Syracuse uses "coworking" to stir budding business downtown

Brian Caufield spent years handling information technology for big companies. In April, he decided he wanted to work for himself instead of a major corporation. Caufield set up a business developing apps for mobile phones - but needed a professional space to meet peers and clients.

"People evaluate you in the first three seconds of meeting you. If you're in some substandard space then they may have considered that your work isn't up to par either," said Caufield.

Caufield is the first tenant at the new Syracuse Coworks space set up by the non-profit group 40 Below. Syracuse Coworks has space in the downtown Technology Garden where entrepreneurs can rent desk space by the month or the day. Tenants have access to professional conference rooms, printing services - and other small businesses to share ideas with. Ben Sio from 40 Below says the new Coworks space is perfect for people who have a great concept but need time to grow the business without expensive overhead costs.

"If you have somebody that just started a business in their dorm room, started a business at home, started a business at a coffee shop - a client service business where they don't want to meet in a coffee shop every ten minutes with somebody," said Sio.

Renting a desk costs between $100 and $225 a month. Caufield has a reserved desk and is already lining up clients. Currently he's designing an app for southern grocery store chain Publix.

"We tend to be overworked and not as well rewarded as we would like in IT so by going out on your own, you have the opportunity to be rewarded for all the work you are putting in," said Caufield.

Daily drop-in memberships at Syracuse Coworks are also available for $15.