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Gangplank office space moving to ASU Cronkite School

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be home to a new kind of office space that has already found success in Chandler and Avondale.

It’s called Gangplank, and it is a place where small start-up businesses can operate.

“No one pays rent here,” said Katie Hurst, director of operations for Gangplank. “We see a paying structure or fee structure as a barrier to entry. Our space is driven more by social capital, not monetary capital.”

According to Hurst, the city of Chandler pays rent and utilities for its location while Avondale provided a building to use.

The small businesses, or anchors, “pay” for their space in different ways. That could be something as simple as paying for all the printer paper to making sure there is toilet paper in the bathrooms.

“In a lot of cases it’s large things, like heading our initiatives, organizing workshops, running events, or teaching other people in our space a new skill,” said Hurst.

The ultimate goal is that small start-ups get a chance to work with other people going through the same problems, then finding ways to help each other. Since everyone comes in with a different set of skills, everyone has something new to offer.

“I didn’t know anything about Facebook ads, and how to run Facebook ads,” said Chris Piccirillo, who runs his start-up, Bonanza Educational, out of the Chandler Gangplank. “The company behind me runs Facebook ads, so one day they took two hours to show me how to do it.”

The new space at the Cronkite school will operate on the second floor. It will only be around for the summer, but Hurst said Gangplank will be able to see how possible it would be to create a permanent location near the ASU downtown campus.

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