In an effort to differentiate itself in what seems to be becoming a saturated market, co-working lab and small business incubator HQ Auburn is focusing its programming initiatives around supporting black-owned small and micro-businesses.

Offering various membership packages and amenities in a conveniently located space in downtown Atlanta on historic Auburn Avenue, the lab provides members with 24-hour access, complimentary WiFi and a number of administrative support services. The lab also boasts an affordable drop-in rate for non-members, as well as offers reasonable rates for hosting workshops, seminars and other intimate events.

“We want to focus our efforts totally on the support, development, and education of small businesses and entrepreneurs,” explained Shawn Crawford, the lab’s general manager and co-owner. “We don’t really see anyone currently in the market dedicated to creating a space for black businesses centered around people of color in the technology and creative industries.  Yes, there are a lot of initiatives, but we want to be known as a consistent hub that black creatives can go to tap into their community.”

Located on the 200th block of Auburn Avenue, HQ Auburn rests at the corner of Auburn and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive just across from historic Big Bethel AME Church. The cozy, comfortable and chic space welcomes ample amounts of natural light and offers members a view of the action of the street traffic.

For those who enjoy urban scenery with a touch of serenity while working and networking, one can expect to be absorbed in Auburn Avenue life as they have options to work, eat and play all in the same area.

With the popularity of co-working spaces all over the city, HQ Auburn stands out due to its affordable rates, virtual address option, historic location, and its welcoming community. The owners do not want to stop building with HQ. 

Crawford said his primary goal is to bring an entrepreneurial renaissance to the area, starting with the vision set forth for HQ and the community of collaborating entrepreneurs already bought into the vision.

“We want to help start and grow one-hundred businesses by the year 2020, many of which we hope will occupy presently vacant Auburn Avenue spaces,” Crawford explained.  “It is a very ambitious goal, but we as a people and as a community have to start somewhere.”

A few weeks ago, HQ Auburn launched its Winter 2019 programming schedule.  

The lab’s programming starts with “Coding While Black,” a weekly gathering of current and aspiring black developers. A partnership with Meetup group, Technologists of Color, “Coding While Black” creates a place for coders to come and find other coders to help solve problems as well as to create and work on projects to benefit the community.

On Fridays, the lab hosts a networking mixer called “Social Club,” which is an opportunity for patrons to interact in a more social setting through various activities. On Saturdays, HQ Auburn host weekly classes and seminars presented by top thought leaders in different industries to help business owners learn new skills and polish others.

In the new year, Crawford said HQ Auburn will also sponsor a weekly small business happy hour that will feature different Atlanta Small Businesses and will provide an opportunity for black business owners to make connections on a weekly basis.

“All our efforts are to provide black businesses with the access to a network that was created with their particular needs in mind,” Crawford said. “It is hard enough being in business; however, black-owned businesses have a specific set of needs and challenges that are unique to us.  We hope that with our programming efforts, we can provide support to this growing ecosystem.”

Shawn Crawford runs HQ Auburn, a co-working lab and an event space on historic Auburn Avenue. (Photo submitted)

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