Josh Boone of Cova Cowork shared his experience building support around social enterprises. Cova is a workspace providing tools and resources for entrepreneurship. While working as a freelance lawyer, Josh went on a global trip with a group of 50 others. He started an entrepreneurship mastermind with people who were interested. Oddly, a trend of social good came from out of the mastermind.
Those first steps gained momentum, and eventually became the coworking space. Despite how smooth the transition may appear, Josh was candid about the learning process. One of the first lessons he gained was about execution. While reflecting, Josh said:
“A lot of people have really great ideas and they can have a lot of energy in the beginning; and even getting down a business model, getting a few, few dollars of funding. But when it comes to taking that idea and making it real, it’s hard.”— Josh Boone
Once a space was secured, the real test of execution began. A factor many social enterprises have trouble with is their business model. Securing funding, operations, and logistics can take a toll in the ongoing process of refining. Josh shared what the process looked like for Cova. He mentioned a very intentional feature included with the workspace. Cova has childcare available on-site. This feature is geared towards parents that typically work from home. Josh explained the extra weight of commute time, parental managing, and expenses parents bare while trying to figure everything out. Cova relieves a lot of what could become anxiety, by addressing those concerns through the on-site childcare.
Another program at Cova is their Changemakers program where space and resources are provided to help aid development. In the words of Josh, the program is “a long term incubator for businesses who have some traction, but basically needs space and resources to grow.” Most social enterprises in the program have a few paying customers and a tangible product, but Josh encourages all levels to engage with the space. For example, one of the social enterprises at Cova started without any customers. That social enterprise was deep into a research phase for building a program around helping kids deal with therapy. Josh praised the development of the idea related to behavioral therapy in two years of witnessing the project.
Cova symbolizes a support system in more ways than one. From the business support to colleague support, the workspace creates an atmosphere of community. We discussed how tiresome ventures can be for solo entrepreneurs, and understanding the encouragement of interactions play into growing entrepreneurship.
Speaking of support, Josh returned to the lesson of execution when asked for his advice to budding social entrepreneurs. Execution is not simply following through. Execution goes along with collaboration, and not doing everything by yourself. While giving compliments to amazing partnerships he values, including his wife, Josh explained having support means you see multiple scenarios and can make better decisions.