Jennifer Belk


Name: Jennifer Belk

Residence: Fort Mill, South Carolina

Winthrop Connection: Former Interior Design Professor at Winthrop; Donor

Gift Designation: Winthrop Fund

Jennifer Belk, a former interior design professor at Winthrop, remembers having a vision to create an “adult” student union in 2013. 

The kind of space where people of all ages could come to seek educational and personal resources, and connect with other individuals with interests like theirs. 

The concept for a coworking space started out in the basement of Dinkins Hall eight years ago as she tasked her class with designing a business incubator for local entrepreneurs, students and non-profits. 

“We made amazing contacts with economic development professionals. I learned so much, and seeing the extreme rise in remote workers, the concept stuck with me,” Belk said. “I knew that this new business model was not found anywhere in our area and that all industries were going even more mobile.” 

Since then, Belk has expanded the concept into LOOM Coworking, Gallery and Event Space in downtown Fort Mill, South Carolina – the first coworking community of its kind in York County. The multifunctional facility is open to all types of people (from artists to small businesses) who may need space for studying, working and conducting meetings. It also functions as a space for the local community to host events and other programs. 

“I love aiding people in finding their new personal passions, helping them connect with people and resources that help them follow that passion,” she said.  

A big part of Belk's vision is continuing to work with Winthrop students and alumni to develop the local entrepreneurial community.  

“I still have amazing faculty and staff contacts who are integral in helping match our professional members with young talent,” said Belk, who was an associate professor at Winthrop for 10 years. Because of the university's small size, she said, the opportunity was there to get to know and help students more personally. 

“I have students that still reach out for advice and direction in their careers.” 

She has been able to see graduates “grow and lead in amazing ways.” 

She often encourages students and young professionals to seek new experiences and continue learning.   

“Be a life-long learner, be curious about everything and strive to evolve. Don't get complacent just because you have checked all the boxes on your professional bucket list,” Belk said.