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New co-working space opens in Allston, with special focus on minority and non-tech entrepreneurs

Posted by Scott Kirsner  July 9, 2012 12:57 PM

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Today is opening day at Startup BLVD Allston, a new co-working space near Harvard Avenue and the Mass Pike. The space is a real-world project of Startup BLVD, which operates an online match-making and consulting service that helps connect start-ups, larger companies, and municipal governments. At about 3,000 square feet, the new shared office will fit 45 to 50 desks, says Nathan Spencer, an entrepreneur who is helping to market the new space.

"A lot of the existing co-working spaces seem to be serving a limited sliver of the startup community," says Spencer, whose company wants to help transit systems sell advertising on the back of riders' passes. "They have tech or mobile companies as tenants." Startup BLVD Allston hopes to attract a broader range of entrepreneurial ventures, including retail and service-based businesses.

And, adds Enrique Shadah, the founder of Startup BLVD, it will also actively seek to attract minority entrepreneurs. "I am Latino and have a solid connection to the Latino community in Boston," Shadah writes via e-mail. "Also, I sit on the Entrepreneurship Committee of the newly-created New Americans Alliance Institute. We are also connected to New England's Minority Supplier Diversity Council and the state's Supplier Diversity Office."

"Our goal is to connect to all of these channels and ask them to invite their constituencies to join our community," Shadah explains. "Being located in Allston is helpful, because there is a large population of immigrants and minorities." The Startup BLVD Allston space is on Linden Street, not far from the Pizzeria Regina on the Mass Pike, and a short distance from Harvard Square.

A membership that offers access to the new space — including snacks, coffee, conference rooms, and business-class Internet — costs $150 a month, but renting a dedicated desk starts at $400 a month. (A photo of a dedicated desk, in which you can store your stuff, is above.) That's a good bit cheaper than Workbar, a co-working space located near South Station, where dedicated desks go for $500 a month.

"We think this can be a place that benefits both the community and the businesses themselves," says Spencer.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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