Entrepreneur Wants to Foster Community Renewal with Co-working Facility
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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When technology hubs are spoken about, Silicon Valley immediately comes to mind. But Austin, Texas, has become one of the preeminent places for fostering innovation. By launching Urban Co-Lab, a 3,000-square-foot co-working space in East Austin, Natalie Cofield aspires to incubate companies that create sustainable, scalable solutions for education, housing, transportation and other areas of importance to urban communities locally and nationally.

[RELATED: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Rent a Co-working Space]

“By leveraging some of the brightest and most diverse minds in Austin and from throughout the nation, we plan to create disruptive advancements for global communities and the local economy,” says Cofield, 33, the project’s creator who partnered with a number of individuals and organizations to bring Urban Co-Lab to life, including Mission Possible Austin, a faith-based community improvement group; Kerry O’Conner, the chief innovation officer for the City of Austin; Navarrow Wright, founder of the Close the Divide Project; and Jason Towns, director of Code2040 Residency.

BlackEnterprise.com sought Cofield out to learn more about her motivations for the project and why she thinks investors should donate to its Indiegogo campaign.

What is the Urban Co-Lab?
Urban Co-Lab is a co-working space for urban entrepreneurs who have the ability to change our community and the world. We will house startup companies and individuals who work within the technology space. We will provide office space, programming, event space, access to networks, access to markets, and engagement with the community. We also have an extensive advisory board of directors who have agreed to mentor and engage with companies in our community. Our organization will also host entrepreneur-in-residence office hours and other supportive programming to help educate and engage our community.  Lastly, we are looking to partner with national or local accelerators and organizations in the area that have a focus on social entrepreneurship.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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