By Paula Diaz
Beto Pallares and Robert Herrera, both successful businessmen and world travelers, saw that the El Paso Borderland lacked an innovative, sleek office workplace for work-at-home professionals, freelancers, contractors, entrepreneurs, those that are tech based and the like.
Their solution was CoWork Oasis, a communal space in Downtown El Paso where not only can one work with state-of-the art technology and setting, but a facility where people network, learn from one another, hear ideas and tips from professionals, attend workshops, take educational courses, uncover development tools and discover affiliated investors.
“CoWork Oasis’ premise is that the way work people innovate and interact is changing very rapidly,” Pallares said. “It’s a mix of many trends and the best practices of these trends. Nobody has what we have. It’s a unique space.”
He is right. They have created a flexible, accessible biz culture for people who work independently, travel frequently, share the same values, are interested in being around creative people and, even, might feel isolated working from home. Plus, they are providing a set of tools, mentors and access to capital that will enable them to compete on a global basis.
“We asked ourselves how do we create a space where people can invest their own time and start thinking globally about their ideas.” Pallares said. “It’s the kind of thinking we need here. We want El Paso to become a premier destination for entrepreneurs, tech innovators and investors.”
El Paso is tied between three states and two countries with strong trade and education links. It is also multicultural and largely bilingual. It is perfect for a venture such as CoWork Oasis, Pallares said.
The idea of “coworking” isn’t new. It originally started in San Francisco. Called Citizen Space, it was created to help technology workers, but it also was open to others, according to CoWork Oasis. Now, it exists worldwide with more than 900 locations in the United States. One of the most successful is WeWork in New York City, which is valued at $16 billion.
During the last few years, studies have shown the number of coworking spaces and available seats have doubled almost every year, a CoWork Oasis pamphlets said.
The El Paso location is an open-area environment with a section that has dedicated desk seating, and private offices for larger teams.
“We want all our members to be active in the community and contribute rather than be isolated in a private office, thus the open seating arrangement within the desk area and no custom offices based on square footage or team size,” the brochure said.
The partners aren’t just targeting adults. They have opened it up to junior and high school students for weekend coding academies.
Examples like these show CoWork Oasis is perfect for forward thinking people interested in doing business in an unconventional way. For example, the facility is open every Tuesday, so people can see how it operates. There are also events, both public and private, geared toward helping those who use the facility to help grow their business or allow them to learn more about today’s economic ventures.
Since the El Paso region has hundreds of crafters and small entrepreneurs, Pallares and Herrera also are helping local and regional folks get their goods online. It’s called Brandselpaso. There are many people in the area that have incredible products, but they do not know how to expand their business to the web, he said.
Luke Widas and a business partner recently started a digital marketing agency, called Digital Empire. He is a member of CoWork Oasis. For months, the agency, which is described as nomadic, worked out of Widas home or at coffee shops. The decision was made to find a cowork place and they attended CoWork Oasis’s grand opening this summer. They fell in love with the concept immediately.
“It was so forward thinking,” Widas said. “It was exactly what we were looking for. It’s a great environment. People are there to work and actually achieve something. I get advice from other people. If I have questions or a problem, I can always find someone there to help me.”
He goes about four times a week and attends events. He has seen entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors and venture capitalist and get funded.
“I learn something all the time,” Widas said. “CoWork Oasis is something I have always wanted in El Paso. I think it always should have existed and now it does. They are doing a great job.”
About the CoWork Oasis
The CoWork Oasis, located at 114 Texas Ave., is an amazing idea that has El Paso buzzing. It’s already welcomed many, many people from reporters to tech businesses.cabinets and
trash bin per desk.