Waco is becoming a budding spot for young entrepreneurs with fresh ways to capitalize on the city's notoriety.
Start Up Waco is a non-profit organization that helps new entrepreneurs get started with their business. The organization wants to turn the Woolworth Suits building on 6th and Austin into a place where entrepreneurs can collaborate. The idea was liked so much that county commissioners invested $750,000 toward the renovation.
"The atmosphere we're trying to create is you don't come here to relax. You come here to gear up," Start Up Waco Executive Director Gregory Leman said.
The 5,000-square foot space will be called Hustle. Kevin Renois is a Baylor graduate and co-founder of Start Up Waco. He chose to stay in Waco because of the city's potential.
"Waco hasn't quite figured out what it wants to be when it grows up,” Renois said. I feel like even though I’m a young person, I can help Waco figure out what it wants to be by influencing what happens in some way."
At the Hustle, entrepreneurs will develop plans to make their visions come to life. They will also get the chance to be mentored by business owners in the area. Leman said with the city's relationship with Baylor and its resources, there's a lot of creative energy flowing in Waco.
"And with the recent boom of Chip and Joanna’s success, there's a lot of build on right now. If we can capture that moment and plug a lot more people into it, it can just be a continued upward journey," Leman said.
Renois said the ultimate goal is creating jobs for a thriving community.
"Whether it’s starting a new coffee shop, or a new bakery, or a new tech company that's going to change the way we do social media or computers. Start Up Waco is trying to initiate that kind of entrepreneurial and innovative culture in Waco," Renois said.
The hustle is expected to open in August. If entrepreneurs want to have access to it they will have to get a daily pass or a monthly membership.