Tuesday, September 25, 2018
KIC Offers Place for ‘Deep Work’
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Webb Nursery planted several blue spruce at half price to blend in with the poppies and lilacs outside the ADA-compliant KIC building.
 
Friday, June 8, 2018
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Lore has it that Ernest Hemingway used to drink at a bar in the basement.

Kathryn Guylay hopes the new Ketchum Innovation Center that is taking shape at 180 6th Street W. in Ketchum will go down in lore as a solution to turning Ketchum and Sun Valley into more than a retirement community.

Her vision encompasses a startup community of entrepreneurs who feed off of one another’s buzz, strategy and long-term perspective. Entrepreneurs who feed off of one another’s talents, creativity and support to innovate and grow businesses that fit in the 21st century.

 
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Memberships for those who wish to work in KIC’s new coworker space will start at $99 a month.
 

“Centers like ours have sprang up in 34 communities, including Vail, Aspen, Breckinridge, Frisco and Mammoth,” she said.

She pointed to a book on a table of the KIC kitchen. Brad Feld’s book, “Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City” has become her bible since she took over KIC.

“This is the story of Boulder, the first and biggest of the startup communities,” she said. “We’re catching up. But our motto touting mentorship and community building is top notch.”

Guylay aims to go full steam ahead to meeting those visions once the 3,200-square foot grey building is finished in early July.

 
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Mayor Neil Bradshaw stopped by this week to celebrate the erection of KIC’s new nameplate.
 

The large room on the north side will serve as a community gathering area for social events, mentoring and networking. There will be music, a projector on one wall, soft chairs and little tables interspersed in front of cushioned benches lining the wall.

Next to it is a kitchen where people will be able to avail themselves of coffee and snacks.

The facility will feature four conference rooms that can be reserved by anyone. One will hold 12 to 24 people; another six to eight, and two more, five to six.

One of those conference rooms will be dedicated to a video and podcasting studio.

 
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Laurel Manville and Leigh Barer talked this week on the patio. KIC hopes to push the fence out to enlarge the patio, which can be used for community events.
 

An L-shaped phone booth designed by architect Jack Rutherford with an acoustic curtain  will offer people a space to plug in to Skype.

And the west end of the building looking out on Baldy features a large room that  offers 16 spaces for entrepreneurs to work in quiet. There will be dedicated spaces for members, who will have their own file cabinet and storage space. Other spaces will be available for those who need a temporary space, including vacationers who may want a temporary office while vacationing in Sun Valley.

“According to Cal Newport, who wrote ‘Deep Work,’ people need a place where they can focus and do deep work and they need a place to collaborate,” said Guylay. “If you mix the two it becomes sludge.”

The new facility will not offer private offices, as it did before.

 
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Pete Reed, Elizabeth Hendrix and Kathryn Guylay consort around the kitchen island.
 

“If you want a private office, the answer is, ‘No.’ We’ll send you to Ketchum Works and CrankTank,” said Guylay. “We’re focusing on programming, mentorship and community building. But I have come to realize that having co-working creates a buzz. And people in the building create a buzz. KIC is welcoming place, and young people in town tell us they feel welcome here.”

Guylay is offering tours of the new KIC at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 21, and at noon on Thursday, June 28. A grand opening and ribbon cutting complete with food, drink and mayor’s speeches, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12.

AllStar’s Miguel Corona, a former client of KIC, is renovating the building.

“He is the first Spanish entrepreneur we’ve had,” said Guylay. “We helped him incorporate his business and get a license. We helped him get paper work done and counseled him that he needed to build worker’s compensation and other costs into the job. We were his first job and, since, he’s had a couple more jobs come in the door. So, he’s been in business for two months and he already has three projects.”

The mentoring and networking at KIC hasn’t stopped just because the drills are churning.

Out on the patio Leigh Barer, a corporate communications expert and part-time associate director at KIC, was discussing the new startup Boulder Mountain Creative with Laurel Manville, a newcomer to town who used to work for Nike.

“You would think two creative marketing people would be competitors. But it’s been shown that when entrepreneurs get together and talk  everyone’s business is going to grow,” Guylay said.

As Guylay readied to receive Elizabeth Hendrix, Pete Reed stuck his head in the door. A former Marine, he just moved to Hailey with his wife, saw the KIC sign that had just been erected and wanted to know what the Ketchum Innovation Center was all about.

“Do you work with nonprofits?” he asked. “I have a small International Global Response Management nonprofit, and we want to get a medical response team in Yemen by November.” 

Guylay assured him that KIC helps nonprofits,  as well as entrepreneurs, startup businesses and existing businesses.

Just then, Hendrix walked in, talking about her communications company, which has done big projects in cities like Los Angeles and Seattle, and her new startup rippleflix.com.

The goal of rippleFLIX is to use independent documentaries to tell the stories of nonprofits to help them raise money, she said.

Reed’s ears perked up. And soon the three were brainstorming solutions around the kitchen island.

“That’s what’s fun about being in a network like this,” said Guylay. “You learn from one another. You have to have community around you to succeed. And that’s what KIC can offer in a powerful way.”

KIC’s supporters would seem to agree.

“I have attended numerous workshops and public events at the Ketchum Innovation Center in recent years, and these are been very helpful for my software business,” said Peter Pressley, the owner and president of Sunburst Database. “I was trained in science and work as a software engineer so the workshops at the KIC have helped me develop new business knowledge, especially the presentations by experts in the field of branding and marketing.”

Mitchell Hollins said he believes KIC can encourage and facilitate the establishment and growth of entrepreneurial businesses, which would in turn diversify the economy and broaden the tax base.

“Ketchum and the rest of the valley have an urgent need to broaden their economics beyond tourism and recreation,” he said.

Bill Boeger concurred. “As we continue to move into a knowledge-based economy, it will be critical for our valley to create well-paying, intellectually engaging jobs that will help to attract and retain younger, well-educated professionals. I believe that KIC is an essential element to the future economic and social vibrancy of the valley.”

KIC is working with such entities as the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization in Twin Falls, the Small Business Administration in Boise and the Small Business Development Center.

Programming targeted at businesswomen, young innovators and others will resume again as soon as the building is complete. It will be joined by classes on online education and other topics and a new program called Encore for those 65 and older who want to mentor younger entrepreneurs or who just want to get together.

“So far, we have had three people sign up for dedicated work spaces and, based on what I’ve heard, we will have no trouble filling the rest,” said Guylay. “We’d like to open full with a waiting list and be turning people to other places in town.”

Questions? Email info@ketchuminnovationcenter.com.

 

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