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‘Passport’ Program Connects Southern Minnesota Co-working Spaces

Shared office space are now being offered in Rochester, Mankato, Red Wing, Austin, and more.

‘Passport’ Program Connects Southern Minnesota Co-working Spaces
The program will include Mankato's Mogwai Collaborative space.

The ongoing expansion of co-working office space is largely an urban phenomenon. More than half of all Twin Cities co-working space is in downtown Minneapolis, according to the latest research from Cushman & Wakefield Minneapolis-St. Paul. But co-working has also taken root in outstate Minnesota.

On Tuesday, six co-working spaces in Southern Minnesota announced the “Greater Minnesota Coworking Passport.” Twin Cities office brokers are forgiven for not knowing that there were any co-working spaces in southern Minnesota, much less six. The "Passport" allows members who join one of the half-dozen co-working spaces to work at any of the spaces within the program.

The six co-working spaces in the program are:

  • Mogwai Collaborative, Mankato
  • Launch Coworking Space, Austin
  • Collider Coworking, Rochester
  • Red Wing Ignite, Red Wing
  • The Garage Cowork Space, Winona
  • Pi-co.works, Pine Island

The Launch Coworking Space opened in Austin in 2018. Compared to most big city co-working spaces, Launch is small: just 1,500 square feet of space.

“We can do events with 25 people comfortably,” said Sean Williams, ecosystem builder with Austin Community Growth Ventures, which runs the co-working space.

“We’ve got an accountant, a staffing company, a financial advisor,” said Williams of some of the tenants in the Austin co-working space. Williams is also connected to two of the companies in the space: YarnMobile, a mobile yarn store run by his wife and mother-in-law, and his own Comicker Press, a comic book publishing company.

The new Punch Card Passport costs $99 and can be used for five visits to any of the participating co-working spaces. The Monthly Passport costs $250 and allows unlimited access to all of the spaces during posted “drop-in” hours.

Williams said that many of the co-working operators in different communities already knew each other and were working together.

“A number of us were part of the Entrepreneurs First program that was run by Red Wing Ignite,” said Williams. “The idea of doing a joint passport made a lot of sense.”

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