The first thing Danielle Hines wants you to know about her coworking space, CREED63, is that it’s not simply a place to work — it’s a community. Created to help entrepreneurs — especially entrepreneurs of color — develop ideas into the businesses of their dreams, even the name speaks to this mission. CREED is an acronym for Community, Resources, Entrepreneurship, Education, Development, and the name was inspired by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963.
By offering members access to the resources and education needed to grow as small business owners, Danielle hopes to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs. Danielle, who’s also an officer in the Alabama Air National Guard, opened CREED63 in the summer of 2021. In only a year, she has signed on more than 100 members and filled all of the private offices available at the space, located in the Arthur Shores Law Center in Birmingham’s historic Civil Rights District. In fact, CREED63 has been such a hit that Danielle is opening a second location near Birmingham Southern College and adding more workspaces to the current site!
By day, Danielle works as an attorney for a local utility company. But her evenings are spent helping other entrepreneurs bring their visions to life. We’re honored to introduce our newest FACE of Birmingham, Danielle Hines, founder of CREED63.
What inspired you to create CREED63?
That’s an evolving question because my inspiration for it keeps changing as I see the entrepreneurs’ needs. When I first came into this space, I just really wanted to create a space that was vibrant for entrepreneurs and had four things — private offices, coworking space, virtual offices, and a podcast studio.
What are some things you’ve added (or plan to add) that you feel entrepreneurs need?
More programming. There are a ton of classes and incubator programs, and they’re great. I’ve gone through most of them myself. But there is a little bit of a gap in what happens to the small business owners once they finish those programs — particularly for minority businesses and those entrepreneurs who are between that four-year to 10-year mark. They’re not a new business, but they’re not an old, established business. So, they still need that support. We’re finding that a lot of businesses in that range, that’s normally where they end up failing. Their profits really take a deep hit, and they end up exiting the business.
What are some of the things you feel entrepreneurs should learn more about?
Access to capital. And then, once they receive that capital, what to do with it. How do you use the money you’ve been given, whether it’s a pitch competition you’ve won, a loan, or a grant? And whether people believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between how you manage your personal finances and your business.
What makes CREED63 different from other Birmingham coworking spaces?
One of the benefits of CREED is that you have access to me. I’m a licensed attorney, and I’m also a small business owner. When you sign up, you get access to my calendar to book a session for me to sit down and do a review from a legal perspective and a business perspective. I sit down with every member who comes through and ask, “What are your pressure points?” It allows us to not only be creative but also to turn to our membership directory. I might not know how to create a website, but I might know who to send you to inside the community.
Along with being a lawyer, you’ve owned other businesses, and you’re a military veteran. How have these experiences helped you build CREED63?
The military has taught me discipline, tenacity, and processes. Everything in the military is a process, and small business ownership and developing a business is a process. The military has definitely taught me to hurry up and wait.
Tell us more about your plans for expanding CREED63.
We are expanding this current space to have the ability to host events, additional coworking space, and more conference and training room space. The next great news is we’re in the process of closing on a property — the McCoy Center [near Birmingham Southern College]. We’ll have between 25 and 40 private offices. We’re looking at renovating the entire space and making it a hub for nonprofits.
There’s a full beautiful sanctuary that we want to keep intact and restore for churches that might just be starting and need space. For some of our small businesses with products to sell, we want to activate a marketplace.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to travel, and I love history. So, I like going to quaint little towns or places that have really good food.
Locally, I love exploring new businesses. I love the small business ecosystem in Birmingham, so anytime I can make it out on a weekend to get to a farmers’ market, I’m there. I also mentor girls.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given or the best advice you have to offer?
Be present. We all have goals, but you can get caught up in achieving the goal and not be present while you are going through it. You look up, and you’re in the middle of success but can’t enjoy it. When I’m present, I can flow, think creatively, and interact better with people. It’s better for my self-care.
Name three things you can’t live without.
My eyebrow pencil, my phone, and Dove soap.
Thank you, Danielle! All photography provided.
Meet more inspiring women from Birmingham and across the South by visiting our FACES archives.
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