New Co-working Program Brings Expert Advice to Mastercraft Tenants
Startup entrepreneurs inevitably must wrestle with business operation issues far removed from their expertise. They face legal and financial questions that can gobble up time and money they can ill-afford to spend.
If you are entrepreneur, think how valuable it would be to have a team of experts eager to help you troubleshoot problems. And better yet, imagine that the advice is free — and just down the hall.
That’s the luxury the small business tenants in Omaha’s historic Mastercraft Building have at their disposal beginning in November.
The 140,000-square-foot renovated building in north downtown is full of small, creative startups filled with entrepreneurs brimming with big ideas but without the capacity to spend big money solving financial and legal issues. That fact of entrepreneurial life was the genesis of “Mastercraft Advisors” – four companies that have set up co-working offices in the Mastercraft building to serve its entrepreneur tenants, many with whom they already have strong ties.
“This is a great way to make our business ecosystem smarter in their decision-making,” said Dave Milligan, the founding partner of Advent IP, a law firm that will provide intellectual property advice to Mastercraft businesses.
The other Mastercraft Advisors resource providers:
- Lutz & Company, an accounting firm
- Koley Jessen, a law firm that will provide general legal and franchising advice
- First National Bank of Omaha, for banking advice
These resource partners acquired space in the Mastercraft building beginning Nov. 1 and are planning a late-November open house, Milligan said.
Important Questions, Quick and Reliable Answers
“I haven’t heard of this anyplace else,” he said. “Companies often do their own research on these types of questions online, but that information can be sketchy. Here they can just approach someone for a quick doorway question that saves a lot of additional questions and headaches down the line. They will get quick answers that they know are reliable.”
Milligan credits Dusty Reynolds, director of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, for much of the initiative in making Mastercraft Advisors a reality. Silicon Prairie News, a Mastercraft tenant, also was instrumental.
Reynolds, who has an office in the Mastercraft building, said the Chamber will rely on the expertise of the resource providers in its work with Chamber members.
“Entrepreneurs are the leaders of the startup community,” Reynolds said. “The rest of us in the community are in support roles. The strongest entrepreneurial ecosystems have service providers like this that are integrated into the community as partners, not as vendors.”
Eventually, the service will expand beyond the walls of the Mastercraft, Reynolds said.
“This should not be exclusive,” he said. “Startups outside of the building, at some point, should be able to benefit from the same counsel as those housed at the Mastercraft.”
Part of bringing expertise to the entire Omaha entrepreneurial community will be “lunch-and-learn” events focused on topics important to small businesses and entrepreneurs, Milligan said.
“We want to answer those questions that pop up and educate everyone,” he said. “That will make entrepreneurial business decisions smarter, more informed.”