Jenny Poon Brings Entrepreneurs Together with Co+Hoots | NAWBO

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Jenny Poon Brings Entrepreneurs Together with Co+Hoots

By now, we all know that the old adage, “Two heads are better than one,” is, in fact, true. We’ve seen that some of the greatest innovations are born out of collaboration. So why not apply that collaborative model to the business world to see greater results? That’s exactly what entrepreneur Jenny Poon has done with her cooperative business, Co+Hoots.

In 2010, when Jenny was ready to find office space for her own boutique design agency, Eekostudio, in Phoenix, AZ, she quickly realized there were virtually no options for her. “A lot were expensive and required a ton of deposits up front—that’s an incredible amount when you’re starting out and trying to be nimble,” she says. “I was shocked to find there really wasn’t a solution for a person like me that was just a one- or two-person shop.”

To manage the expense, Jenny began exploring a shared workspace option, realizing a great opportunity to leverage services from other small businesses. She gathered professionals within the creative industry, like web developers and public relations experts, to work under the same roof with her. While each operated independently, they also established a strong network and leaned on each other for help as needed. Today, Co+Hoots is made up of about 1,000 entrepreneurs and hosts lunch ‘n’ learns, youth coding and business scaling programs to support minorities and those who may be underrepresented in the state of Arizona. The organization also recently moved into its own 14,000-sq.-foot building, which was made possible through crowdfunding in the community and across the nation.

“We got donations and commitments from California, New York and Texas—people who saw the good work that we were doing. It was incredibly validating,” Jenny says. “As an entrepreneur, you think you’re doing amazing work, but every once in a while, you worry that you’re the only one seeing that. This was a huge test of ‘Is this really something that everyone believes in?’”

After surpassing their goal of $50,000, the answer to that question was, unquestionably: Yes. In fact, the city of Phoenix recently honored Jenny as the 2017 Businessperson of the Year for her work in supporting and growing local business.

As a NAWBO member for about a year, Jenny has found her own inspiration and support in fellow women business owners. Her introduction to NAWBO during a luncheon made a big impact right away. “There were four women talking about their stories and how they were able to overcome obstacles and their stories really hit home,” Jenny recalls. “It had nothing to do with their race, gender or socio-economic status. They simply had a passion to grow something that they loved to do on a daily basis.”

NAWBO has also helped Jenny to embrace herself as a leader. “It reminded me that the structure we put ourselves in is completely irrelevant. It’s okay to be uncomfortable and not know what you’re doing because we’re all figuring it out,” she says. “Also, a leader can be a quiet leader and totally different from what we think a leader looks like. It made me realize we all have the opportunity to do great things and shouldn’t be dragged down by what we think a leader looks like. That’s helped me step up and take on these positions.”

Looking ahead, Jenny is focused on growing into their new workspace and continuing to support local entrepreneurs across Phoenix for years to come.

For more about Co+Hoots, please visit: cohoots.com