A West Houston coworking space called The Cannon was planning to open in the fall of 2017, but the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey have prompted its owner to alter plans — for the better.
"We have a grand vision for our campus, for the creation of an entire ecosystem of entities and organizations across the entrepreneurial stack, all in one place," says founder and CEO Lawson Gow. "And we aren’t quite there yet, but given the widespread destruction of office space throughout the city, we are opening our doors to help Houston rebound economically."
Once it's complete, The Cannon's 15-acre campus will be a professional haven for the city’s entrepreneurs and their startups, welcoming designers, freelancers, writers, artists, and other local creatives. But for right now, the completed 20,000-square foot coworking facility will be made available to individuals and small businesses whose offices have been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey
The building includes open-desk space, private offices of varying size, and large conference rooms, as well as full kitchen amenities, lounge spaces, and recreation areas. Displaced workers can take advantage of discounted rates on a flexible, month-to-month basis, and The Cannon is pledging to give a portion of its proceeds to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
"Houston is hurting right now; we've got a long road ahead to full recovery," says Gow. "And even if your home is safe and dry, there are many whose office locations have been hit hard. We want to help keep businesses running while H-town bounces back."
The Cannon is also working on a number of ways to equip Houston with the tools it needs to make a full recovery. Gow and his team are partnering with Ken Myers, a Cannon member and the CEO of Work America Marketing, who has founded HurricaneServices.org. The group will help fellow residents and business owners get back on their feet faster by connecting them with reputable contractors who assist with disaster cleanup. A portion of the revenue generated from HurricaneServices.org will be donated to nationally recognized charities who are directly helping with hurricane relief efforts in Houston.
Giving back was already one of The Cannon's main tenets. For example, members who meet a monthly quota of volunteer hours with a local charity have the opportunity to receive a discount on their monthly rent, and Houston-based nonprofits and charities that office out of The Cannon are eligible for significant discounts.
"If you or anyone you know has had their offices damaged by flooding, please let us know how we can help," says Gow. "By providing temporary space or otherwise."