Something new is coming to downtown Bradenton this fall, and its impact could be far-reaching for our economy and community. It’s called Connect Bradenton. Locals will know it as Connect!, and it’s located at 600 Old Main St. in the former Bank of America retail branch on first floor.
Imagine an environment where startups, mobile entrepreneurs and millennial freelancers can work in an environment that suits their personal style.
If an open, stimulating and collaborative workspace appeals to you, Connect! has it. Looking for a private and quiet office where you can focus? Connect! has that, too. Need a meeting room for brainstorming or a casual lounge area where you can put your feet up while coding? No problem.
Co-work spaces are becoming prevalent, and at the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp., we couldn’t be happier to see one of this caliber in downtown Bradenton.
But, there is even more to celebrate.
For the first time in the city of Bradenton’s history, higher education will become part of the downtown landscape. State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will have a presence at Connect! this year.
The institutions will provide information on relevant programs, coursework and services to Connect! clients. Manatee County residents living near downtown will be able to drop in or schedule conversations with the institutions’ representatives.
This is an important seed to sow for our local economy as we work to nurture talent, innovation and entrepreneurial ventures.
The flexible workspace at Connect! responds to several needs, such as:
- Big companies are downsizing regional offices and offering remote employment arrangements where valuable employees can work from home offices. But these remote workers need to connect with their customers and community. Home offices are not always productive.
- Established independents often can work better in the marketplace and don’t require a full-time office.
- Professional services providers such as attorneys, accountants and financial advisers need a place to meet with clients, but don’t need a fixed office.
- Startups and entrepreneurs need a place to meet and trade new ideas.
- Young professionals who are freelancing often desire a more communal and collaborative work environment with a social aspect.
The high quality of the space, technology infrastructure, professional environment and higher education presence create an exciting foundation for innovation and talent to flourish. We’ve been talking with Connect!’s founder, Bernie Croghan, about a wide range of programs – from live music to lifelong learning – that will inspire creativity and community.
Croghan is planning a grand opening this fall, with details to follow. You can learn more about the space and upcoming special events at connectbradenton.com.
Welcome to downtown Bradenton, Connect! This is only the beginning. We’re excited to see what’s next.