UnknownCollaboration is in the DNA of the Cooperative Venture Workspace at 36 Maplewood Avenue in downtown Portsmouth, N.H.Sharing ideas, working off each other’s expertise, and creating new professional relationships were part of the vision of the Workspace’s creation

In addition to the well-appointed technology infrastructure and the Class A office amenities, the opportunity for professional interaction is an intrinsic part of the Workspace membership.

According to Robert Rustici of Sharper Selling, a Workspace member, the climate exists here for both online and physical communities, both important to developing businesses, especially the smaller ones.

“What the workspace environments offer is the ability to pool both on-line and off-line resources to the ‘little guy’ who often needs to look bigger than they are,” said Rustici, a marketing consultant who operates Sharper Selling with Jonathan Day, the director of business development. Sharper Selling is an internet marketing company that offers three main pillars of support for its clients: Paid search advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media.

Collaborative spaces generally attract small and emerging companies. And the entrepreneurs who head up those businesses can often benefit from the expertise that resides in a nearby cubicle or office.

That was the case with Sharper Selling and Dragonfly Photography, another Workspace member. Photographer Rachael Kloss Pawlik, needed some help to, as Bob said, optimize her presence online.

Sharper Selling needed some professional headshots and photography to enhance its online presence. It was a match made in Workspace heaven. “We wanted to respect each other’s work,” said Bob in what worked out to be a trade of professional services.

“I don’t know anything about SEOs at all,” said Rachael. “They helped me change everything around. They’ve been nothing but helpful.”

Jonathan sees the collaboration as an opportunity for sustainability. “When one of us wins, we all win,” he noted.

Rachael agreed. She said she’s been paying it forward by recommending Sharper Selling to others. “It just creates more business,” she said.

Big business is slowly catching up to the benefits of collaborative workspace, something start-ups have known for a while.

A white paper by Steelcase, known worldwide for its interior environment architecture and office furniture manufacturing, notes: “Harder-working, next- generation workspaces are a sometimes-overlooked but key element for reaching that Holy Grail of today.”

In a paper entitled How Place Fosters Innovation, it said: “The right kinds of spaces can help people collaborate, share knowledge, learn together, and build the social networks of trustful interaction that are so critical for solving big challenges.”