(Photo via Congressman John Carney's Facebook page)
Each year, Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) takes a trip to Silicon Valley with a group of Democrats to scope out what’s new and innovative. During their last trip, the group visited San Francisco’s Hattery, a cool, laid-back workspace for entrepreneurs.
“We walked into the Hattery and I thought, we’ve got this in Wilmington, Delaware,” Carney said. “Delaware needed to create more of an entrepreneurial climate and this (The Loft) is part of that.”
On Wednesday, Carney visited the coworking space during its “doughnuts and demos” event, a regular, members-only gathering, which provides the opportunity for members to mingle, meet and share progress and updates.
About two dozen members who rent space at The Loft — from creative designers and photographers to interior designers, app developers and a satirist — attended the event.
Each member was offered the opportunity to speak with the congressman and present their work to the group in five minutes.
• Rory Laitila, who started the doughnuts and demos event, presented first and updated the group about his “anti-project management” project management software.
• Bob Hirschfeld, a satirist, discussed his new political lampooning videos that will hit YouTube this September.
• Nick Matarese, president and creative director of The Barn, presented some of his new logos and branding work, including designs for Disney and Kauffman Gas.
• Sarah Zero of Jackalope Heart discussed her recent success in planning the Strawberry Moonlight Dinner, an event that brought together local photographers, chefs and creatives. The event was featured on wedding blog Style Me Pretty. The Twilight Peach Dinner will be held Aug. 14.
• Katie O’Hara of Katie O’Hara Design discussed the new spaces she’s designing both locally and across the region.
• Greg Star and Mac Nagaswami of Carvertise, a business that pays everyday car motorists to drive around Delaware with an advertisement on their car, updated the group on how they are using metrics to track where and when the advertisements are hitting customers.
• MJ Livingston spoke about her goal of spreading financial literacy, through a fun app or online game, to the youth and young adults across the state.
• Jay Greene, who operates his own architectural photography business in the co-working space, told Carney how The Loft has improved his business. He spoke about how the shifting economy in Delaware has paved the way for real estate developers to get back to building homes.
• John Meyer and James Dalessio of Foolhardy Softworks spoke about an app they’re developing to connect people through chat, locally.
• Stephen Webb of ZZHouse Design told the group about his progress with the business.
After members wrapped up presentations, Carney fielded questions from the group.
A few members expressed concern over difficulties in getting a startup off the ground in Delaware. Some also added that many smaller organizations and startups are not celebrated like the big scientific and tech giants in the state, which often get more attention.
“This loft is giving a boost to everyone,” said Muni’s John Kirk. “We support and bounce ideas off each other. This is the model. I don’t see enough recognition of what’s happening here.”
Carney said he sees the value in having creative coworking spaces across the state.
“It’s really exciting that the entrepreneurial sector of our economy is growing. So much has been happening here,” Carney said. “We’d like to move beyond the corporate culture, but it’s still important. But it’s also important to have this.”-30-
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