Lead Story Local News Making a Difference West Edition

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: New network helps entrepreneurs make room for success

INGLEWOOD — Rashunda Rene needed an affordable business space in a crowded city to do her work without interruption. 

“As an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to rent a office. You just need a place to work that’s still a professional environment,” Rene said.

Instead of searching for a solution, she chose to create one.

This month marked the opening of the Innovative Entrepreneurs Hub, a collaborative community and workspace at 5777 W. Century Blvd. for freelancers and entrepreneurs to work on ideas, host events and build a network.

The workshops provided by the Innovative Entrepreneurs Hub vary from marketing and branding a business to government contracting.

The Innovative Entrepreneurs Hub offers open desk areas, conference rooms, private offices, valet parking and a kitchen space. The facility also hosts networking events and reoccurring workshops facilitated by professionals who teach in their expertise.

Members pay monthly depending on how many days they will utilize the facility. The Builder, Elite, Core and Focus memberships cost $99, $199, $375 and $540 per month, respectively. Day passes are available for $30 a day; workshop prices vary. 

Rene, founder of the Innovative Entrepreneurs Hub, is building a community that relies on the space — and on each other — to thrive.

“If you’re doing it at home, who can you talk to about these ideas? You can’t get that immediate feedback,” Rene said. “No one knows if you’re being held accountable. It is important to know you have that support, that you’re not by yourself.”

Rene, 40, was born and raised in Compton and spent 15 years in corporate America working in finance departments for major corporations.

Feeling unfulfilled in the private sector, Rene wanted to do something else, something more service oriented.

In 2011, she started CUSP, or Committed to Uplifting Single Parents, a nonprofit organization created to help single parents with social services, personal development and financial literacy.

“I started to learn about entrepreneurship, honing my skills and doing more research,” she said. “Eventually, I just started moving away from the nonprofit world, and thought maybe there is something more I can do.”

Rene became a certified life coach and began coaching and business consulting. As her network grew, she realized her peers had one problem in common: a reliable workspace.

“Being in a space where the folks look like me, they understand the struggle I’m going through. … It’s really important for us to feel that support,” she said.

Rene knows the grind of being an entrepreneur and wants to help her peers avoid those same struggles.

“Sometimes we just fall into entrepreneurship to make more money. We’re so creative, we have so many ideas but we don’t know how to execute and package those ideas,” Rene said.

She wants freelancers, entrepreneurs and businesspeople to have the mentors and connections they need — and most importantly, the space to do it all. 

“We want people to look each other in the eye and say, can you help me start a business?” Rene said. “Let’s protect you, your home and your assets so your business is set up properly.”

Members who utilize the hub’s service say it’s a steady place to work and network.

“I throw multiple events a year and finding a space is very challenging,” said Zaneta Smith, associate director of the California Policy & Research Initiative and founder of Kolor Society, a members-only social club for people from the African Diaspora. “As an entrepreneur and freelancer, it’s important to have a space where I can go and share resources and tools with other people.”

“I think if you’re an entrepreneur, or you have a side hustle, then this is a really good space for you.”

By Michael Livingston

Contributing Writer