SkyMart Venture Place Opens

February 22, 2017 – Entrepreneurial ideas now have a place to incubate and expand in Morristown.

On Tuesday (February 21,) the SkyMart Venture Place opened in downtown Morristown on Main Street.  Within the newly renovated space, the CO.STARTERS program will be housed.  The program allows people with business ideas to meet and commune with like-minded individuals in a space they rent out at a minimal price.

The new program will hopefully facilitate new business ideas and help stimulate the economy by bringing fresh ideas to Morristown.

“We are offering low cost office space and business classes for people who are interested in growing businesses or think they have an entrepreneurial spirit they want to cultivate,” Jobe Leonard, trained facilitator of the CO.STARTERS program, entrepreneur in residence at the SkyMart and friend of Crossroads, said.  “We created an open workspace that has very low overhead and it allows people to work with like-minded entrepreneurs.  It helps to grow business.  Maybe they don’t have certain strengths that another has, it allows collaboration.”

Leonard is an entrepreneur himself.  He builds websites and has several published titles online.  He says that he has experience with online publishing and will be helping teach the CO.STARTERS classes.

According to Barbara Garrow, program manager at Crossroads Downtown Partnership, there is not another space set up like the SkyMart Venture Place between Knoxville and Johnson City.

The CO.STARTERS program is a nine-week course that is available to people who are interested in learning the ins and outs of business, from marketing to implementation of their ideas.  The first class started this week and the next class will be available in the summer.

“We paid $3,500 in grant money to bring this course to Morristown,” Garrow said.  “The first set of classes that start this week is already full.  We will offer another one during the summer.  The course takes you through looking at yourself as a businessperson.  What is it that makes you capable of starting this business and seeing it through?  How do you make this work?  This focuses a lot on the customer and it is a visual course.  People get a lot out of it.  It makes you think through everything you need.”

A ribbon cutting was hosted by the Morristown Chamber of Commerce.  Visitors were allowed to come into the new space to see how the space will function.  Immediately upon entering, guests are welcomed by a sitting area with couches and coffee tables for the use of the entrepreneurs.  Throughout the workspace, there are several desks and cubicles set up that can be mixed and matched to fit the needs of the entrepreneurs.

“It started with a grant, as most things do,” Garrow said.  “We were successful in getting the grant.  We were one of six entities to get the entrepreneurial grant.  It was awarded in September.  It included developing at least one entrepreneurial space.  We were able to do some refurbishing to make it available to people for different purposes.  They all share something in that they all have a dream.  Whether you want to be an artist or a software writer, or even open a pharmacy.  It is all a dream.”

from the Citizen Tribune

Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce * 825 W. First North Street * P.O. Box 9 * Morristown, TN 37815 * 423-586-6382 * 423-586-6576 fax