WeWork To Give 3 To 12 Months Of Free Space As Part Of New Program
The co-working provider is now partnering with community groups, including American University’s AU Center for Innovation in the Capital, for a new program aimed at fostering entrepreneurship in underserved communities and giving office space to those who may be unable to afford it.
WeWork's Mission Possible program will give three to 12 months of free space to companies who apply and qualify at its Dupont Circle, K Street and Manhattan Laundry locations. It started accepting applications Wednesday and plans to give 10% of its available space to participants.
DC leader Kley Sippel, above, says he hopes providing the office space and other WeWork amenities to these companies will foster their growth enough that they can pay for WeWork space after the program, but he says the program is more about helping the community.
"Whenever we grow at an amazing rate, we have an opportunity to grow our membership in DC," Kley says. "As we’re doing that we take a step back and say 'how can we do this in a thoughtful way that advances community and culture in our membership?'"
WeWork piloted the program in its Brooklyn Heights location in New York and is now rolling it out in DC, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The DC program is also partnering with the Washington DC Economic Partnership, Halcyon and StartingBloc.
In exchange for the free office space, WeWork asks that participants donate five hours of their time each month to an organization of their choice. This can include helping other WeWork members get their companies off the ground, Kley says.
"It could be mentorship, executive coaching," Kley says."Our job is to facilitate the connection, find members who know how to help each other better than we do."