The Times-Dispatch has dedicated more than 4,000 square feet on the first floor of its building at 300 E. Franklin St. to the initiative, which goes by the name 1E. A small group of selected entrepreneurs will rent office space and have access to approximately 1,200 feet of collaborative workspace where they can mingle and brainstorm with other tenants, as well as employees of the media company.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to further learn about innovation from those whose business is totally built on it,” Silvestri said.
The first tenant is one of the area’s fastest growing organizational consulting firms. Floricane, which guides organizations through strategic change and transformation, currently is moving its operations to the new space. Floricane will help The Times-Dispatch shape the 1E development.
“We’re excited on several levels,” said Floricane founder John Sarvay. “Our team is looking forward to sharing space and collaborating with other thriving small businesses, and we’re looking forward to helping design and build a community that adds more energy to downtown Richmond. We’re also committed to building a true workspace for the small-business tenants, not a showplace.”
Selection criteria are still being finalized, but prospective tenants would already exhibit creativity and innovation in their business approaches and results. Expertise that matches up with The Times-Dispatch's vision and future needs, such as digital, technical, informational and customer research businesses, also would be an important factor.
While the initiative is currently known as 1E, Silvestri said a public contest is being contemplated to select a name for the innovation neighborhood that's on the East Grace Street side of the downtown building.
"I’m curious what sort of names emerge that don’t tread the familiar ground of incubator or accelerator, but I’m more interested in what happens after everyone sets up shop -- for our new partners and for The Times-Dispatch,” Silvestri said.
About Richmond Media Group
Richmond Media Group includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, TimesDispatch.com, Richmond.com and Richmond Suburban News (The Mechanicsville Local, The Goochland Gazette, Midlothian Exchange, and Powhatan Today). The publications and websites serve their customers as the leading real-time sources of news, advertising, commentary and community conversations across central Virginia, with unparalleled audience reach. Richmond Media Group is part of World Media Enterprises Inc, which is owned by BH Media Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company.