Coworking and flexible office software company Proximity Space, Inc., announced today a contract award from the State of Utah to implement management software for coworking spaces across the state, including businesses that receive funding from the Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant Program.
The grant is administered by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Office of Rural Development, and is intended to help create more infrastructure for rural communities to participate in the digital workforce. In an effort to spur job creation, job diversity, and boost wages in rural areas across Utah, the state approved grant funding for the construction or renovation of coworking spaces and innovation centers. The grant also covers the improvement of broadband service in designated rural regions.
Establishing a coworking space is often an early step for communities to attract and support more digital economy workers, entrepreneurs and employees with the flexibility to work remotely. Coworking spaces not only provide the infrastructure, equipment and professional setting for productive work, but also offer a support network for members to connect with potential collaborators, customers or mentors. Coworking spaces are typically hubs for community events including classes or workshops designed to teach new skills.
“The rise of the digital economy has allowed cities of all sizes to attract high-paying jobs, diversify their industries and create revitalized entrepreneurial ecosystems,” says Brian Watson, Director of Community Development for Proximity.
“Coworking spaces and the people who are attracted to them play a vital role in transformation. We’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the country and we are very encouraged by the work being done at the State of Utah to embrace the innovation economy. We believe initiatives like this will help secure Utah’s place as a leader in rural economic development for years to come,” Watson said.
Proximity has completed hundreds of software implementations for coworking spaces, many of which are located in rural areas across the United States. Rural coworking space operators in the Proximity Network are often the first to establish a coworking space in their local communities and rely on Proximity to provide information on best practices for coworking space operations. Proximity owns and operates three coworking spaces on Colorado’s Western Slope.
Proximity was selected as a software provider by the State of Utah based on coworking software implementation experience and comprehensive platform capabilities including a digital door access system, member check-in system and management of reservations, events, billing and reporting.
Coworking space grant recipients will work cooperatively with local city and county officials, educational institutions and regional economic development organizations to promote job growth, particularly in communities with high unemployment rates and lower median incomes. Through Utah’s Rural Economic Development Incentive grant, businesses in rural regions can also receive funding support for new jobs created. These jobs can be remote, based in a coworking space or physically located in the same county as the business.
Proximity helps coworking spaces manage and grow member communities by providing digital door access and software for memberships, billing, reporting, Wi-Fi access, events and conference room reservations. With hundreds of coworking space locations in the Proximity Network, workspace is searchable and accessible to entrepreneurs, small businesses and remote workers across the country. Proximity also founded the School of Coworking to provide coworking space owners and community managers training and resources to run a successful coworking space.