Banks at helm of co-working space for entrepreneurs
By Josh Staloch
GREEN BAY – There is a message printed out on a table tent at every workspace at the Urban Hub that reads: “Be part of the momentum.”
Lamarr Banks, who oversees the co-working space located in the Rail Yard Innovation District for the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s Economic Development team, said he is proud to be involved in that momentum.
“Essentially, we try to provide not only a space for those professionals to work together, but also resources to help them build their businesses,” he said. “We’re for entrepreneurs and professionals who have been working remotely.”
Banks, a Milwaukee native, moved to Green Bay at the age of 15 and attended West High School.
From a young age, Banks said he has been passionate about making the world a better place.
Simply put – helping anyway he could.
After realizing becoming a doctor wasn’t the path for him, Banks said he turned his attention to business.
Upon graduating from high school, he went to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) where he earned a degree in finance in 2017.
Banks immediately began working for financial institutions, including Nicolet National Bank and most recently JP Morgan Chase, with some real estate and property management experience mixed in.
He said the real estate and banking industries provided a solid foundation of skills he now taps into in his position at the Urban Hub.
In his role as community manager, Banks said he leverages the resources of the Urban Hub to help entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses, while managing the space where they land.
Wherever he’s gone, Banks has found himself in a position to help others.
Whether it’s collaborating with a new or prospective business owner on a budget, or helping someone purchase their first home, his job has been to assist people.
Banks said his past experiences have put him in a good place to help others now.
He’d like the Green Bay business community to know that he’s always available to listen and assist.
“I guess some of the motivation for doing what I do comes from growing up in Milwaukee, it’s big,” Banks said. “It can be segmented. You don’t always feel like you’ve got the support from your community. I didn’t really like that. And then, once I got out of UWGB, I realized that it was really hard to connect with professionals in the area. I had no relationships, no network. So now, I want to really push young professionals to start creating that network now.”
Banks said strengthening the community of young professionals in Green Bay will in turn make the city an overall better place to live.
“I see it as a byproduct of what we’re doing,” he said. “My number-one priority is making sure people are able to build businesses and work the way they want to. A byproduct of that is keeping people here in Green Bay, attracting more talent. It works both ways, I think.”
Banks said co-working spaces are vibrant and energetic environments, and entrepreneurs thrive off of that type of creativity, which he’s proud to be a part of.
He said a highlight of his time with the Urban Hub so far has been the Children’s Business Fairs, which gives elementary and grade school kids the opportunity to develop a product from start to finish and then sell it at an event hosted at Urban Hub.
Last year’s events were held in October and again around Christmas time, and are events Banks said he takes pride in.
“Once you foster that spirit of entrepreneurship, the spirit of creativity, it can really help out in the future,” he said of working with tomorrow’s professionals. “They’re thinking creatively, problem-solving and encountering real business situations.”