THE HIVE News:
We would like to invite the community to join us at the County Council meeting beginning at 7 p.m., Tuesday in the Community Building.
The Council has been presented with a petition for an immediate $36,000 grant to sustain operations of The Hive through February of next year and to request that the Council direct County staff to work with The Hive in developing an expanded grant application.
This short paper addresses the most efficient and direct way that the County can promote REAL and SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT in Los Alamos County.
The Hive is an INDEPENDENT facility for all generations to pursue business and creative opportunities. It is open to everyone, young, old and in between. At the Hive, anyone can find his or her starting place for achieving economic success. The quest is facilitated through community, networking, experience, mentoring, and the availability of work space and tools for bringing valuable ideas and products to the market.
The VALUE of The Hive is that the little guy has an opportunityto achieve success. In turn, these successes can markedly contribute to economic development in Los Alamos. The Hive is open to everyone without a long term commitment, which effectively lowers the bar for start-ups.
High tech, low tech, no tech – it doesn’t matter. What matters is giving the people of Los Alamos the opportunity for home-grown success.
The Hive is a facility that supports entrepreneurship in Los Alamos County. It is available to individuals, groups, and organizations and is focused on low cost or no cost business development and community projects. It is in existence to help members of the community run the gauntlet of start-up business activities.
The Hive opened its doors Dec. 7, 2011, the brain child of Katie Korkos and Kevin Holsapple and with the support of LACDC, The High Mesa Institutes, LANB, Cottonwood Technology Group and TRK Management. That same day, The Hive welcomed its first member. Subsequently, it quickly found success in its mission. I’ll touch on 10 examples from this year.
1. Carol Clark started the Los Alamos Daily Post at the Hive. While it is her creation and her success, The Hive looks at Carol as a great example of what is possible.
2. Shortly thereafter, The Hive facilitated the formal organization of the Los Alamos Entrepreneurs’ Network (LAEN), which brought in special programs of interest and opportunities for existing and would be entrepreneurs. Andy Andrews was elected President of LAEN.
3. Concurrently with the emergence of LAEN, the Thursday Brown-Bag networking lunch began each week at The Hive. While informal, discussions and presentations have covered many diverse topics including acupuncture, prosthetic movie makeup, economic development, solar methane reforming, and 3D modeling, to name a few.
4. A successful apprenticeship occurred where a member of the older generation coached and passed knowledge to a member of a younger generation in the area of computer technology.
5. An effort is underway to help an inventor reduce a very high tech patent to practical devices that just might revolutionize certain detection fields.
6. An economic feasibility study was conducted of solar driven conversion of methane to methanol.
7. An economic feasibility study was conducted for a network marketing campaign to promote a product based on coconut oil.
8. We are working with the inventor of a wheelchair for disabled pets and are looking into the use of crowd funding to generate startup revenues for that venture.
9. Work is underway, by a member, on a solar system to produce clean water from non-potable water.
10. A local playwright uses The Hive for writing and for rehearsals.
As you can see, these examples cover the spectrum of high tech, low tech, no tech. We have welcomed more than 250 visitors to The Hive and have helped many of them with interpersonal networking, training, business and technical advice, and facilities and tools to support turning their ideas into reality. This sample represents only a small portion of the myriad activities taking place at The Hive.
While we can point to successes and contributions, we have learned some important lessons:
1. We do not have the right mix of equipment to meet the needs of the community.
2. The layout of the Hive needs to be more appropriate to its functions. For example, while The Hive has supported open workspace, private work spaces are badly needed.
3. We need to do a better job of informing the community about the availability and capabilities of The Hive.
Plan for the future
So where do we go from here? What is the plan for the future? And why have we submitted this petition?
1. The Hive needs $36,000 to keep its doors open through February. This grant is requested to provide the time needed to prepare a detailed grant request for your future consideration.
2. In most economic endeavors, growth follows an “S” curve. Growth is initially slow and then reaches an “elbow” where growth picks up dramatically. With The Hive, we believe membership will soon reach a “critical mass”, or a snowball effect, due to symbiotic relationships between the members.
3. With your help and the help of the County staff, we will return with an expanded grant request that will permit the County to truly support economic development through support of home-grown business startups without the need for capital projects and with modest investment.
The Hive is at a cross road. With your help we can continue to move home-grown economic development forward in the County. Without your help The Hive will be another vacant building in White Rock. Your support is requested on behalf of the many Los Alamos residents, including our youth, who want to learn and develop their ideas into reality as Los Alamos businesses.