Over the course of the past year, I have seen a number of things happening that appear to be driving a new wave of
entrepreneurship and innovation in smaller more rural communities. Business Incubators and Accelerators have existed
for decades in urban hubs like Silicon Valley, with the focus on incubating or accelerating the process of Starting up a
company. However most of these were focused towards technology companies and in some cases were highly
competitive to get into. While they worked great at helping the companies with those programs grow, by design they
are insular- which means they often had little impact in helping the community that surrounded them experience the
same types of growth. When smaller towns tried to adopt the model, the tight knit nature of small communities was
challenging for these programs primarily because of that insular nature.
Fortunately in the last few years new opportunities are opening the door for more would-be entrepreneurs and
inventors to find common creative spaces for building and starting their businesses, even in smaller communities.
The maker movement, an international movement that started in 2006 has taken off in the U.S. more recently and is
driving a resurgence in American Innovation. These maker spaces are provide an inexpensive opportunity for everybody
to access tools that might normally be cost prohibitive, like 3D printers, robotic components, woodshop and metal
working tools. These are the tools that allow inventors and innovators to prototype new products. Additionally they
provide opportunities for creative individuals to get together and explore new ideas. Jason Davies, who co-founded
Bellingham’s first maker Space, the Foundry, says “__________”
Another movement, coworking spaces, started just a year before maker spaces and are designed to have a more open
and inclusive environment for small business, independent consultants and other entrepreneurs. Coworking by design
is efficient and economical as well as
Different Coworking spaces offer different amenities and attract different kinds of people, so be sure to shop around, we
have three Coworking spaces here in Bellingham to choose from.
*This piece originally appeared in the Bellingham Herald.