How Providing Collaborative Spaces is Growing Opportunities for Minority Business Owners

After almost two decades working in human resources, Denise Ransom was ready for a change, so she began the challenging journey to build a new career and a life full of purpose.

A meeting with a life coach inspired her to start her own life and career coaching business and she hasn't looked back. As a woman and minority business owner, however, she's been in search of an inclusive co-working space where she can collaborate with like-minded women and other minority business owners.

"Having a place to be able to network, connect, share, and build with other business owners and professionals is critical to the success of my business," said Ransom.

Earlier this month, she found that space when the Tabor Economic Development Hub officialy opened in Tukwila, Wash. The facility is designed to be a place where women and minority entrepreneurs and businesses can centrally access multiple business and support resources, rent affordable office space, attend workshops and meet prospective clients.

Below, Ransom talks to us about starting her business, the challenges minority business owners face and how the Hub will be a vital resource for her going forward.

Denise Ransom (left) with Vulcan Inc's Pearl Leung at the grand opening of the TED Hub.

Tell us about yourself and your business

After living for 24 years in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, and most recently, Washington D.C., I am grateful to be back home in Seattle, although it has changed dramatically. Upon my return three years ago, I was ready to make a move away from my 19-year career within human resources and start following my dreams and passions. Not sure of the path, I hired a life coach who then and still does provide me with the support and tools I need to live a purpose-filled life. This life-changing experience is what inspired me to start my own business.

Denise Ransom LLC provides life & career coaching to those with a desire to achieve something more in their personal or professional life. It is a collaborative approach to help clients have greater fulfillment, create plans, and overcome obstacles that may be in their way for both men and women.

As part of living my life on purpose, community involvement is of the utmost importance to me, particularly around equity, access, participation, and rights. I am a board member with the Alliance for a Healthy Washington, a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization for health care system reform in Washington State. I provide career coaching to women who are experiencing homelessness and am active in criminal justice reform.

Grand Opening of the Tabor Economic Development Hub

How will the Tabor Economic Development (TED) Hub be a game changer for your business?

Being an entrepreneur, although very rewarding, there are many obstacles and struggles I face. Having a place to be able to network, connect, share, and build with other business owners and professionals is critical to the success of my business. Mostly working from home, it is nice to have a place where I can utilize a variety of spaces as my needs change and evolve.

What services or features are you most excited to take advantage of in the Hub?

I am super excited to be able to utilize the classroom space to hold and attend workshops, take advantage of the enclosed offices for client sessions, and enjoy the energy of the open desk space for that needed motivation and those serendipitous encounters. Free and ample parking is amazing!

Before the Tabor Economic Development Hub, what obstacles did your business face when it came to finding spaces and other support resources?

Since my return to Seattle, I have been in search of a co-working space where I can collaborate and connect with others to enhance my personal and professional growth with other like-minded individuals. To feel comfortable and be in an inclusive setting has been extremely important as well. People of Color are used to navigating spaces that aren't about or created for or by us, so to have a place, especially in the Seattle area, where you feel welcomed, can be vulnerable, and authentically who you are, the TED Hub is a much needed breath of fresh air for the South King County area.

Why is it important that cities have minority-focused spaces like this for small businesses?

Cities can only benefit from more spaces that are minority-focused. With the well-known realities of gentrification as well as the fact that traditional pathways to entrepreneurship don't always apply to People of Color, having more of these places to connect can only benefit our communities. It allows us all to grow, get the support needed so we can make full contributions to society, all while creating a better world we all know is possible.

Vulcan Inc. has partnered with Tabor 100, the organization responsible for the Tabor Economic Development Hub, for the past eight years and is the first private funder of the Hub.