CTK Dorchester members launch new Business Lab for Dorchester small businesses and nonprofits
Travis Lee and John Maudlin met only a few months ago, but their shared passion to help small businesses and nonprofits succeed quickly became the foundation for a new shared office space and business development center in the heart of Dorchester’s Fields Corner neighborhood.
Travis, a first-time entrepreneur, explained, “When I was a kid, I was captivated by the glory of being the star football player who scored the winning touchdown in the championship game. As I watched the guy catch the pass to win the game, I didn’t understand the many years, days, and hours of tedious, fundamental practice that went into making that one moment possible. Entrepreneurship is kind of like that. If you want to start a business for the glory, you're probably on the wrong track.” John agrees, “It costs people a lot – time, money, they might mortgage a house – to start a business that is a passion of theirs that potentially nobody else sees the value in.”
The vision for the Fields Corner Business Lab is to build a sense of community among the occupants by co-existing in a space where there are opportunities to share ideas, problem solve, and help each other navigate the hard work of building a business. Every tenant has access to expert coaching, as well as events designed to spur creativity, collaboration, and learning.
“Business brings people together who may not normally be together,” John noted, “so we want to foster an office culture over cups of coffee, in passing conversations, and at intentional gatherings that, ultimately, help Dorchester businesses thrive.”
The co-owners, both CTK Dorchester members, see their individual professional paths as part of God’s call on their lives to see His Kingdom come in their neighborhood. “The many, often grinding, days of beating the streets, crunching numbers, and research with very little progress to show for it are viewed with the knowledge that we are privileged to do this work,” said Travis, “It's a lot of fun and a real gift from God to work with all these people and figure out ways to help them do what they do better.”
John credits his time teaching business fundamentals in Southeast Asia for the shift in his perspective on work, “When I asked myself, “What has God given you a passion for and how can you best glorify Him with the talents He’s given you?” I realized what I learned in school and through my career in business can be used for His Kingdom purposes. I am probably working as hard as I’ve ever worked, but I love it and am in a place where God has called and gifted me to be. There is a great sense of freedom in that.”
Even still, there is a tension that naturally arises as the church considers entrepreneurship and faith – how can we help people being called to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul, while also following a vocational call God has put before them that inevitably begs for inexhaustible amounts of attention?
“Several studies on entrepreneurship conclude that the common thread among those who are successful is that they give their lives away to work. How do we see God as part of all we do while our minds are captivated by so much?” Travis wonders. They look forward to the church coming alongside entrepreneurs, and professionals in general, to help them wrestle with the challenges of balancing faith and work.
In the year ahead, the duo hopes the Fields Corner Business Lab fills with a diverse group of businesses and professionals with unique perspectives from their areas of expertise, missions, and cultural backgrounds. And their bigger dream is for those businesses to enjoy success to the degree that they begin hiring people from the neighborhood and outgrow the Business Lab space.
Do you have expertise that could help small businesses and nonprofits in Dorchester? Are you a local business in need of low-cost, flexible office space?
Contact Travis and John to learn more about the Fields Corner Business Lab and get the latest updates online at www.fieldscornerbusinesslab.com or by following them on Facebook at facebook.com/fcbusinesslab.