Scoring the title of the world’s best coworking alliance is a big win for Kansas City, Melissa Saubers said.
“This is just another way that we can put Kansas City on the map to show that we are the most entrepreneurial city in America,” said Saubers, president of the Kansas City Coworking Alliance. “It’s verification Kansas City is a great place to work, live and play.”
The local collective was honored Tuesday with a Coworky Award at the international Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC — pronounced “juicy”) in New York City.
“Kansas City is well-respected across the globe. We not only had people in Kansas City’s coworking industry voting for us and cheering us on, we had friends and family and supporters all over the world,” said Saubers, noting a boost from voters within the broader coworking industry itself.
Victory came after an initial field of about a dozen nominations for “Best Collective or Alliance” was quickly narrowed down to Kansas City and the German Coworking Federation.
“We both rose to the top and you could tell there was going to be a real competition,” Saubers said. “Everybody else just let us go.”
The final count separating Kansas City and Germany was less than 20 votes, she said, expressing gratitude for those who helped secure the win.
“It was extremely competitive and came down to the wire,” added Saubers, who also is founder of Cowork Waldo.
Kansas City’s coworking alliance boasts such members as Bridge Space, Cowork Waldo, eCafe, the Ennovation Center, the Enterprise Center of Johnson County, the Grid, iWerx, Plexpod, Village Square and WeWork.
Unity within the group falls back on the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, Saubers said.
“The Kansas City Coworking Alliance works because we all have a common goal: to raise the awareness of what coworking is and what the options are in Kansas City,” she said. “We go about it in a spirit of ‘coopetition’ in that we know, technically, we’re all competitors, but if we all work together, then we all benefit.”
Saubers was joined at the awards by Shervonne Cherry, director of community and partnerships for Baltimore-based Spark, she said. Spark, an incoming alliance member, is opening a two-level, 15,000-square-foot workspace in late 2018 at Two Light in Kansas City.
In August, the Kansas City Coworking Alliance helped set a world record for the most people coworking in one space at the same time.