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An Atlanta-based incubator and co-working space aimed at boosting entrepreneurship among minorities and underrepresented communities, is expanding in scope and scale.
Opportunity Hub, a work sharing and funding accelerator geared towards minority and women-owned companies, has recently opened two brand new campuses in the heart of Atlanta.
Launched in 2013, the for-profit organization has graduated to 17,300 square feet of space across two strategic locations in the midtown and downtown areas. Members can now work from shared and dedicated ‘hotdesks’ alongside private offices and conference rooms.
Opportunity Hub, which is focused on start-ups and early stage companies, offers everything from workspace, mentors, hands-on business coaching and guidance on raising capital.
“Entrepreneurs require a lot of knowledge,” says Rodney Sampson, Opportunity Hub co-founder & CEO. “So we teach entrepreneurs at the ideas stage all the way to the exit stage of their business on how to actually execute on their business idea and objectives.”
Sampson, an angel investor, veteran entrepreneur and creator of Shark Tank’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, says being exposed to these opportunities can be enormously beneficial, and something he himself would have appreciated when he was starting out.
“Fifteen years ago when I started my first tech company there was not a place or space physically, or even mentally, that I could go to work,” adds Sampson in a video interview with UrbanGeekz’s Kunbi Tinuoye.
“My co-founders and I worked out of the Georgia Tech university center. We didn’t have a co-working space. We didn’t have an incubator to work in.”
“We didn’t have access to mentors. We didn’t have a lot of emotional support because entrepreneurship can be a very lonely place and space to exist. Many times those who are closest to you don’t understand it. They think of the job. They don’t think of creating jobs.”
Sampson also believes Atlanta’s thriving black professional and political class serves as an ideal eco-system for minority entrepreneurship.
“Now, Atlanta is taking up the new charge and saying we want to be innovative in this innovative economy. Also Atlanta is intentional, or more intentional, about its diversity and inclusion than any other cities are. Silicon Valley is still predominately white-male oriented when it comes to innovation and technology.”
“Everyone that I talk to has their eyes on Atlanta. They want to bring conferences here. They’re looking for deal flow. Atlanta is the epicenter of diversity in the inclusion economy.”
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti