Trailblazer stokes female entrepreneurship with BA coworking haven
(BROKEN ARROW, Okla.) For more than two years, flames of female entrepreneurship have been building in Tulsa’s biggest suburb. The match? Coworking Bravely, right off Main Street.
Owner and founder Sarah Aschkenas says when she landed a job at a non-profit in California, she found herself working a remote job for the first time.
She was also a new mom to a six-month old and needed some boundaries.
“As women entrepreneurs, we carry a lot of different hats, and a lot of times we're in a lot of different places,” Aschkenas said. “Whether it's in our home life plus our work life, possibly taking care of children. And there's just a lot more pieces of the puzzle that impact our business, so we don't have as much separation between our businesses and our home lives.”
And so, the journey to Coworking Bravely began.
Feminine aesthetic. Female-focused educational programming. And through it all, Aschkenas said, a haven created for women to thrive in peace.
“Whether it was other co-working situations or just out in the corporate world, that they would always feel that kind of water cooler talk change once the men left,” Aschkenas said, “Suddenly the conversations completely shifted, and they have actually kind of mentioned that here. That it's kind of nice to just always kind of be in that zone and you don't always have to be flipping the script back and forth.”
While a space specifically for female entrepreneurs may seem extreme to some, research into the realities of corporate America backs up the need for it.
In the recently published study “Women in the Workplace 2021”, researchers found women have gained more leadership representation since the pandemic hit but are facing more burnout than men. Despite great strides in team support and allyship, a lot of their work is going unrecognized and unrewarded. The study also showed women of color continue to have a worse experience at work.
VNN did its own investigation into “mompreneurs” earlier this year. Moms we talked to told us being part of a community of women who are also balancing work and home elevated their success and mental well-being.
Aschkenas told us she has been pleasantly surprised by the variety of women at Coworking Bravely, far-flung from the remote worker and business to business service providers she was expecting.
“And what I found is, with our growth, it's been ladies doing all kinds of things,” Aschkenas said. “We have those industries, but then we have ladies that come in here to write because they’re authors. We have ladies coming in here who are students getting their bachelors or their masters and they just need a place to come study. We have ladies that have even have offices in other parts of town but have different reasons for wanting a presence down here in Broken Arrow.”
Aschkenas said she believes entrepreneurship is getting to a point where it doesn’t seem as out of the box and is more within reach. And being so close to Main Street Broken Arrow is a definite help.
“Our Main Street is still a majority of small business owners, a lot of them are female owners down here,” Aschkenas said. “It's been a very great community to be a part of because the city supported businesses being able to run and do the things that they need to do to run, but also the city has been investing into the infrastructure that's needed for businesses to flourish. So, Main Street is an example of this.”
She said the work the city is doing in New Orleans Square is another example.
“Broken Arrow has seen the importance of small businesses, and that there is an importance to not just focus on these bigger industries and bigger companies, but what the small businesses can do for the city,” Aschkenas said. “It takes the private sector; it takes everybody really working together.”
Aschkenas is hopeful the city will provide more resources and programming specific to entrepreneurs and startups moving forward.
“Not only is the infrastructure there, but there's a lot of entrepreneurs and women specifically who are kind of hungry for that information,” Aschkenas said. “And if somebody could kind of give them a road map of sorts to get going and feel supported in the getting going, that could be really successful.”
Coworking Bravely is located at 114 W. Commercial Street in Broken Arrow.
Memberships are available on a monthly and semi-annual basis. Day passes and office rentals are also available a la carte.
For more information, visit https://www.coworkingbravely.com
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