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Coralville CoLab expands business opportunities

BY ABIGAIL MEIER | FEBRUARY 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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Officials cut the ribbon on a second CoLab less than a year after the first Iowa City CoLab opened.
The Coralville CoLab, 2852 Coral Court Suite 3, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

The Coralville branch is an expansion of the Iowa City CoLab, a project aimed at helping young entrepreneurs open their businesses. The Coralville CoLab will be managed by Iowa City Area Development Group.

The Coralville CoLab opened in January as a partnership between Iowa City Area Development and Innovative Software Engineering — a company that creates software development. Eric Hanson, the communications director for the Iowa City Area Development Group, said Coralville officials wanted to create the second facility to expand working space.

Hass Machlab, the CEO of Innovative Software Engineering, was the first to reach about starting another space in Coralville.

“Ideally, we like to see is people coming here to network and interact, ultimately we want this place to fill up which will allow many of our local businesses to grow,” Machlab said.

Machlab said this space will provide a place for students freshly graduated from the University of Iowa to build ideas.

“I think it’s been incredible because we have the city rallying for this, the community organizations, economic development, the chamber, and private businesses everybody has come together and made it a very easy thing to do.” Machlab said. “It allows our ecosystem of businesses to grow and succeed.”

Hanson said since the opening of the Iowa City CoLab, the lab has gained 50 active members between the two spaces. There have been four companies and 19 new positions since the building’s inception.

“It’s kind of like a gym membership for companies,” Hanson said. “What we try and do is manage the space. We want the companies and members to see the space as their space.” 

The Coralville CoLab is the second co-working space that collaborates with businesses by providing public and private work areas to network with companies. Hanson said the new facility is only half as large as its Iowa City counterpart, 316 E. Court St.

“There is a more organic cooperation that needs to grow between businesses over time,” Hanson said. “We are a little bit of a catalyst for our members by hosting social functions and programs, but we don’t force them into anything, and we allow them to grow naturally.” 

David Hensley, the executive director of the University of Iowa’s Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, said the new center is one more inexpensive step for many young entrepreneurs to networking into the Iowa City community.

“It provides a plate of inspiration for entrepreneurs to network and develop their start-up businesses and ideas with other local businesses,” Hensley said.


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