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Maven Space opens, creating room for women entrepreneurs and creatives

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The pandemic gave many women entrepreneurs and creatives a launching pad to take off. But disparities still exist when it comes to funding and connections. Hoping to change that an Indy business woman created Maven Space.

Maven is a co-working space for women. Getting a leg up in the business world isn’t always easy for women, and it’s even harder for women of color. Representative say they hope this place provides a conducive space for growth, but also a place to share resources.

There’s comfort in camaraderie — an important part of the work done inside Maven Space. Maven Space comes complete with a series of working and meeting areas, podcast studio, café restaurant, and even a women-centric workout area.

“To to be able to have a space and a home where we can support and provide that community to women, so that all of us can benefit, I just couldn’t think of a more important job right now,” said owner Leslie Bailey.

Bailey is also the owner of an online publication that shares the name Maven. Through that work, she realized that women across the city — coping through the pandemic — were yearning for more, especially with many breaking out of traditional roles and jobs.

“The highest number of trademarks ever were filed in 2020. And the highest number ever by women,” Bailey said. “And they were staying in the trademark system longer. So I realized — ‘oh, women are going to start businesses because they’re not able to stay at their jobs anymore.’ Maybe they don’t want to, or maybe they’re not able to because of childcare.”

Seeing growth in women entrepreneurship showed promise, but Bailey says the way systems function in areas like venture funding, women entrepreneurs still fall short.

“It’s absurd, right? Ninety-eight percent of funding goes to men, and so that leaves two percent for women, and less for women of color. So, that’s a huge problem when you are looking at fundraising from a business perspective.”

Bailey says while business growth is great, when women are supported in business and leadership roles, communities thrive. In turn, corporations are more successful, school attendance goes up, and women donate more to non-profits and charities.

“When women have the support that they need, amazing things can happen,” said Bailey.

She hopes this is another place where women can shine.

Although this co-working space is open to Maven members, organizers say there is open programming for other women and others looking for support.