Pillar Cowork and Childcare co-founder, Amirh Davis, couldn't find a comfortable space that supported her remote work and offered quality care for her children — so she decided to create it herself. Pillar Cowork is a fast-growing co-working space that offers licensed childcare on-site through Pillar Kids.
Amirh was selected as a seed capital recipient after participating in the Lab at ICA and later in the Accelerator at ICA, our seed-level and growth-stage business mentorship programs, respectively. This investment was made using the ICA Impact Note, ICA’s innovative investment structure that helps entrepreneurs prioritize growing good jobs, by achieving metrics like workforce diversity and employee wealth creation.
“Being introduced to ICA was a treat because we had been running up against all kinds of issues, and coming to a space where there were people who wanted to help us was surprising. As a small business owner, you don’t know these things — you just know the business that you're trying to run.” - Amirh Davis, Founder of Pillar Cowork and Childcare
What inspired you to start your company? I was a new mom working at home, and wanted to find a place where I was able to work remotely while having someone care for my daughter. But 11 years ago, this didn't exist. When I had my second child, I was in that same situation where I couldn't find anything to support my work schedule and have her nearby in a setting that was safe and comfortable for both of us. A couple years later, I had another child, and again was struggling with childcare solutions, so I thought, if it doesn't exist, maybe I should create it — a workspace that has high quality childcare close to the parents.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur? For Pillar, we had a non-traditional start since we opened at the beginning of the pandemic. So in addition to all of the challenges that a new business faces as they begin, we were also a new brick and mortar opening up at a time where everyone was supposed to be working at home, so it didn't make sense for a lot of people to come out and try the services that we were providing.
What’s next for your company? Not everyone is able to work remotely, and because we did not have our child care license, we were limited to serving families who could work at our sites. Now, we're working on getting our child care license in the next couple of months, and once we do, we will be able to compete with other preschool childcare solutions in the nearby area [they have since been officially licensed as a childcare facility]. After that, we will continue to focus on raising awareness about us in the community and promote our co-working space as a premier location for special events during the evenings and weekends.
What was the most surprising thing about your journey with ICA? For me, it was learning about all the different types of support that is available. At the time, I didn't know that organizations like this existed. Being introduced to ICA was a treat because we had been running up against all kinds of issues, and coming to a space where there were people who wanted to help us was surprising. As a small business owner, you don’t know these things — you just know the business that you're trying to run.
What are the impact note metrics you’re focused on achieving? I want to look into providing robust benefits for my staff members and figure out a way to set up a 401k or some type of retirement savings plan for them. In the childcare field, unfortunately, a lot of times those things aren’t provided. We are already a minority and women-lead company so I want to continue to focus on generating meaningful jobs.