Elev8 participants get access to a variety of teaching and resources to help grow their startup businesses.
For John-Scott Thompson, life as an entrepreneur looks vastly different from a year ago. “I was working in my house, in a bedroom and, honestly, it was lonely. Plus, I had another day job,” he said.
Today, as co-owner of Panda Bit – a two-year-old company that buys and re-sells old cell phones, tablets and MP3 players – Thompson has watched his revenue increase 12 to 15 times more than when he first started, while his customer reach has expanded worldwide. He attributes his success to workspace hub Cohab and its Elev8 program, which he joined nine months ago.
“It’s taught me things that I never would have thought about before and introduced me to people who helped me grow my business and it gave me the confidence to quit my other job.”
Cohab has opened its Elev8 program up to even more entrepreneurs like Thompson, including small businesses and non-profit organizations.
“We’re trying to engineer people’s success. You don’t have to have a space here at Cohab to participate. Our space is community-driven and this is our first official program,” Cohab Executive Director John Grindley said.
Through Elev8, startup companies have access to a diverse offering of resources and services each day of the week, including mentoring from some of the area’s most successful business leaders: CoSolve, which features peer-to-peer problem-solving sessions; 1 Million Cups, which gives startups a chance to present their business to the community; and Biz. Breakfasts, a partnership with Biz. Magazine which provides laid-back learning and networking opportunities.
Elev8 also features sessions using the popular Lean Startup methodology, in which entrepreneurs adapt their focus to the needs of the customers instead of the needs of the business. “If you’re solving customer problems, you’re solving your problems. It’s all in the way you look at it. It’s an amazing business tool that can give you a different perspective,” Grindley said.
The Elev8 program reaches a diverse group of participants ranging in age from 20-somethings to Baby Boomers, with startups from a variety of industries. Elev8 membership is $100 a month, a small price for invaluable information, Thompson says.
“You’re not going to get anywhere sitting at home by yourself. You don’t have the resources or the people to help you. If you immerse yourself into this program, this is the place where they’re going to help you do everything. Just give it a shot,” he said.
Cohab is located at 500 Clyde Fant Pkwy. in Shreveport. Call 318.759.7997, visit Cohab’s website at www.cohab.org or follow Cohab on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cohabitatshreveport to learn more about Elev8. Visit www.pandabit.com to learn more about Panda Bit.
By Donecia Pea