A growing Cube helps entrepreneurs scale their business

The Cubeis multiplying as it scales up into sort of a hypercube in downtown Rochester.

The Cube is a coworking cooperative that launched this summer in a small, blocky building at 717 South Broadway.

Coworking translates into providing space and equipment for mobile individuals to drop in and work via laptops and cell phones. Members  mostly work independently. However, The Cube tries to bring members with similar values and an interest in developing new businesses as well as collaborating with other creative professionals.

"The whole idea of The Cube is to try help entrepreneurs scale their businesses," says David Hewitt, who is one of the people spearheading The Cube project. "It is all part of driving the entrepreneur network in Rochester to help make this more of a start-up community."

Now the pro-entrepreneurial group is building on the foundation of its early success of the original Cube by squaring up a second, much larger Cube at 328 South Broadway. That's the former Emily Griffith Photographystudio space between Prosthetics at Graphica Medicaand the Patterson Dahlberglaw firm.


Right now the "Cubists," as they call themselves, are working on the new 1,200-square-foot space to create a large bullpen-style work area, conference room plus a lounge area.

If all goes according to plan, the new space will be unveiled on Nov. 13 when the company will host a launch party for a local SourceLinksite. SourceLink is a national network of websites designed to help people start new businesses. This local project is being sponsored by the University of Minnesota Rochester, the Blandin Foundation, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundationand AgStar Financial Services.

"This is going to be about three to four times the size (of the original)," says Hewitt, who owns Mama Meg's Frozen Novelties.

While the Cube cooperative will continue to use its original building, this new space signals an evolution of what began as an experiment.

Membership is now up to nine plus a related group of 20 Cube collaborators, who help with projects and serve as mentors.

"We're becoming more intentional. We're building up our memberships to sustainable levels," he says. "We now have a number of corporate or 'growth' sponsors' that are contributing this time."

Beside adding their corporate names to space and all Cube materials, sponsors have a preferred referral status for business services for the members.

"The next stage will be an accelerator or incubator type of model. These corporate sponsors will be crucial to that evolution," says Hewitt.


Biz buzz

If all of the chatter I've been hearing is accurate, Rochester Public Schoolsis not done buying big commercial buildings this fall.

The school district bought the almost empty Rochester Market Squarecomplex earlier this month for $2.1 million, but another purchase could be in the works.

It sounds like the schools could be wrapping up yet another Rochester real estate deal very soon. I plan to do my homework, so we should find out soon if another deal is on the Rochester Schools' lesson plan.

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