City officials and entrepreneurial leaders officially opened a 900-square-foot coworking space in the Parramore district on Monday.
The office marks the third location for Canvs, a downtown Orlando-based agency that offers office space and programming to entrepreneurs.
The Parramore location will be the first to open its doors to non-technology companies.
The goal is to provide opportunities for those who want to pursue entrepreneurship, District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill said.
“This is to create affordable space for those that are starting up businesses in Parramore,” she said.
Orlando City Council granted $50,000 to Canvs in June for what has been deemed a one-year pilot program.
Eventually, the goal is to move the program into the up-and-coming Creative Village complex, a sprawling installation coming up just south of the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, where Monday’s ceremony was held.
When the city awarded the money without a bidding process, some other entrepreneurial leaders objected.
Dennis Pape, who runs the Catalyst coworking space downtown, said then that his space provides the same services that had been requested by the city.
Meanwhile, John Hussey, whose group Real Trend runs the Colab coworking space, said he was “confused” about the award.
Canvs Executive Director Donna Mackenzie said the group would welcome strategies that could align all groups.
“We are looking for opportunities to collaborate,” she said. “I would love to find a way to bring us together.”
Canvs officials said the $50,000 will be put toward scholarships to local entrepreneurs.
“The goal is to get as many companies as we can that are in Parramore,” said Donna Mackenzie,
Canvs first opened a location in August 2014, when it debuted at the Church Street Exchange Building amidst a push for tech entrepreneurship in the region. The space opened with a self-proclaimed goal of supporting up to 5,000 jobs.
The Parramore location will be its third, following a second opening in Winter Park last year.
“I can’t wait to see what businesses open here in the coming year,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said during a 15-minute ceremony marking the location’s opening.
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