Kim Lee, Founder and CEO of Forge
Kim Lee is the founder and CEO of Forge, a co-working space in the heart of downtown Birmingham. Her passion for business as a service, hospitality, community and economic growth of the city drove her to open Forge in September 2017, as a place to provide an avenue for entrepreneurs and small business owners to thrive through growing their businesses in a way that was previously unavailable in Birmingham.
Forge has developed another layer in the ecosystem for business owners and entrepreneurs providing a platform for growth and advancement of these smaller businesses in a way that was not present previously. In 2018, Forge was a Small Business of the Year Finalist.
Kim founded Birmingham Co–Working Collective as a way to bring together and provide community and support for all of the co–working spaces in Birmingham. Kim is also the host of the podcast Building Birmingham Together, where she interviews organization leaders in our city bringing to light the amazing work that leaders in our city are doing and the lessons they learned along the way. In December 2021 Kim graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
Kim serves on the executive board of Tech Birmingham, the Small Business Council for the City of Birmingham and on the Advisory Board for the Global Workspace Association. Kim is also involved in mentoring young entrepreneurs through several different schools in Birmingham.
Kim was honored in 2017 as Birmingham Business Journal Women to Watch and as 2019 finalist for CEO of the year. Kim was recognized in the list of Top 40 Under 40 in 2020.
Best Advice: Being a small business owner is hard! There are many highs, but there are also many lows. Everything that you go through is a perfect gift from the Lord and it is exactly what you need at the moment. “We don’t know why you are going through this very hard time, but we do know it is exactly what you need right now.” This reminder of truth does not make the hard times easier, but it does give me hope and assurance as I am going through the really difficult times.
Greatest Influence: There are two people who have been the most influential in my life and my success in my business. The first is my mom. She has always been my biggest supporter and champion! My entire life she has built me up and reminded me that I can do whatever I put my mind to! The second is my husband Murray. He has been a bigger believer in me than I have been in myself in starting and running a business! I could not do what I do day today without his encouragement and support.