Entrepreneur Kelly Fitzgerald understands what it's like to be laid off. She went through it in January, and it was the push she needed to start her own business.
Now, she's hoping that her new venture can help others, such as those who recently got laid off from Carey Brown companies. Last week, about 300 people lost their jobs at seven different companies.
"I realize right now it may seem hard and you find yourself in a weird place," she said about those who recently lost their jobs. "But you'll look back and think, 'This was exactly what was meant to happen.'"
Fitzgerald is starting a collaborative workspace, located in the First Tennessee Building in the 700 block of Market Street, called Society of Work.
She has worked with Jonathan Mansfield and DJ Trischler from local company D+J on the brand and identity of the business.
Her background is in architecture, and she has at worked local firms, but she came to the conclusion that she likes interdisciplinary teamwork and wants to work for herself, she said.
Society of Work has an open workspace, a kitchen, a conference room, private offices, nap rooms, whiteboards and high-speed Wi-Fi.
There will also be other supplies and amenities, such as coffee, access to a copy machine, inexpensive downtown parking, and conference call and presentation tools, according to the company's Facebook page.
"This shared workplace houses professionals of various trades, tools and talents, each committed to building a culture where things get done," she said.
Fitzgerald said that people starting businesses often work out of coffee shops or their homes. But that gets old quickly.
"I would love to be able to work with anybody that's starting a new company," she said. "I'm a small business, so I have to make ends meet, too, but let's work together on this."
And because she has recently gone through being laid off and then starting her own venture, she can help others in that situation, she said.
She wants to share her resources and knowledge, helping other entrepreneurs overcome hurdles and strengthen their businesses.
There is a lot of red tape to starting a business. Entrepreneurs might need licenses or access to attorneys and accountants.
"When you're in small business, it really matters who you have on your team," she said. "You want the strongest team possible. I'm really passionate about being able to find those right people. I want these people to stay in Chattanooga."
Fitzgerald is planning a soft opening the first week of September and has about 10 people who will be in the space when it opens.
The rates to use the space are tiered, and they range from $75-$450. All memberships are on a month-to-month basis.
She hopes her business will spawn new business in Chattanooga, and she said collaborative workspace is important.
"Humans are social beings at their core, and just because we're not taking down mammoths doesn't mean we don't need co-workers," she said. "Society of Work is the first true collaborative workspace in Chattanooga."
Click here to read a Nooga.com story about another new downtown workspace.
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