In 2018 Neil Weakland founded Canton Work Space, a coworking and office space in Downtown Canton with an ambition to unite small businesses, startups and remote workers in a cooperative environment. Canton Work Space looks for compatible businesses and service partners to help their members grow their businesses and careers.
What inspired you to create your business?
About a year and a half ago I was in the job market looking for a new job and I couldn’t do that from my house because I have small children. So I went looking for a place outside my house where I could sit down and look for work and things like that, and I found that there really wasn’t a good place to do that in Canton. There are coffee shops, there are libraries, but at all of those places you can’t leave your belongings and leave and come back, and phone calls aren’t really a good for that situation either. So I went looking for a coworking space and found out that Canton didn’t have one.
What are some of the most important things you’ve learned while building your business?
One of the most important things I have learned in Canton while starting a new business is that when I do find someone involved with the city or another business who’s willing to talk with me and advise me and help me, that it’s important that I ask them if they know anyone else that could also be of potential advice to me and to actually make sure that I have them introduce me to that person because that makes the connection a lot easier to obtain.
Why are coworking spaces important?
Coworking spaces, in general, are really important for cities not just for the reasons I needed them, but for small businesses, entrepreneurs and remote workers. Sometimes that’s the best situation for them to be able to get their work done and get their businesses started.
What has surprised you about the Stark County Impact Program?
I think what surprised me the most about the Impact Program was that the other companies in the program were so ready to be friendly with each other and open about how to give each other ideas to help not only their own businesses but everyone else’s businesses.
What are your future plans for your business?
I hope that in a year from now or in the future that Canton Work Space is able to expand either in my same location or somewhere new so that I can offer more to our members. I especially hope, though, that in the future when someone starts a new business or is looking for a place to work, that other people say, “Hey, you have to go to Canton Work Space. There’s a lot of other people there that also can help you get started.”