Co-founder Glen Laughton hears “jobs, jobs, we all need jobs!” but asks “where do you think those jobs come from? They come from entrepreneurs that have the guts to put their entire personal and financial lives on the line to meet a need in the marketplace.” According to President Obama, “small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities,” and yet Laughton asks “when do we learn how to start a business?” ECO Business Centers provides educational courses and has gone a step further in creating an ecosystem of success for entrepreneurs.
According to the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, 80 percent of the businesses in Antioch employ no more than five workers. That means most of these entrepreneurs are working out of their homes, and a business can grow only to a certain degree in such an environment. The economy-of-scales factor, plus the perception that a business with a home address and that meets at Starbucks is not totally professional, make it hard for small businesses to compete with larger, established companies.
ECO Business Centers solves those problems by providing low-cost cubicles and offices, a shared admin, conference rooms, phone system, kitchenette, copy/print center, file servers and Internet access. “We provide an eco-friendly instant office so entrepreneurs can pick up their laptops, walk-in, sit-down and plug in to an entire office infrastructure they’d have in a mid- to large-size company,” says Laughton.
“We want them to focus on their core business, not the general office or Information Technology administration issues. In this environment they can succeed, the jobs will come and economic recovery will occur.”
Additional synergies will come through partnering with tenants. Tenant Pinewood Studios, a professional audio and video recording studio, will add in “Internet audio/video broadcasts and web conferencing,” according to co-founder Joe Reano. Tenant Ready Print will be able to offer large-volume print and copy services.
ECO Business Centers is looking for entrepreneurs that can function as “departments” such as accounting, legal, human resources, sales and marketing. “We want to not only create an instant office, but an instant company,” says Laughton.
Laughton and Reano’s greater vision is to help businesses to succeed to such a degree that they outgrow their facility, move out and take over vacant locations in Antioch’s beautiful Rivertown business district. ECO Business Centers is looking for only 20 more entrepreneurs to move in, plus groups that would like to host meetings in the new conference rooms.
So what happens next? “We’ve already been approached by other cities to replicate this model,” says Laughton. “We’re just looking for the right sponsors to join our vision.” ECO Business Centers’ future looks bright.
For more information, visit www.ecobusinesscenters.com and call 925-526-4465 to schedule a free tour of the facilities at 505 W. Second St. in Antioch.