The Black-owned business group is facing unexpected additional costs associated with rehabilitating the former strip mall space.
Nationwide — The Mississippi Gulf Coast Black-owned business group (MSGCBOB) is reaching out for help in completing the rehabilitation of an empty strip mall space into a co-working space for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Organizers of the GoFundMe page say that they were in the middle of moving forward with the initiative using their own resources as well as those donated by the building owner to rehab the 9,000-square-foot-space. However, a recent inspection revealed the unexpected and unbudgeted need to replace the entire sprinkler system at an estimated cost of $50,000. The building owner has agreed to supply additional financial resources, but MSGCBOB organizers must also identify additional funding to support the sprinkler replacement as well.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the building owner in supporting us in this effort,” said Alexis William, founder of the online community of Black business owners and supporters. “We went in knowing that it would need some rehabbing, but this was not a cost we had anticipated. As is often the case for us, we rarely get opportunities where everything is perfect. We always have to come from behind and work hard to make up for a lack of resources, especially financial ones. But BIG dreams always require heavy lifting and we believe that our dream of seeing this reach fruition is worth fighting for. So, we are asking for the public’s help because we know there are others out there who believe in efforts like this that can positively impact the entire community.”
Williams said the co-working space is needed to generate resources that can be used to help budding entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow and improve so they can support generational wealth building. While many budding businesses have the ability to side-hustle and create more income, they rarely have the finances to support an office space or somewhere they can get their business mail, meet clients and collaborate. COVID-19 made that even more difficult. The co-working space, she said will provide a professional safe space for businesses that also supports growth, learning, and sustainability. The facility will have conference rooms, a place to record podcasts, space to hold business trainings, and more. It will be an inclusive space for us to grow, learn and positively impact our communities by expanding financial opportunities and promoting economic empowerment.
“We always have these great ideas and plans, but we never had a physical place that is affordable and accessible for us to make them a reality,” Williams said. “We are determined to change that no matter how hard it is.”