Written for the Daily Hive by Rui Yang Xu.
After delays due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Home Key, a professional workspace for the esports and gaming community, has finally opened.
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After experiencing the struggles firsthand and witnessing small businesses supporting each other, Jonathan Kim, the CEO of The Home Key, felt compelled to show that same support as well with the Boost Program.
The boost program allows any small businesses within the esports, tech, or gaming industry that has been affected by the COVID pandemic to apply for free office space in The Home Key’s facility.
“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to take some stress off of the shoulders of the entrepreneurs and just give them one less thing to worry about,” Kim said.
Apart from their Boost Program, The Home Key has mostly been focusing on their monthly memberships as the facility is already open and operating at a limited capacity due to COVID restrictions. The Home Key already has a few startups in the space despite these restrictions, according to Kim.
“We’re seeing members that are invested in each other’s success,” Kim said. “Because we’re a strong community, you’re checking in on each other to see how they’re doing. And they try to help each other succeed, which is what this space was exactly for”
While the facility is first a workspace, Kim says they want to use the facility to run fun initiatives to further build the community.
“We want to have the weekends operating as more of a casual PC gaming place or retro gaming place for gameplay, just like a casual cafe/lounge type of atmosphere where the community can come and have a reliable space to hang out downtown,” Kim said.
While their plans for the casual side of things have been somewhat limited due to COVID, The Home Key does have a lot of plans going forward to maintain the growth of their community.
From viewing parties and themed game nights to larger-scale events such as tournaments and leagues, Kim says he wants to create leagues that are similar to YMCA rec sports where members can come in throughout the week, compete in leagues and build community.
At the end of the day, while The Home Key’s opening was delayed, it’s clear their goal remained the same, connect a mostly fragmented community. “We’re supplying the space because this ecosystem exists everywhere, but it’s just fragmented, they’re not connected to one another, Kim said.
“So that’s what we’re trying to do is just create this space where everyone can kind of connect and use it for their own reasons.”