several reasons.
· People are flocking to South Florida from all over the world. You can’t beat the favorable tax environment OR the amazing weather.
· Our clients – especially the transplants from larger markets like New York City – appreciate the ease of doing business in Palm Beach Gardens. Parking and traffic hassles are now a thing of the past.
· Palm Beach Gardens provides great walkability to many amenities and is a center for businesses like international wealth management companies, global manufacturers, healthcare, and many others.
· Thanks to our franchise system, our clients can easily use locations like West Palm Beach, Doral and Orlando without having to deal with the challenges that are a part of doing business in a larger city.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from members?
We have been overwhelmed by positive feedback. The attractive surroundings often lure clients to our location but the community within the walls has people loving working here.
Have you found that people are familiar with the concept of coworking or have you had to explain it?
In the beginning, we found we had to educate our town on the concept of coworking. Actually, all the press surrounding the WeWork debacle has helped to make coworking a household word. Our clients take comfort in the fact that, while the concept is somewhat similar, the fact we are owner operated makes Venture X a very different experience for the people of our community.
How would you describe the business community in your area?
Diverse! Not only is there diversity among our client demographics but there is also diversity among the sectors in which they work. In addition to the expected industries like financial services, law and insurance, we also have a number of startups, nonprofits and large corporations that call Venture X – Palm Beach Gardens their home.
What does your Venture X community look like? Similar industries? Varying ages?
Both in terms of age and industries, we have purposefully built an extremely diverse set of clients. We believe that this has helped provide additional opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie.
Have you noticed any interesting work habits amongst your members?
Yes! Over the course of a day, I might see the same client working in 4 or 5 different spaces . . . . her office, the community area, coffee bar, outdoor balcony, or phone booth. How awesome is it that we’ve got a workspace no matter what kind of mood you’re in OR what type of environment you need?! And, with the option of 24/7 access for most clients, they can choose to work at the time that works best for them, their clients, and their business.
How much square footage do you have? How many conference rooms? How many private offices?
Our 13,000 square foot space is comprised of a large community area, hot desks, 8 dedicated desks, 40 private offices, and 3 conference rooms (including a podcast studio). Our outdoor balcony is a favorite place for our clients to work during the amazing Florida winters.
Elaborating, the Fowles told us, “Our lounge area opens to our balcony and has been an excellent venue for hosting events.” As a matter of fact, their location is such a popular event space that they host after business hours events at the Palm Beach Gardens location “at least once a week.” The owners went on to say that, “These events might be a Tech Talk meetup, a business networking group, or Chamber function.” In addition to evening events, they said, “area businesses have used our space for planning sessions, team building functions, sales meetings and fundraising.”
When asked what is unique about their location, the Fowles shared, “While located in the ‘burbs,’ we have easy access to larger markets by car (West Palm Beach) or train (Fort Lauderdale and Miami) should our clients’ business take them to those areas.” The real icing on the cake? “Our location in Palm Beach Gardens,” the owners said, “is in between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. World-class shopping and dining are right in our backyard!”