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Dojo: Co-working for New Orleans’ tech ninjas

The view from Dojo, located on the 16th floor of The New Orleans Exchange Center.

New Orleans has been witnessing a lot of entrepreneurial action over the years, as evidenced by the success of such events as The Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. In addition, the city has been touted for the ways the community has come together to support startups, including an increasing number of incubators and co-working spaces that continue to sprout up throughout the greater New Orleans region.

The newest of the co-working spaces to open in New Orleans is the Dojo, a collaborative working environment specifically for developers, designers, programmers, and creators.  Housed on the 16th floor of The New Orleans Exchange Center in the CBD, the Dojo is designed to bring together like-minded individuals in a space that fosters creativity, as well as productivity.

The Dojo is anchored by WebDevrs, a local company that specializes in developing mobile and web applications, specifically making a niche for themselves within the ed-tech and health-tech industries. As the brainchild of two serial entrepreneurs, Brian Danos and Beau Button, WebDevrs grew quickly alongside the region's technology startups. They began to contract developers and designers in the city to help with their expanding list of clients, and soon realized that there was a need to create a designated space for the city’s creative freelancers, who typically work independently out of home offices and coffee shops.

Danos and Button were inspired to launch the Dojo themselves in 2012 as an effort to create a collaborative environment that could drive their own growth, as well as that of their prospective tenants. By attracting like-minded people, they believe, the Dojo provides an exclusive place where the city’s “ninja” developers can lean on one another for feedback, professional support, referrals, business partnerships and organic conversation.

Dojo will be hosting monthly UI/UX meetups.

More specifically, the Dojo aims to keep freelancers and “solopreneurs” from falling into the “soloist” mentality that typically comes from working in an isolated environment that includes late nights and long hours in front of the computer. Little social interaction while working from home or coffee shops can prohibit personal and professional growth.  The Dojo provides 24/7 access to its tenants and invites the “soloist” professional to work alongside others, resulting in professional, personal, and financial benefits.

The Dojo offers desk space as well as office space to New Orleans-based creatives, programmers, and entrepreneurs, at $20 a day to $125 a month for desk space and $650 to $1,200 a month for a two- or four-person office. Amenities include wi-fi and use of the office’s kitchen. Current tenants include JAM Creative, WebDevrs, and Whale Tank Pitch Competition winners Digital Tip Jar, among other innovative startups.

Adriana Lopez writes about the New Orleans entrepreneurial community for NolaVie.