Entrepreneurial Endeavors

Coworking giant offers big bucks to budding Austin entrepreneurs

Coworking giant offers big bucks to budding Austin entrepreneurs

WeWork University Park
WeWork will grant $1.5 million to innovators in the region. Photo courtesy of WeWork

So you have a big idea, but you need a little cash to get it going. WeWork, the international chain of coworking spaces, is here to help.

WeWork has launched a new grant program called The Creator Awards, which will hand out $1.5 million to budding entrepreneurs in the South.

"With graduation around the corner, tens of thousands of students are trying to figure out what's next and we want to help them to do what they love. For many, this may be a chance to start a business, explore a new idea, or create their own dream job," Adam Wacenske, WeWork general manager for the South, tells CultureMap.

"We're here to help them get started by giving away meaningful financial grants through The Creator Awards, by opening our doors, and by welcoming grads into our global community."

WeWork hopes to award money to all kinds of entrepreneurs, from artists to nonprofits.

"Innovation happens everywhere, in all industries," Wacenske says. "We know there are amazing creators from all walks of life in Austin, from musicians and educators to political thought leaders and, of course, tech stars. We want to shine a light on the groundbreaking work happening here and reward these diverse creators."

There are three grant levels: The Incubate ($18,000-$36,000 per grant); The Launch ($72,000-$180,000 per grant); and The Scale ($180,000-$360,000 per grant). Each level is designed to fit the needs of the applicant, depending on what stage of development the idea is in.

The deadline for the application process is June 5. Finalists will move on to the South Regional Finals, June 26-27, here in Austin. In addition to a live pitch session and awards ceremony, the two-day affair will include workshops and pop-ups.

Winners in the Launch and Scale categories will be invited to a Global Finals in New York City. Another perk for entering? Austinites with a ".edu" email address who apply will be given free access to WeWork's University Park campus until August 2017.

WeWork is also hosting Creator Awards in Detroit and New York. View the regions here.