INVICTUS WORKS THE BLOG

The Importance of Mentorship and the Role iNvictus Office Center Serves for Entrepreneurs

Gerald Richardson - Friday, March 04, 2016

 

The Importance of Mentorship and the Role iNvictus Office Center Serves for Entrepreneurs.

By Charles Iyon Mitchell

Entrepreneurship continues to light the path for professional fulfillment in the United States and throughout the globe. In minority communities, there is currently a shift in the growth of entrepreneurs of color. Forbes Magazine reported in their February edition that black females were the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country. Female owned businesses grew by 74% from 1997 to 2015. Black female ventures grew an astonishingly 377% during the same period.

With the continued growth of entrepreneurship, it is essential for new ventures to lay a firm foundation during the inception phase. To meet the need, Invictus Office Center developed an entrepreneurship curriculum to assist all businesses. We at Invictus, strongly feel that our entrepreneurship curriculum can assist any entrepreneur, whether at the start-up phase or those entities that have been in existence for a while. Design to be completed in eight stages, the curriculum allows creators the opportunity to discover their passion, pitch to investors, and license and certify their business as minority owned as needed.

One of the key features of the curriculum is the mentorship provided throughout the journey. Upon enrollment in the curriculum, our clients are paired with an expert in their field. Participants are then guided through the process by an action-oriented individual that possesses the experience needed to be successful. Mentors comprise community and global leaders with extensive management experience.

Throughout history, mentorship has proven to assist and supplement new practioners with firm foundations in their craft. From the middle ages when young people participated in apprenticeships to the internship-based curriculums in higher education of the 21st, honing your craft under guidance has remained an important task. Thousands of years ago, the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all made references to the older generation teaching the younger one. Thus, history has produced numerous examples of mentorship. Socrates mentored Plato. Plato mentored Aristotle. Thomas Scott mentored Andrew Carnegie and Norman Rockerfeller. Benjamin Mayes mentored Martin Luther King, Jr. Andy Grove mentored Steve Jobs.

Despite the proven tactics of mentorships, many entrepreneurs continue to navigate their course individually. Various reasons exist why entrepreneurs go at it alone, but I feel there are four main reasons entrepreneurs shy away from seeking a mentor.

The I can do it myself spirit. Often entrepreneurs have a mindset that they can conquer the world. Unfortunately, many attempt to conquer it alone. Every man or woman that has attempted to take over the world had help. Whether the advice was good or bad, counsel was often available.

Fear. Many entrepreneurs are wrought with fear throughout their entire journey. As a result questions arise. Will my product be good enough? Will enough people support me? What if I share my idea with some and they use it for their gain?

Lack of Knowledge. Some entrepreneurs may not fully understand the benefits of having a mentor. It is essential that all business owners have someone they can share ideas with that will provide them with sound advice.

No one really wants to help me. After launching an idea, and exhausting one’s personal network, entrepreneurs may feel as if no one wants to help. Despite this misconception, many successful entrepreneurs are willing to help groom future entrepreneurs.

Our program is designed so that aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs learn from successful business owners and executives about how to refine their business ideas, how to raise money, how to pitch to investors and overall how to start or run a successful business.

Mentors assist entrepreneurs by supporting them in multiple facets. Often minorities work in underserved communities and mentors are needed that have crossed similar hurdles to success. In addition, minority entrepreneurs overwhelmingly face issues with access to capital and lack the extensive networks needed to showcase their products. As a result, mentor based entrepreneurship is beneficial to most startups.

Mentors open doors for entrepreneurs that many new ventures may not be aware of. The mentors of Invictus help their mentees troubleshoot some of the issues that stall entrepreneurship and eventually lead to business closure. Moreover, the mentors of Invictus provide startups with experience and savvy that many lack upon startup.

Secondly, our mentors and their mentees experience a reciprocal relationship. Throughout the curriculum entrepreneurs and their mentors form a unique bond. Entrepreneurs are able to learn from experienced experts, while mentors are able to lead and guide professionals at multiple stages of the learning curve.

Lastly, the mentors of Invictus coach the entrepreneurs through the process. Entrepreneurship is hard, and sometimes all that is needed encouragement, for the venture to succeed. Through accountability, our mentors help startups set and obtain their business goals.

Entrepreneurship continues to be a viable component of the global economy. As older sectors of enterprise fade away, starting a business remains an innovative avenue for answering many of the problems of the 21st Century. The mentor-based curriculum provides entrepreneurs with tools for upward mobility and the ability to redevelop their communities.

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Charles Iyon Mitchell is the Executive Director of Invictus Forward Outreach and Curriculum Manager for Invictus Office Center. With teaching being his passion, Charles has been an educator since 2005, currently serving as an instructor at North Carolina Central University. Additionally, Mr. Mitchell is actively connected to the community by coaching and mentoring with the Durham H.A.W.K.S. (Helping All Willing Kids Succeed) organization and serving at World Overcomers Christian Church. A native of Goldsboro, NC, Charles is married to his best friend, Rashaunte Hinnant. They are blessed with two children, Kyle and Khloe.

 

 

The Next Step: The Durham-Raleigh Entrepreneur Workshop

Gerald Richardson - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2016

Media Contact: Joe Biggs, jbiggs@invictusoffice.com

The Next Step: The Durham-Raleigh Entrepreneur Workshop

We are excited to announce that iNvictus Office Center is a Co-Presenting Partner and Host for "The Next Step :: The Durham-Raleigh Entrepreneur Workshop".

This day-long event will be held at iNvictus Office Center, 601 Fayetteville Street Suite 300, Durham NC 27701 on Saturday March 26th, 2016

Participants will have the opportunity to learn from successful investors and entrepreneurs who have raised millions of dollars and built multi-million-dollar companies. They will also receive direct coaching with a full-scale review of their business plan and investment strategy.
 
Moderated by Hezekiah Griggs III, the managing partner of H360 Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. Griggs is a well-respected entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. A global leader, Griggs lectures around the world and is universally recognized as one of the most successful African-American entrepreneurs in the US.

Registration with a discount is available for INvictus members and entrepreneurs. Please  check back with us or follow us on facebook and twitter @invictusoffice for future announcements.

Registration ( https://goo.gl/fdG8Vz )

Slots are limited.

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Located at 601 Fayetteville Street in Durham, iNvictus Office Center, A Coworking Community Space is an Ecosystem located in the Heart of Durham that provides Mentoring, Consulting, and Support for Entrepreneurs coupled with a Vibrant Coworking and Collaborative Office Space for Business Owners and Professionals.

For more information, please visit www.invictusoffice.com


 

Black Future Month 2016

Edward Boyd - Friday, February 05, 2016

Press Release:

For Questions regarding Black Future Month, presented by iNvictus Office Center - The HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship, please contact Joe Biggs, Jr at jbiggs@invictusoffice.com

Black Future Month

presented by

iNvictus Office Center – The HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship

 

Throughout the month of February, we will celebrate Black History Month at iNvictus Office Center. Being The HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship, we are electing to do so by highlighting great historical African-American entrepreneurs alongside current and future African-American innovators. While we, like the rest of the United States, use February to acknowledge the huge accomplishments of African-Americans, we don’t want to focus so intently on the past that we overlook the reason why we celebrate these accomplishments; that being how African-American pioneers affect and inspire future generations of African-American entrepreneurs. Subsequently, this February, iNvictus Office Center will celebrate Black Future Month!

The Advisory Council of iNvictus Office Center has researched through centuries of African-American entrepreneurial greatness and selected individuals that we believe offers the most impactful depiction of the connectedness between current African-American entrepreneurs with historical pioneers of whom shoulders they stand on. Please join us this Black Future Month 2016 in honoring the following African-American entrepreneurial giants:

Sarah Breedlove (Madame CJ Walker)

Tristan Walker

Arthur Gaston

Lauren Maillian Bias

John Harold Johnson

Arielle Patrice Scott

Maggie Lena Walker

Baldwin Cunningham

Frederick Douglass Patterson

Hannah Bronfman

Larry & Denise Hester – M&M Real Estate Development & Consulting

(www.MandMRealEstateDevelopment.com)

Heven Rooks – R.E.A.L. Kids United (www.RealKidsUnited.org)

Frankie Crocker - WBLS

DJ Nabs

Mario Van Peebles

Chase Dawson - Kid DJ/host

Sherrod Banks – The Banks Law Firm

Kimberly Williams - Right Time Realty (www.TimeToBuyAHouse.com)

John Merrick – NC Mutual Life / Black Wall Street

Talib Graves-Mann - Rainbow Me (www.RainbowMeKids.com)


Story About Dreams

Gerald Richardson - Friday, December 25, 2015

“I want to tell you a story about dreams.”

I’ll never forget that line in Paulo Coelho’s classic, The Alchemist. What followed was a parable explaining the multilayered approach to how history is made, which resulted in the summation: “No matter what he does,” the alchemist said, “every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

I remember reading over the documents related to the Forward Cities Initiative and thinking to myself (and later telling others,) “I believe, ON PAPER, Forward Cities is exactly what we need in Durham.” I thought and said that because, unlike the parable in The Alchemist, the Forward Cities Initiative Executive Summary provided a skeletal overview of roles, data obtaining research opportunities and cross-city relationships that, with enough vision, any reader could assume that an “open knowledge platform for shared learning” could result in great inclusive innovation to the benefit of the targeted community, Northeast Central Durham.

…and we signed up. After a discussion with our management team, iNvictus Office Center agreed to participate. In fact, we were excited at the opportunity to join this initiative. At the time, almost five years into our mentor-based minority entrepreneurship curriculum and having already worked/working with entrepreneurs across the southeast, AND having just cut the ribbon on our new six thousand square foot coworking facility located on the Fayetteville Street Corridor leading into Downtown Durham, North Carolina, there was one dilemma. We had a business model concentration on national economic development through helping to locate, develop, mentor and grow minority entrepreneurs and businesses. The biggest hesitation before us was how do we add a more concentrated, single city/community, almost microeconomic aspect to our overall mission. The answer was obvious: HOW COULD WE NOT?!

At the time, our current macroeconomic approach was successful. Almost ninety percent of the companies we had worked with since our founding in 2010, were still alive and doing well. At iNvictus, success is measured with a pretty high bar. We expect companies to be able to “zero out” all books at the end of each quarter and save, invest and scale responsibly. Additionally, we expect all of the entrepreneurs and companies we work with to invest in ethnic minority dominant culture communities. That investment can come in a myriad of diverse pathways; hiring from within those communities, providing beneficial technical support to those communities, supporting organizations or other businesses whose primary mission is to positively engage and affect the needs of those communities, etc. Economic development is difficult, but community redevelopment has its own set of concerns to overcome. There has been a lot of research done on cities and the fracturedness of their existence, if you will. Many of the ills underserved communities face are living, layered and systemic. A more common sense results oriented approach would include very living, layered and systemic offerings also. Too many times help is extremely segmented.

One non-profit offers job training to a segment of the community that finds difficulty in finding sustainable employment. A church offers a food pantry. A make shift women’s shelter provides a respite for abuse victims. A beautician doubles as a counselor while the community store and neighborhood restaurant offers nourishment, sometimes through much needed credit allocations. And unfortunately, law enforcement and various financial lending institutions have become equally predatory on these same communities. Two of the largest documented dilemmas found within these solutions revolve around “acknowledgement.” The community demands acknowledgement of its sheer existence while many of those that attempt to provide aid beg for recognition for their work. Most books have “Acknowledgements,” a section dedicated to giving public recognition to those that contributed to the greatness that resulted in the book. Howard Zinn, in his classic account of America’s history told from the perspective of Native Americans, “A People’s History of the United States” stated, “It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country. …the very invisibility of women, the overlooking of women, is a sign of their submerged status.” He would later go on, in a chapter entitled, The Intimately Oppressed, to compare the biological uniqueness of women to skin color and facial characteristics for (Negroes) as a “basis for treating them as inferiors.”

“ON PAPER, Forward Cities is exactly what we need in Durham.” is the thought that repetitively bounced through my mind numerous times during the Durham, NC convening of the Forward Cities Initiative as I physically made my way through the convening’s programming December 9-11, 2015. This work had to establish a point of departure that reveled in the acknowledgement of the existence of the citizens of the community and their desires as well as their needs coupled with a multifaceted, diversely innovative collaborative panacea. This elixir would have to be ushered in through a paradoxical understanding by all involved; everyone is both part of the problem and should first accept blame for the state of these communities and that no one is worthy of credit for the resulting successes of the work they contribute. Panel after panel, symposiums, table gatherings, networking luncheons, dinner and informal discussions and confirmation plagued my mind. The Forward Cities Initiative IS exactly what we need in Durham. The opportunity to openly discuss, problem solve and contribute across state lines all to the benefit of the previously underserved selected communities in Durham, New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland is dynamic in every capacity that word offers us. And I met, discussed and debated person after person, to whom I would acclaim have done what Carter G. Woodson asked of us all in The Mis-education of the Negro: “abandoning the idea of leadership and instead taking up definite tasks and sacrificing their time and energy in doing things that might accomplish something.”

- Edward Boyd Jr

 

 

The Gift: HR 2930

Gerald Richardson - Tuesday, December 08, 2015

 

I’ve done a lot of research on minority-owned businesses because of the work we do atiNvictus Office Center with minority entrepreneurs. We have worked with a lot of minority entrepreneurs over the past five years. And through those experiences, one number stands out: Two thousand, nine hundred and thirty. That number should mean something. In fact, it should mean everything.

See, entrepreneurs are like economic artists. They carry with them the financial souls of our time. They have visions of creativity that they must bring forth into creation to share with the world. The backdrop of their art is capitalism. Their works will never land in a museum to be interpreted by history. They will either aid or detract from the United States gross domestic product. They will toil, suffer and be overjoyed with their work; many times simultaneously.

Our economy needs these artists. Innovation begs to be brought forth through their visions. Social and environmental change transitions to us through their works. Entrepreneurs, like all artists, are a necessity. They are the economic mirrors of our culture. They create ways for us to financially express ourselves. In economics, we’re taught that you can tell what is important to a society by the way it spends its monies.

Entrepreneurs being the cornerstone of capitalism, it makes sense that policies would be enacted to ensure their viability. Their necessity warrants our help. And so when post recession lending from mainstream financial institutions had all but ceased, Congress sent entrepreneurs a gift. Four numbers: 2930.

What was the gift and why exactly was it necessary?

Entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses were being overlooked by conventional lenders (local banks or venture capitalists, angel investors) and were having a hard time accessing credit in the marketplace. As a result, United States capital formation and entrepreneurs suffered. The gift was HR 2930, more commonly known as the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act.”

On November 3rd, 2011 HR 2930 passed the House. The Senate never passed it and eventually was rolled over to become part of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in March 2012. One April 5, 2012 President Barack Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. The impact goal of this law is that a new class of personal “investment” would be created. Many have long speculated that between $250 and $750 million would be invested from the various alternative investment platforms such as crowdfunding.

What is crowdfunding?

The basic idea is to raise money through relatively small contributions from a large number of people; combining the best of microfinance and crowdsourcing. Today in the United States, internet-based crowdfunding is utilized to raise millions of dollars for charitable organizations and non-profits. Other nations such as Great Britain, Hong Kong and the Netherlands already offer equity-based crowdfunding opportunities to investors and startups to spur capital formation.

The entrepreneurial community was estatic! Those four numbers, 2930, for entrepreneurs would be as significant as 1776 is for the country as a whole. The lofty expectations of the impact of the law loomed heavy. And for minority-owned firms, it felt more like impending relief toward the goal of combating the discriminatory barriers to funding that minority businesses face.

Capital Access Disparities

Minority-Owned Firms Are Less Likely To Receive Loans than Non-Minority Firms - Among firms with gross receipts under $500,000, 23 percent of non-minority firms received loans compared to 17 percent of minority firms. Among high sales firms (firms with annual gross receipts of $500,000 or more), 52 percent of non-minority firms received loans compared with 41 percent of minority firms.
Minority-Owned Firms Receive Lower Loan Amounts than Non-Minority Firms - The average loan amount for all high sales minority firms was $149,000. The non-minority average was more than twice this amount at $310,000. Conditioning on the percentage of firms receiving loans, the average loan received by high sales minority firms was $363,000 compared with $592,000 for non-minority firms.
Minority-Owned Firms Are More Likely To Be Denied Loans - Among firms with gross receipts under $500,000, loan denial rates for minority firms were about three times higher, at 42 percent, compared to those of non-minority-owned firms, 16 percent. For high sales firms, the rate of loan denial was almost twice as high for minority firms as for non-minority firms.
Minority- Owned Firms Pay Higher Interest Rates on Business Loans - For all firms, minority firms paid 7.8 percent on average for loans compared with 6.4 percent for non-minority firms. The difference was smaller, but still existed between minority and non-minority high sales firms.

The United States ethnic minorities made up close to $5 trillion of the country’s buying power. With such power, minority entrepreneurs are trusting that they can convert some of that buying power into minority business crowdfunding. They are expecting its capacity to enable minorities to “recycle” their monies back into their own communities.

Why such disparities in business funding? Over and over, from reputable sources, I have been told that the biggest problem is that minority-owned firms don’t create enough jobs that pay well and subsequently don’t increase their market’s tax base like majority culture owned companies. Then, I learn this:

Minority Businesses Create Jobs with Good Pay - The average payroll per employee was not substantially higher among non-minority employer firms compared to that of minority-owned firms. In 2002, payroll per employee was $29,842 for non-minority employer firms compared to about $26,000 for minority-owned firms, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Minority-owned firms are employing workers at similar wages as non-minority firms, and are the backbone of many minority communities across the nation.

Obviously, 2930 isn’t as important as $3,842, the miniscule difference in wage creation between minority-owned and non-minority-owned firms.

Edward R. Boyd, Jr.
Managing Partner, iNvictus Office Center, The HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship
www.iNvictusOffice.com
EBoyd@iNvictusOffice.com

Edward R. Boyd, Jr. is a native of Durham, NC and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. After graduating high school, he returned to the Triangle. Over the past 25 years, he has completed degrees and other formal educational programs in Religion, Philosophy, Tonsorial Science and a teacher's certification in middle grades social studies from Shaw University (Raleigh, NC), Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), Harris Barber College (Raleigh, NC) and North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC.) A serial and lifelong entrepreneur, Edward has also taught in public and charter schools and served in the nonprofit sector working with urban adolescents and focusing on national and neighborhood gang prevention, intervention and sustaining. He served as Area Director of Urban Younglife of Durham/Chapel Hill, NC and is co-founder of the Durham H.A.W.K.S. While still very active serving on boards and volunteering with organizations dedicated to lowering the prison recidivism rate, he currently serves as managing partner of iNvictus Office Center - A CoWorking Community Space highly regarded as the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship. iNvictus Office Center offers coworking, meeting, conference room and event space to the public and via month to month and annual memberships. Their mentor-based curriculum is the central focus of their service to the minority entrepreneurship community. Their work in this area has led to the sustainability of nearly two hundred minority owned businesses since 2010. Their success in this arena has quickly made them a giant in the field.


Global HACKATHON 2015

Gerald Richardson - Friday, September 25, 2015

Please Join us for the upcoming Global HACKATHON - Code for the Kingdon

Oct 2-4, 2015 at iNvictus Office Center.  Register at http://www.codeforthekingdom.com/

 

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Gerald Richardson - Friday, September 04, 2015

 

Master of My Fate

Gerald Richardson - Friday, September 04, 2015

iNvictus Office Center, the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship  

…”Out of the night that covers me,” describes the troubles of life. …spirits high, regardless of past misfortunes. Unknowing of what the future holds, yet unafraid and ready for life. Although uncontrollable adversities surely lie ahead, “I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE: I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL.” So, I thumbed across this definition of entrepreneurship while in B school. Well, not really. But,… yeah, kinda. See, the numbers are astonishing. More than 75% of venture capitalist backed firms don’t return investors’ capital. 80% of all businesses fail within the first 18 months. Minority (excluding Asians) firms close in 8-10 months. Yep, being an entrepreneur is difficult across the board. However, its even more difficult for minority owned businesses. Yet, while accounting for all of its traverses, the United States still exhibits the highest entrepreneurship rates among developed economies in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The United States is unusual in that it has both high levels of entrepreneurship and a high proportion of growth-oriented and innovative entrepreneurs. This underscores the importance of entrepreneurs in creating jobs and introducing creative ideas and breakthrough innovations that can boost economic growth and improve societal well-being. But, well, then there are the other numbers: More than one in ten workers in the United States are self-employed business owners. These 13 million business owners hold an amazing 37.4 percent of total U.S. wealth. Yet only 5.1 percent of African American workers and 7.5 percent of Latino workers own businesses compared with more than 11 percent of white and Asian workers. Herein lies the oxymoronic juxtaposition of entrepreneurship in America. New businesses are critical to creating more jobs: between 1993 to 2013, 63 percent of net new jobs created were the result of hiring by new businesses. However, low rates of business ownership among African Americans have persisted over the entire twentieth century, and recent trends indicate that racial disparities in business-ownership rates will not disappear in the near future. In essence, America needs entrepreneurship because of its ever-failing success. In the fell clutch of circumstance…

Again, entrepreneurship provides every proprietor its own vicissitudes. Minorities, however, approach business ownership with a more bloody head. Entrepreneurship, after all, is necessary. Turning to explanations for disparities in business outcomes, we find that racial differences in these factors are important. The relative lack of success among black-owned businesses has been attributed in part to owners who have less startup capital, disadvantaged family backgrounds, and less education. Conversely, the relative success of Asian American-owned businesses in the United Sates has been reported to be mainly due to their relatively high levels of startup capital and owner’s education. It has been argued that some disadvantaged groups facing discrimination or blocked opportunities in the wage and salary sector—such as Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, Italian, and Greek immigrants—have used business ownership as a source of economic advancement. More recently, the economic mobility of Koreans has been linked to business ownership. …and yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid.

An enabling minority entrepreneurship ecosystem can facilitate minority entrepreneurs’ efforts, but they likely must operate despite some barriers and beyond the wrath and tears or become deterred by them. Policies or conditions that create disincentives for the minority business owners to scale or hire more employees or that place constraints on the creation or commercialization of innovations at any point in the process can be examined for solutions that can enable minority business owners to realize their aspirations. A multitude of sources will point the finger at the solutions to equality in entrepreneurship across demographics as a necessary three pronged approach: access to capital (minority-owned businesses are three times as likely to be denied loans as are comparable businesses,) access to business networks (expand access to business networks for minority entrepreneurs) and access to skill development (more industry specific continuing education.)

For our members at iNvictus Office Center, the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship, we serve to level the entrepreneurial playing field. Through our one-on-one entrepreneurial mentoring curriculum that encompasses entrepreneurship education, support, mentoring and technical assistance, we teach that minority business development is a staple to U.S. economic development. Additionally, minority businesses must diversify or expand their businesses to provide more value-added products and services. Their goals must be to grow their businesses beyond the “sole proprietorship” model and fully access and deploy the capabilities of the financial markets for greater minority business development. Lastly, they must expand the use of mergers, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships because their businesses more often than not affect the disenfranchised American citizens the most. Minority firms in the United States hire more than 4.7 million employees, a disproportionate share of them minorities and many of these jobs are located in disadvantaged communities.

Edward R. Boyd, Jr 
Managing Partner 
iNvictus Office Center 
www.iNvictusOffice.com 
601 Fayetteville St Suite 300 
Durham, NC 27701








  

iNvictus Office Center, the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship

Gerald Richardson - Wednesday, July 29, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2015

Media Contact: Joe Biggs, jbiggs@invictusoffice.com

Invictus Office Center, the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship

Joe Biggs, community manager and one of the managing partners gave a recent interview for Invictus Office Center, A Coworking Community Space.

It has been about a month since the grand opening, how are things coming along?

Things have been great. Since our grand opening on June 30th, we have been quickly accepted into the community. We’ve definitely been gaining momentum here in Durham. Invictus is fulfilling a need that the community has been lacking. One of the mottos that we have is ‘Changing the way you work, because the way you work has changed’. This illustrates how quickly coworking has been accepted in today’s society. Gone are the days of working in a traditional office setting. In addition, small business owners no longer have to work in coffee shops or be isolated working at home. Coworking spaces and the collaborative, connective environment they create has become more and more important from both a social and professional standpoint. There are days that I walk into the center and am amazed of the diversity of businesses, meetups and networking that occurs here. What other place would you find a lawyer sitting next to an artist and providing legal advice while an IT professional is setting up a meetup event and a realtor giving a home buying seminar in one of the conference rooms? Incredible and exciting.

The Triangle Business Journal did a short article on Invictus and one of the aspects they wrote on was that the owners of the office center being all minorities. Could you elaborate?

What sets us apart from other coworking spaces is that Invictus was created for the community. We strongly believe in Durham and all eight founders are contributing members. We are businessmen, educators, and fathers. As far as I’m aware, we are the only locally and minority owned coworking space in North Carolina and perhaps the United States. We launch Invictus Office Center to foster the entrepreneurship talent already growing in Durham. Durham is full of entrepreneurs and visionaries and Invictus will be their launch pad. Additionally, one of our initiatives is for Invictus Office Center to be the hub of minority entrepreneurs.

Invictus Office Center is the hub of minority entrepreneurship. That is a bold concept and statement.

Yes, that is correct. Unfortunately, a large number of minority owned businesses do not survive past the first couple of years or they do not enjoy the level of success their counterparts may experience in the same industry. It is not because minority entrepreneurs lack the drive or passion to be successful. They may have the perfect product or provide the best service but in most case, they do not have the support or knowledge necessary to prosper. In addition to having access to the office center with its amenities and networking, each Invictus member will have the opportunity to receive business guidance and mentoring. Through partnerships we cultivated with other community-based organizations, Invictus members will have access to mentoring to gain the critical business acumen, knowledge and strategy development to help them grow and be successful. We ourselves are minority entrepreneurs with strong ties in Durham and the community. This along with other enterprises we are pursuing for our members will strengthen our position that Invictus Office Center is the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship.

Located at 601 Fayetteville Street in Durham, with over 6,000 square feet, Invictus Office Center, A Coworking Community Space offers an open area for coworking with private phone booths, a café lounge, high quality printers, 3x meeting rooms, 2x large conference rooms, private offices, and dedicated desk spaces.

For more information, please visit www.invictusoffice.com

Press Release

Gerald Richardson - Monday, June 29, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 29, 2015

Media Contact: Joe Biggs, jbiggs@invictusoffice.com

Invictus Office Center, a new coworking space opening in Durham

Invictus Office Center provides work place solutions for freelancers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and business professionals.

Whether you are looking for a welcoming coworking space to set up shop with other motivated members, a place to launch the next big idea or American Dream, or a convenient place to meet with clients, Invictus Office Center has the solution for you.

Invictus Office Center offers its members a comfortable work environment with fast internet access, connectivity, and power at an all-inclusive price. Members also have access to meeting rooms, high quality printers, and a fully functional café located on site with light snacks, assorted beverages, and premium coffee. Conveniently located in Durham off HWY-147 with easy access to downtown and Research Triangle Park.

With over 6,000 square feet, Invictus Office Center offers an open area for coworking with private phone booths, a café lounge, 3x meeting rooms, 2x large conference rooms, private offices, and dedicated desk spaces.

Gone are the days of working in a traditional office setting, where cubicles separate colleagues and the only social interactions occur around the water cooler. The rise in coworking spaces have left more people yearning for work environments that are collaborative, inspiring, and stimulating. Coworking has witnessed a significant resurgence over the past few years with the increase of the contingent workers – professionals who work independently as freelancers.

Individuals have become more flexible and creative with their professions. They are starting businesses and creating jobs for themselves. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers or independent contractors, making up about 40% of the workforce. Concurrently, workspaces are sprouting around the country in order to accommodate the growing number of nomadic workers.

“As the American workforce trends toward independent contracting, freelance, and temping, coworking spaces and the collaborative, connective environments they create become more and more important – from both a social and professional standpoint,” said Joe Biggs, one of eight founders of Invictus Office Center. “No longer the exception, coworking spaces will be the rule.”

“Coworking spaces are melting pots of creativity,” added Biggs. “They generate a level of synergy that results from the proximity and collaboration of like-minded people. New relationships are developed. Ideas are challenged. Problems are solved.”

Today, coworking comes with benefits beyond just wifi and free coffee. Professional, personal, and social gains come as added bonuses that are more advantageous than working in a coffee shop or at home. These environments are not only stimulating, inspiring, and fun, but also lead to new business development and collaborations, as well as increased levels of productivity and income as a result of being part of an expanding business network.

“What sets us apart from other coworking spaces is that Invictus was created for the community. We strongly believe in Durham and all eight founders are contributing members,” said Biggs, “We are businessmen, educators, and fathers and we launch Invictus Office Center to foster the entrepreneurship talent already growing in Durham. Durham is full of talented freelancers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries and Invictus will be their launch pad.”

Located at 601 Fayetteville Street in Durham, Invictus Office Center’s Grand Opening is on Tuesday, June 30th at 5:30pm, sponsored by the Durham Chamber of Commerce and catered by Bull City Pitt Masters.

For more information, please visit www.invictusoffice.com