Bandwagon founder and local entrepreneur Harold Hughes spent the last couple of years jetting all over the country, meeting investors, raising funds, and learning from those who’ve successfully started their own companies to get his own startup off the ground.
But he doesn’t want anyone else in Greenville to have to do the same thing, spending months away from their home and families and away from the businesses they’re trying to grow.
Enter Brickyard Greenville, a new Greenville Chamber of Commerce-backed co-working option under construction in the Next Manufacturing Center at 400 Birnie St. Ext., Greenville, that co-founders Hughes and Sydney Cooke, also executive director, are launching. The organization is geared toward small businesses and startups that could benefit from pooled resources to help take them to the next level. Cooke says Brickyard is currently accepting applications and should be ready to roll in its physical space this month.
“The reason I wanted to do this was because I had to fly to San Francisco and fly to New York and Austin and drive to Durham and Atlanta, and what I was gathering and learning in all those places, I want people to learn faster here,” Hughes says. “What it took me two flights to San Francisco to learn, I want people to be able to gather in one trip to the West End.”
Cooke says what they discovered was that there are available programs in Greenville built to help people who are two to three years into their business, such as the Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator or NEXT, but not a lot of resources for those less established.
“Because of how we’ve framed it, we’re focusing on early-stage startups, these emerging growth companies that have hit this number — 250, 300, 400 thousand dollars of revenue — how do you get to that next leap?” Hughes says. “So what if we could help you get the education for where you are when you need it?”
Cooke says many of those necessary resources likely exist in Greenville already, but new businesses and entrepreneurs may not know how to access them and certainly not all in one central location.
“That’s really how all this started was Harold wanted to one, pour back into the community what has been poured into him, and then two, to build these resources here in Greenville,” Cooke says. “So connect ones that are already existing that we already know are here, and then figure out what’s lacking, and then figure out how to build them so that we are keeping our entrepreneurs and our talent here in Greenville, essentially attracting more in Greenville, so that we’re able to impact the Greenville business community.”
The 3,400-square-foot Brickyard facility in the NextManufacturing Center features co-working space with dedicated and floating desks, phone booths for privacy, a conference room, and event space Hughes says they plan to use for community events. Business-related events such as the Chamber’s MBA program and 1 Million Cups will be held there as well.
Brickyard is currently set up as an LLC because of the time crunch to get it up and running, Hughes says, but they ultimately plan to operate some of it as a nonprofit to benefit the surrounding neighborhood and provide education and programming for nearby residents.
Currently, usage rates for Brickyard are as follows: dedicated desk, $299/month; floating desk, $199/month; nights & weekends, $149/month; student, $79/month (special deals for Clemson and other supporting university students); and day pass $10/day.