The Revelstoke Mountain CoLab in pre COVID-19 times. (Submitted)

Revelstoke Mountain CoLab will vote on becoming non-profit society

‘We’re more than just a space. We’re a community’

Revelstoke’s Mountain CoLab may soon become a non-profit society which could help secure future funding.

When it was created five years ago, the CoLab was set up as a non-profit cooperative.

“It made sense at the time. It was to be a community of workers looking after a space,” said Matt Coté, president.

READ MORE: City of Revelstoke launches Tech Strategy 2.0

However, as membership has grown, Coté said remaining a cooperative is restrictive and expensive.

For example, getting funding is more difficult. As a society, the CoLab would be able to partner with the City of Revelstoke, Community Futures and more grants could become available.

The organization has never paid dividends to its members. Instead, surpluses were put into savings.

Since the start of the pandemic, Coté said the CoLab is losing money monthly. At the moment, he said the CoLab has 23 active members, which is half of usual.

Due to COVID-19 and requirements for physical distancing, desks have been taken away. However, Coté said there is still space for new members. The CoLab is currently only offering monthly memberships, which start at $85.

He said the CoLab can last for several months on savings and may soon receive a rent subsidy. The funding that may become available with being a society, could also greatly help the CoLab said Coté.

While COVID-19 forced people to work from home, some studies suggest that workers are more productive in a designated work space somewhere else.

An article in the Harvard Business Review said offices bring people together, which can spark far more creativity and networking then staying at home alone.

For example, Yahoo revoked mobile work privileges in 2013, saying at the time, “some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions.”

Coté said when he arrived in Revelstoke, the CoLab was where he met his friends and became a Revelstokian.

“We have worldly conversations. It isn’t just about ski bindings and how much sag I have in my bike suspension,” said Coté.

The CoLab has a tradition of socializing around the water cooler for ten minutes at 10 a.m.

Even when the CoLab closed due to COVID-19 before reopening last month, Coté said members would still meet online for ten minutes at 10 a.m.

“We’re more than just a space. We’re a community.”

Many well known Revelstoke businesses started as fledglings in the CoLab, such as Tree Construction, Revelstoke Backcountry Guides and Chronometer.

Chronometer, which is a nutrition tracking app, now has over 3.5 million users and revenue in the millions.

READ MORE: How a 39 year-old Revelstoke man turned a nerdy hobby into a million dollar startup

As a writer, Coté said he has gotten work through the lab, just by networking with other workers.

For members, Coté said little will change with the CoLab becoming a society. However, only up to date members will get to vote during elections, rather than anyone who has ever been a member, which is more than 400 people said Coté.

An election for turning the CoLab into a society will be held on July, 14.

Information for joining the CoLab can be found on their website.

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