High-tech co-worker space opens in Wabash

March 2nd, 2017

By Mackenzi Klemann | Wabash Plain Dealer

The unveiling of a new co-working and collaboration space in downtown Wabash on Tuesday evening showcased the entrepreneurial spirit of Indiana.

Located in the basement of insurance firm INGUARD of Wabash, the high-tech collaborative space is designed to provide budding entrepreneurs access to necessities like wi-fi, creative equipment and mentors.

INGUARD CEO Parker Beauchamp described the space as “a slice of Silicon Valley” in Wabash, which he hopes can be used in a larger economic revitalization effort.

“Wabash has always been a city of self-starters and makers,” Beauchamp said. “It’s the perfect place for a co-working space that accelerates big ideas, big dreams and big economic wins.”

The co-working room is one part of a larger partnership between INGUARD, Manchester University and the Economic Development Group of Wabash County.

In late 2015, the local entities launched an entrepreneurial program in an effort to connect students, business leaders and future business owners through classes, luncheons, fellowships and mentor programs.

One example of this effort is the co-starters program, a nine-week course taught by local business leaders to introduce potential entrepreneurs to the basics of running a successful business.

“It helped us know that some of the things that we had done were the right things to do,” Marcia Greene, co-owner of Babka’s Polish Pottery in downtown Wabash with her husband, Bob, said. “That was helpful to see whether you were approaching (business) well and if not, how to change.”

In another example, entrepreneurial students from Manchester University have used the co-working space at INGUARD to develop start-up plans and to help local businesses market on social media.

The partnership is still evolving. According to INGUARD, the co-working space will be used for future business and networking luncheons, fellowship programs and to host Ted talk-style speaking engagements.