"Space2b" is part of the Aberdeen Day Project, which is a charity. The project also operates "The Bread Maker," a successful social enterprise, supporting adults with a learning disability to train and work in a busy bakery and café environment.
Over the past decade, The Bread Maker has proven itself to be thriving and industrious establishment. It has become the top choice for service users to receive training and placements in the catering industry, of which Aberdeen's local authority is a regular customer.
Aberdeen City Council is a keen advocate for social enterprise and for entrepreneurship and realise the need for it to foster inclusive growth, especially during the current economically challenging times for the city and wider area.
Why Quality Coworking is Needed Locally
- To inspire local entrepreneurs, freelancers and start up organisations
- To encourage sharing of ideas and skills in a supportive and productive environment
- To encourage a sense of partnership working and comradery within the community
- To give start-ups and small organisations the ability to develop and grow with reduced costs and risks
- To keep people in the area and give it a vibrancy
The vision driving Space2b is for it to be a dynamic, community-orientated coworking space. It aims to be an attractive alternative to the typical office, serviced areas, home or coffee shop – offering a place to collaborate and concentrate with open-plan, quiet and private spaces to work or hold meetings in. It will provide a range of fully serviced coworking options – fixed desks, hot desks, private offices, virtual office facilities, ample meeting and events spaces and sufficient storage. Friendly, welcoming, operational and flexible, it will offer the social aspects of a shared space, a solution to isolation and an escape from the distractions of home - all at an affordable price for all business stages and types.
Aiming to be open in Spring 2018, with some "soft launch" events beforehand.
Progress made to date
- Secured 60,000 square feet of open plan space situated close to the city centre on Riverside Drive – with good access to travel links
- Key stakeholder engagement and buy-in
- Market research and feasibility study complete, demonstrating interest and demand
- Premises have been leased and furnished
- Site visits to other small coworking spaces
- Brand development and implementation
- Design and production of marketing materials – currently in production
- Web site brief created – site is currently under construction
- IT company consulted to identify how to service our future clients, and systems are now operational
- Engaged specialist consultants to assist the organisation to develop our quality coworking business as additional revenue generation for our parent charity and to further support our charitable aims
- Small advisory group being established to create capacity
Key stumbling blocks
- Capacity – inability to move far forward with project due to unexpected other business commitments meaning a lack of internal resource. Understanding who can help (not hinder) the initiative, and the skills needed for getting started, and recruiting those volunteers
- Funding – funding streams and investment opportunities
- Gauging the pricing of our services in a depressed market
- Service design – what else could we do with the space, what can we offer, how can we be unique
- Building the sales pipeline – understanding where to get the right clients from
- Lack of relationships with key stakeholders and external organisations
How their vision has been ACCELERATED
Our EXPLORE Scoping Support has provided Space2b with ongoing, on-site and remote capacity building consultancy from early 2017 onwards, leveraging knowledge and experience in the development of their own coworking business. We have supported their staff through the business exploration process, including:
- Defining core products and services in alignment with their vision
- Planning of critical stages, activities and processes needed to get open
- Site visit to leased premises for advice on space and service design for maximising yield
- Financial model discussed and capacity modelling tool introduced to gauge potential income and expenditure
- Personal introductions to local influential people and external organisations