The Factory coworking space is closing its doors
The Factory, one of the few Black-run coworking spaces in the Triangle, will close its doors this month, Johnny Hackett Jr., CEO of Black Dollar Corp., the company that owns and operates the business, tells Axios.
Why it matters: Black Dollar Corp. is one of the more prominent organizations trying to tackle a racial disparity in entrepreneurship in Raleigh.
- Just 4% of companies with multiple employees in Raleigh are Black-owned, according to an analysis from last year. Raleigh's population is 28.6% Black, according to the Census Bureau.
- Black Dollar Corp. has tried to address that by providing space and tools for Black entrepreneurs mainly in the retail industry. Several companies that launched with Black Dollar have since moved into their own spaces, as noted in a 2022 New York Times story that featured the company.
Driving the news: The Factory (811 W. Hargett St.) has since exhausted the funds it received from the grant that used to open the space, Hackett said, and a lack of additional grant funding placed it in a precarious position. The Factory's landlord, David Meeker, has given it rent breaks in recent months.
- Black Dollar Corp. also runs the Black Friday Market retail incubator space downtown, which is used by dozens of Black retail entrepreneurs.
- That space is not in danger of closing, Hackett said.
What they're saying: Hackett said he believes places like The Factory are key to helping attract and support entrepreneurs of color.
- "When you've got entrepreneurs — especially those in retail — thinking about what city to move to, I want Raleigh to show up," Hackett said, "because we've got infrastructure like The Factory to help them create and outlets like Black Friday Market that helps them sell."
What's next: Hackett said he still believes The Factory's mission has a future and is committed to reviving it in the future.
- This isn't the end of the idea, he said, just the end of this version of it.
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