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*NEWS: Co-Working Space Seeks OC Licensees

Felena Hanson, founder, Hera Hubs

A co-working company that focuses on female entrepreneurs is looking for licensees in OC.

Hera Hub, with HQ in San Diego, is comprised of co-working spaces where entrepreneurial women can create and collaborate in a “spa-like” environment.

But the co-working spaces are focused on “community” over the environment of the spaces themselves, providing professional women a platform to connect with other business experts, access to educational workshops and visibility in order to grow their businesses, founder Felena Hanson told OC Startups Now.

The Hera family also includes a non-profit accelerator, known as Hera Labs, and a funding group, known as Hera Angels, which also produces an annual conference (see more about that here).

The Hera Fund has raised more than $1 million, which has been invested in female entrepreneurs, like Urban Translations, a digital menu software provider that can translate menus into any language for restaurants, hotels and airlines. Samantha Urban is the founder and CEO of this startup, with HQ in SD.

The accelerator is a 12-week program that does not take equity, as many do. It’s a fee-based program, with scholarships available, based on need.

Foundation

Hera Hub was founded by Felena Hanson in 2011.

She said the company was an early leader in the female-focused co-working space segment.

Aside from SD, Hera Hub has “communities” in Phoenix, Atlanta, DC and Sweden, with several other cities in the works.

Through licensing expansion, Hera Hub is on a mission to support more than 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their businesses by the end of 2020.

Looking For Licensees

Hanson is looking to connect with women interested in exploring bringing the Hera Hub model to OC.

The ideal licensing candidate is “both a natural leader and connector,” she said.

Someone who loves building community,” she added. “It’s a perfect opportunity for someone who might be ready to take a soft step out of the corporate world, or who already runs a service-based company and wants to explore using the Hera Hub concept to build a strong platform for their business.”

For more info on becoming a licensee, see here.

Female Factor

Hera Hub caters to women based on Hanson’s experience running several professional women’s organizations, like Ladies Who Launch, which led her to build a working space dedicated to serving women.

She said she believes that women interact differently and are instinctively more collaborative in their approach to business. She felt it was important to create a space for female entrepreneurs “that is not only beautiful, comfortable and feminine, (but) also very professional.”

The spa-like décor includes water features, soft music in the background and aromatherapy candles. Hera Hub members (more than 300 in SD) have been heard saying that they have never felt so zen and productive while working from the space, Hanson said.

Many women running small businesses also have to juggle family life, so they feel an affinity with other women in the same situation, Hanson said.

Hera Hub is “a supportive environment where women feel they can easily relate to others and it helps them get to that point in the relationship where they know, like and trust the other person and are therefore more likely to ask for feedback or refer business,” she said.

Several of the identified gender differences in a Kauffman Foundation study indicate that support and encouragement from key people can especially benefit women in their efforts to start companies that ultimately succeed, Hanson noted.

While Hera Hub is female-focused, “it’s certainly not exclusive to women,” she said. “Men who appreciate the environment and sense of community are welcome to join as well.”

Why OC?

Hanson is looking to expand to OC to fill a gap in the market. There are about a dozen co-working spaces in the area, like WeWork, (with spaces in Irvine and Costa Mesa) and the Eureka Building in Irvine, but the primary target demographic seems to be tech companies, Hanson said.

Hera Hub acts as a landing place for multiple professional women’s organizations to host board meetings and events,” she said. “It’s important to do this in an environment that is safe and supportive of women.”

Hanson is looking to open multiple locations in OC, with areas of focus near Irvine, Santa Ana and Mission Viejo.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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