Supported By A $2M Grant, A Black-Owned 50,000-Square-Foot Co-Working Space Has Opened For Minority-Led Businesses

A new co-working space has opened in Newark, NJ, to support minority-owned businesses.

According to Tap into Newark, Equal Space, a 50,000-square-foot, multi-floor, space opened its doors to entrepreneurs on May 14, 2024. As co-founder and CEO, Citi Medina leads the concept, which was 10 years in the making, Blavity reports.

The Brooklyn, NY, native who moved to Newark observed there was not a safe co-working space for talent of color. So, alongside his co-founder and COO, Ralphie Roman, they turned their attention towards creating a solution and birthed Equal Space in 2014, which had previously opened a 16,000-square-foot shared space and incubator ES89. The location includes meeting spaces, an event area, and content creation suites, its website mentions.

Now, the Newark area will receive further support through the new downtown ES550 Tech & Innovation Campus at 550 Broad St., which boasts spaces for single founders and teams, “state-of-the-art event spaces” for 300 people, and a fully equipped conference room. The company has also built out podcast studios, multimedia facilities, and support capabilities in preparation for larger-scale creative productions.

“It was a profoundly moving moment for my Co-founder and me, as we unveiled EqualSpace as a direct response to a community’s unmet needs,” Medina wrote on Linkedin. “Our innovators, entrepreneurs, creatives, and social justice advocates required a launching pad, and as entrepreneurs ourselves, we created EqualSpace to fill that void in our journey as POC and Queer individuals. Our focus was on cultivating an affirming culture that celebrates every aspect, right from the floorboards up. Achieving this demanded intention, investment, unwavering commitment, and a bold audacity. Audacity is the word because despite being a talent-rich community, we are sorely underinvested in. Nearly a decade later, as we cut the orange ribbon on our second campus, ES550, a Tech & Innovation hub, the dream becomes tangible.”

The newest facility is made possible through the aid of Audible’s Business Attraction Program and a $2 million grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA).

“This company’s vision is one that we are very laser-focused on at Audible, bringing more businesses to Newark and providing more opportunity and innovation at a time when we’re seeing critical momentum in the revitalization of this great American City,” Audible CEO Bob Carrigan said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, per Tap into Newark.

Jorge Santos, the chief real estate officer at the EDA, commented:

“Investing in projects like Equal Space and buildings like 550 Broad should be a signal to the market that the state of New Jersey is going to adapt to the changing market dynamics that we’re seeing today and continue to invest in our downtowns.”

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