More than 100 people turned out on Tuesday morning to learn how entrepreneurs are starting and growing businesses here in Syracuse. Troy Evans is co-founder of Common Space –a downtown apartment development joining work and living areas. The idea builds off of a business model Evans saw where small businesses shared the same space.
"People are seeing the value of getting around other people, connecting and having those collisions and its helped their business," Evans said. "I came back to Syracuse and got involved in co-working and really saw the benefits I had for it. I am in the real estate business, a real estate developer. I wanted to create a way to make that in the living version."
Common Space has small apartments in the top floors with the common workspace and other community areas designed to bring people together. Evans is finding the idea has broad appeal.
" Older folks who are retired who want connect again to middle-age people who are divorced maybe and the same younger group who are coming out of college who want to meet people and stay in the area. Huge range of people that prove that it is just a human nature thing not just an age group thing or a millennial thing."
Evans advice to entrepreneurs? There are a thousand ideas; It’s all in the execution. Another presenter, Chedy Hampson started TCG Player to connect buyers and sellers of collectable game cards and classic video games. Hampson has grown to over 100 employees by keeping a narrow focus.
" There's a thousand different directions where we can go in right now," Hampson said. "We have chosen to actually restraint, so you can keep maximizing one idea. You spread yourself too thin and you start to fade away a bit. I have experienced that in the past, we have tried to go in many different directions and that's when we struggle. That is when you saw something that is successful to keep pushing on it as hard as you can."
Mark Graydon, owner of Wolff's Biergarten also spoke at Tuesday's breakfast about opening the new restaurant and why they chose to expand their franchise to Hanover Square from their original Albany based bar.
The Entrepreneur’s Breakfast was hosted by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inn which reported that 20 new businesses have opened up shop downtown in the past year.