Noting a lack of co-working space for budding entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh’s Black community, Minority Networking Exchange CEO Vernard Alexander has partnered with CKV Suites to provide it—right in the heart of Homewood.
Alexander celebrated with a grand opening event, Oct. 13, and estimates that by the end of the four-hour event, between 250 and 300 people attended.
“It was better than I imagined—great community support,” he said. “We had a great mix of seasoned entrepreneurs, some newer ones, and we had some youth entrepreneurs from H.O.P.E. for Tomorrow. One of them sold about $200 worth of her handmade smoothies, and another sold several pieces of his art. So, while I was glad to see support for the space, it was really nice to see the support for the vendors.”
Alexander said there is clearly a need for the space as the closest similar coworking spaces are in predominantly-White neighborhoods like Shadyside.
Alexander said the 1,200-square-foot CKV space offers members co-working as well as pop-up retail and event space. And the location, 528 N. Homewood Avenue, across from the East Busway, offers street-side parking.
CKV offers a two-tiered membership system. The basic $125-per-month tier includes: month-to month contracts; collaboration opportunities with other members; Wi-Fi; 24/7 building access; access to a calendar of events happening internally; access to work sessions and equipment; and meeting space.
At $200 per month, the premium membership package also includes: a physical mailbox address; private use of the space once a month for up to four hours; and free access to all of Alexander’s scheduled events.
Alexander said two cousins—who between them are operating three businesses—have already signed up for a premium package and have scheduled a fashion show for November.
“They already have on the calendar for the next three months events that they’re going to host, so it helps them make their money back and extend their brand,” Alexander said.
“But I’m holding off on actively recruiting members until I take care of a few things on my end—for instance, I want to upgrade the doors with either a keypad or cell phone access for convenience and security,” he said. “And if it gets to the point where I have so many members that it conflicts with events, well, that will be a good problem to have.”
(For more information, call 412-303-0808.)
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