GCU grad launches Jumpstart business accelerator
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
A west Phoenix collaborative business workspace founded by an entrepreneurial Grand Canyon University graduate officially opened its doors on Wednesday.
Jumpstart, a business accelerator located at a 10,000-square-foot commercial site south of campus, is designed as a shared workspace for small businesses that value “co-working with a conscience.”
Recent GCU graduate Sam Macias said he designed Jumpstart as a way for Canyon Corridor churches, nonprofits, business leaders and entrepreneurs to collaborate on the revitalization of neighborhoods west of Interstate 17 in central Phoenix. The space, at 2802 N. 37th Ave., includes rentable private offices and common conference rooms within a stone’s throw from each other, keeping that collaboration as intimate as possible.
The idea, Macias said, is to provide members with quick answers to their business development questions by encouraging them to lean on each other — and each other’s professional networks — to grow and learn new skills.
“Instead of it being an office where we’re in the same building but operating in silos, we’re very intentional about understanding what the other person does,” said Macias, 36, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from GCU in April.
Wednesday’s event at Jumpstart included City of Phoenix officials and community leaders who have worked with Macias on other west-side projects.
Macias’ community service experience is extensive. He has served in various leadership roles and volunteer positions in efforts to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods around GCU.
Jumpstart’s early client members include a small construction firm that is in the midst of renovating a home for a disabled military veteran and a sole-proprietor business consulting company whose owner splits her time between Phoenix and Michigan. Both types of companies benefit from the affordability and flexibility of a shared workspace, because they have little need for a full-scale storefront office or the heavy overhead costs associated with operating that type of space.
Jumpstart monthly membership costs range from $55 to $375 per month. Premium office space also is available.
Macias, who spent the better part of his final undergraduate year at GCU building Jumpstart, said he is focused now on sharing the economic-development potential of his business with west Phoenix-based business owners and entrepreneurs.
Also, faith and community tend to unify those who gravitate to Jumpstart.
Ruben Hernandez said his Maryvale Abundant Life Center church secured a place at Jumpstart to grow its community service arm, “Maryvale Cre8s,” an urban art project for west Phoenix youth.
“We saw it sort of as a necessity for us,” said Hernandez, who serves as Abundant Life’s community initiatives director.
“We’ve been meeting all types of people, and it got overwhelming working from our kitchen table,” Hernandez said. “But we couldn’t’ afford a $1,000-a-month type of thing.”
Now his team has an office and access to a conference room, plus the ability to bounce ideas off others who share the Jumpstart space.
“It’s affordable, and it’s also an open work area,” he said. “So if you need help, you have help right around the corner. There’s a lot of potential in this building.”
Macias, who lived in west Phoenix as a child, said that his capstone project toward the end of his GCU degree helped him recognize that Jumpstart ought to be his professional focus after graduation.
Co-working spaces exist elsewhere in metropolitan Phoenix and have mushroomed through other U.S. metro areas. But Macias understood the community around GCU would have an appetite for a shared workspace dedicated to responsible business development that could someday have a manifold effect in many of the long-stigmatized neighborhoods in the area.
“That’s my heart, the community side of things, and being aware of our social impact with job creation,” Macias said.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 602.639.7030 or [email protected].