Creating a community to promote local women-owned ventures inspired The Riveter co-founders Amy Nelson and Kim Peltola.
Could the next big Seattle-based company be a result of collaboration among local women entrepreneurs? The co-founders of The Riveter, a new co-working space for women on Capitol Hill, are betting on it. The flagship location opens May 1 and aims to provide a place where women entrepreneurs and professionals can network and collaborate as they build their businesses and careers.
I interviewed Amy Nelson, one of the co-founders, before the upcoming launch. She was candid about why she believed in catering space for women.
“We learned that the majority of women entrepreneurs work alone,” Nelson told me. “Without collaboration, mentorship and access to funding, [co-founder] Kim Peltola and I kept hearing how women just weren’t able to grow their businesses.”
Nelson quickly learned that existing options provided limited collaboration opportunities for women, and sometimes, very few women worked there at all. “I call those places bro-working, not co-working spaces,” she said.
Although the co-founders had no experience in developing office space, they couldn’t ignore the urgency to create The Riveter.
While the space is geared toward a female audience, The Riveter welcomes members of all genders, she emphasized. “We will even have wine instead of beer,” she joked, referring to the free beer that many co-working spaces in Seattle offer as a perk.
Creating a business community to promote local women was a key driver for the venture. Even before launch, the space was a collaboration with local women business owners; Courtney Olander’s plant designs are featured throughout the space and female-owned Saybr Construction remodeled the space.
But perhaps the biggest distinction between The Riveter and its competitors is the focus on offering wellness as a productivity tool. Long work hours combined with the responsibility for the lion’s share of child care has resulted in significant increases in diseases, including heart disease and cancer, among women. The Riveter hopes to address that with daily on-site yoga classes that are included in memberships, as well as an acupuncturist and masseuse. “We really want to create a culture where women feel they have the space and permission to take care of themselves,” she said.
It would appear that investors believe in The Riveter’s mission too. It raised more than its targeted $600,000 in its seed round of funding — in the first few months this year. With plans to open a Bellevue location later this year and “20 locations in the West Coast in the next five years,” the power of women-owned businesses has yet to be unleashed, according to Nelson.
As I looked around at the space — still dusty under construction — I saw that the possibilities are endless.