Willmar to receive unique co-working space

Workup founder hopes to stimulate economic growth with new facility

By Erica Rivera
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“Co-working is relatively new, but it’s been done well in the Twin Cities," says Betsy Bonnema, founder of Workup, a forthcoming co-working space in Willmar.

Bonnema worked at an advertising agency in the community for almost 25 years. It was there that she saw the positive benefits of shared space on the relationships with the agency’s clients. She’s wanted to create a public space and culture where people can collaborate, share resources, and support one another for a long time; when Willmar’s recent Vision 2040 report indicated that co-working was a needed tool for economic growth in the city, she decided to take action.

When initially planning Workup, Bonnema took cues from CoCo, a co-working model that has three locations throughout the Twin Cities. She also attended this spring’s Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) with 400 other owners and managers of co-working spaces in the U.S. for inspiration.

Workup, opening in May of 2015, will be the first large scale co-working facility in Willmar. Located on the MinnWest Technology Campus, Workup will be housed in the “Annex,” a refurbished Spanish Colonial style cottage that dates back to 1907.

Featuring an open floor plan with over 4,150 square feet and two fireplaces, Workup will offer flexible seating, dedicated desks, secluded nooks, meeting rooms, and event space. High-speed internet and hot coffee will be complimentary. Membership plans, which are available for reservation online now, range from $175 a month for part-time solo workers to $500 a month for full-time teams.

“One of our key priorities is to support economic development prospects in our community,” Bonnema says. She anticipates that users of the space will include freelancers, creatives, independent consultants, developers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and startup teams.

What’s more, Bonnema hopes to create partnerships with Ridgewater College, the Economic Development Commission, and local foundations to develop ongoing programming in the space. “Making resources and education available for people looking to start or grow a business" is another goal of Workup, she says.