Steelcase Unit Donating Furniture To Startups

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GRAND RAPIDS — Turnstone, the Steelcase brand that designs office environments specifically for startups, Tuesday announced a 10-day, nine-state road trip starting at its Grand Rapids headquarters and ending at an Austin, Texas startup gathering.

The Turnstone bus will make five stops along the way to recognize the important contributions made by startups in the United States heartland, demonstrating the connection between great spaces, a vibrant culture and successful companies.

To do so, Turnstone is introducing a contest that will give five small and emerging businesses — companies with less than 100 employees — a chance to win a $20,000 office makeover, helping to enhance the culture of the organization.

The contest is part of a new Turnstone campaign: Culture@Work in the Heartland.

“Space shapes behavior,” said Turnstone general manager Kevin Kuske, who also carries the title ‘chief anthropologist.’ “The best small businesses create and work in spaces that authentically reflect their brand. Our ‘Culture@Work in the Heartland’ campaign is designed to showcase both great startups in Middle America and to help other entrepreneurs see the intimate connection between culture, space and business success.”

Companies have until Feb. 10 to submit their online applications at http://contest.turnstone.com. To enter, companies will be asked to submit photos, and answer a few short questions about culture at their business and explain how an office makeover would improve current cultural norms and help take their venture to the next level.

Over the course of 10 days, members of the Turnstone team will drive the Turnstone bus to five cities, surprising one winning business in each metro area with an office makeover. The cities include, in order of visit, Chicago, Feb. 25, Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 27, Omaha, Neb. Feb. 28, Kansas City, Mo. March 1 and Dallas, Texas March 4.

The growth of the startup community in the Heartland is evidenced by the increasing number of investment dollars being poured into the region. According to a report commissioned by the Angel Resource Institute, Silicon Valley Bank and CB Insights, 5.7 percent of the country’s angel investment deals are done in the Great Plains and 13.6 percent in the Southwest. Both were the only regions to witness a rise in their share of investment from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012.

Earlier this year, five businesses won a complete office renovation after entering the “Win a Sweet New Office!” contest from Turnstone. The contest encouraged entrepreneurs from across the country to submit a short video demonstrating why a great workplace would make a difference.

The Gainesville, Fla. startup Fracture, which provides customers a unique and affordable way to print and frame personal digital photos on to glass, was one of the five winners. Spearheaded by turnstone designers and workspace experts, Fracture experienced a complete office overhaul that has since revitalized the workplace experience for the owners and employees. To view their before-and-after transformation, visit http://tv.myturnstone.com/QmtJ2/turnstone-customer-story-fracture/.

“Our goal with this renovation was to create a workspace that was comfortable, functional, collaborative, and full of positive vibes and energy,” said Matthew Bivens, Fracture director of marketing. “We now have a space with the look and feel that fits exactly with the culture of our company. More importantly, the makeover gave us a feeling that we are a legit business, a feeling that we are no longer a startup company scraping to get by.”

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