By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“We realized our vision of what Girl Boss Offices could be was too limited,” Erika Biddix tells us in explaining the first few of what could be several more announcements from the owner of the company in the weeks and months ahead.
Earlier this week, she announced a rebranding, changing the name from Girl Boss Offices to Aught, and today Biddix is announcing an expansion to a second location in Downtown Knoxville that will more than double the number of women entrepreneurs she can serve. The new facility will open October 1 in Suite 601 of the Langley Building, 520 West Summit Hill Drive. It can serve up to 20 members compared to the fully-subscribed existing location at 408 Ebenezer Road Southwest. Applications for desks at the downtown location are currently open.
In addition, Biddix says there are opportunities to franchise Aught Offices.
Expanding a co-working space as the community is gradually emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic might seem counterintuitive, so we asked Biddix to explain her motivation.
“Since opening in 2019, we’ve seen what the power of community can create, over and above our initial decision to provide co-working space,” she says. When the pandemic hit soon after she launched, Biddix said, “We could not pivot our services,” but she wanted to do something to help and settled on a beneficial idea. It was to tell the stories of how women entrepreneurs, whether they were members of Girl Boss Offices or not, were coping and progressing during the pandemic.
“That solidified us as a valuable member of the women’s entrepreneurial community and an emerging hub for them,” Biddix said. “As we’ve increased our brand offerings for female entrepreneurs, we knew we needed to rename the company to encompass everything we offer or have on the horizon, including retreats and a podcast.”
Specific words included in two definitions of the word “aught” caught her attention and resulted in the new name. Those words were “anything” and “at all.” Combining them reflects the mission of the rebranded business, both in terms of the message of encouragement for those it serves and as a metaphor for what could be on the horizon for Aught.
“We hope when you see (the word) Aught, it’s a reminder to you that you can do anything at all . . . that you can redefine what entrepreneurship means for you, your company, your family or your community,” Biddix explains.
For now, she says Aught LLC will be comprised of the two co-working locations, the soon-to-launch podcast series, and an upcoming leadership and retreat business that she is preparing to launch to help women entrepreneurs not only develop their leadership skills, but walk away from the events with defined action steps.
She plans to have regular follow-up activities or communications with each of the small group cohorts.
Biddix is a long-time event planner – her company is Biddix Meetings+Events – opened its initial co-working community on December 1, 2019, just a few months before COVID-19 cascaded across the globe, curtailing or completely closing many similar facilities.
“To see the impact community makes on all female entrepreneurs – not just our members – gives us joy every day,” she says. “We are celebrating growth, partnerships, friendships and business launches each day, and we are excited to keep the party going. We are on a mission to empower women to build anything at all. We believe women can do anything at all. We believe entrepreneurship can be for anyone at all. We believe anything at all can be accomplished through entrepreneurship.”