Rapidly growing Myrtle Beach is becoming the hip coworking downtown

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Barb Royal, executive director of eMYRge and its HTC Aspire hub, talks about Myrtle Beach’s entrepreneurial landscape from the downtown coworking space on July 26, 2022.

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Steven Boatwright’s desk—a laptop and a smart phone—takes up a small nook at the end of a long, sleek table.

He pays $100 a month for the set-up, cutting overhead costs as the 33-year-old father of three works to set up his own health insurance agency.

The 33-year-old father of three started his own health insurance agency and has been using a table at the HTC Aspire Hub since July 1.

“That’s all I needed. Trying to find a real office, I don’t need one at the moment. I don’t need $1,000 a month or an $800 a month space,” he said. “If they didn’t have that, I don’t know where I would be working right now.”

Myrtle Beach’s only coworking space, HTC Aspire Hub, opened in February in a bid to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in America’s fastest-growing city — a plan officials hope will help create a new engine economy less dependent on tourism.

Or as the Executive Director of the Hub puts it, an incubator for “BHAGS”.

“We want the people with the BHAGS: the big, bold, hairy goals,” she said. “Where are the founders? Where are the gambling people? »

The 2,500 square foot site is open and airy, with offices and pods available between $100 and $500 per month. Applicants are screened and vetted to ensure they have a business plan and a commitment to success.

The hub is a partnership between the city, HTC and eMYRge – a nonprofit also overseen by Royal aimed at developing South Carolina’s largest tourist destination into a center for business innovation.

Royal, a former teacher turned entrepreneur, has seen her business sink during the pandemic. But she was able to raise $325,000 in private capital to get it started, which gives her an idea of ​​the hard work her clients do, she said.

“I am an eternal optimist and believe in growth,” Royal said. “I know what it takes to start a startup, I know what it takes to build a scalable startup, that’s why I’m so passionate about it, because I didn’t have the resources I needed and I want to provide this to other people.

What you need to know about coworking in Mrytle Beach

  • To learn more about the HTC Aspire Hub or to arrange a tour, visit the eMYRge website or call
  • In addition to monthly rents between $100 and $500, day passes are available for $22
  • The HTC Aspire Hub is located at 509 9th Avenue North and accessible to members via a security app
  • Other features include conference rooms, full kitchen, private pods with 24/7 access and mailbox

Six months after opening, the Aspire Hub is already home to big-name investors like Neil Willis, who recently moved his company, hypersignof Spartanburg.

There’s also Ray Antonino, an entrepreneur-in-residence who started Permits.com.

The “innovation economy” is becoming a major player in Palmetto State, representing more than $1 billion in impact in 2021 according to the SC Research Authority, including the creation of 5,400 jobs.

Joseph Clarke, chairman of the board of eMYRge, said the HTC Aspire Hub is a necessary part of the city’s long-term economic development.

“Having this thriving ecosystem will attract other entrepreneurs to our region, as well as the software engineers, graphic designers and digital marketers that these new start-ups will need to succeed,” he said.

But for start-ups to start, you need cash. And that’s where the Grand Strand Angel Network comes in. A group of private investors from across the region, the network plans to make up to $100,000 available to companies that successfully pass a screening process.

Royal said Myrtle Beach needs an ecosystem that supports big ideas if it hopes to compete with other emerging cities.

“If we don’t have something like that where we can encourage innovation and technology, I mean, come on,” Royal said. “We have to attract people and then we have to be the place.”

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