The Coworking Accelerator heads to London!

That’s right people, we’re shipping down South this Summer to put on a very special edition of our learning event 2-day coworking Workshop.

Would you like to join us?

Read on to find out how!

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Key details

When: 18-19 June 2019

Where: Mainyard Studios, 90-94 Wallis Rd, London E9 5LN

What: EXPLORE Learning Workshop (2 days)

Who: The Coworking Accelerator, The Melting Pot … and you?

How: Complete this form and we’ll be in touch!

What is it?

Are you planning to, or have you recently launched a coworking space? This is for you! Over two days, EXPLORE the key elements to make your coworking business a success and to impact your community positively and sustainably.

  • Small group, energetic and inspiring workshops

  • Strictly limited spaces, with participants (emerging leaders) from all over the world and from a variety of backgrounds including for-profit and not-for-profit organisations

  • Join other leaders who are creating coworking businesses on our participative, energising training experience

  • Learn what it takes to grow a coworking business, and how you can make it happen!

What will participants get out of it?

You will learn from experienced, successful coworking space operators and receive key insights to help shape your coworking business model using the Coworking Canvas. Through focused inputs and in-depth discussions, energetic group learning and inspirational peer support, you will create a workable plan to develop your space and figure out what will make it great, or even greater!

You will develop:

  • Increased understanding of the business you're entering

  • Better quality service delivery

  • Higher customer attraction and retention rates

  • Faster and more efficient business growth

Investing in your capacity building now will pay dividends. You will save time, money and hassle (not to mention the headache of learning ‘absolutely everything’ from scratch) by capitalising on dozens of years of combined coworking leadership and delivery experience from our team.

The team behind the Coworking Accelerator has been pioneering collaborative, people-centred coworking for nearly 15 years, and are experienced in incubating new businesses. We have distilled our experience to help grow the leaders of the coworking movement so that together we can build resilient enterprising communities around the world. We want to improve your future business from the outset.

Our previous participants said:

  • "Packed full of useful information. Worth every penny!" - Karen Bain

  • "If you are thinking about creating a 'true' coworking environment, go on this course” - Ann-Marie Treacy

  • "Invaluable ... [the Coworking Canvas] clearly enhanced our understanding and clarified what we already had in the bag, had already planned for, and what we hadn't given any or sufficient thought to" - Crick Carleton

Designed for leaders, by leaders

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Claire Carpenter,

Founder and CEO,

The Melting Pot

Claire started actively developing her ideas for The Melting Pot in 2005. Her aim was to practically address issues faced by social innovators and the organisations they develop en route to making social change. The coworking space opened in 2007. Claire continues to lead the charity - and explores routes to stimulate and support social innovation through spaces, practical resources and relationships.

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Samantha Hulls,

Head of Collaboration,

Th

e Melting Pot


Sam oversees all the daily operations of The Melting Pot's coworking business division. She is responsible for managing the Hosting team, who cover all service delivery, sales, marketing and communications. Together they strive to make The Melting Pot ‘the best coworking hub in Scotland’. Sam’s background includes event coordination, government policy, and commercial law litigation.

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Naomi Lillie,

Head of Accelerate,

The Melting Pot


Naomi heads up the Coworking Accelerator, providing services devoted to helping emerging and established coworking businesses take a faster and safer route to success: delivering practical resources and expertise to coworking leaders globally, to help them build resilient and enterprising communities locally. Naomi has 20+ years’ experience across the 3 UK sectors and internationally, most recently working remotely for 7 years in ‘tech for good’.

And if you can’t make it?

Finally, we know not everyone can make their way to London for a couple of days (and that, for half the world, it isn’t actually Summer at that time of year...), so if you would be interested in an event like this closer to your own home, please get in touch and get our creative juices going. We would love to consider places beyond the UK where we could help facilitate the journey of others to run your collaborative coworking business with less hassle, risk and cost.

The  Map of Collaborative Coworking  - our CONNECT network around the world

The Map of Collaborative Coworking - our CONNECT network around the world

“Welcome” to our newest CONNECT members!

A year and a half since launching as part of the Coworking Accelerator, the CONNECT network is 133 members strong, with coworking spaces from over 70 countries. Many members are represented on the splendid Map of Collaborative Coworking - and if you are a member but your space is missing on the Map, add it here.

Seeing that our CONNECT network is constantly growing, it seems appropriate to introduce new members to the community. And so, we present to you the new members blog post. (Ta-da!)

These past two months we’ve had six new spaces join us:

  • LABCoworking in Montreal, Canada

  • The Place / VIBES in Progress in Chamant, France

  • WHALE Arts Coworking in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

  • POMAK in Zajecar, Serbia

  • Le Spot in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe

  • and Inspire9 in Richmond, Australia

Some of these are established spaces, while others are an idea gestating in someone’s head. Some are dedicated coworking spaces, while others incorporate coworking as part of a wider community project. The breadth and depth of community-focused coworking is truly amazing, and we are excited to find out more every time a new application comes through. If you are too, read on about some of the new spaces below!

 

WHALE Arts Coworking

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WHALE Arts is a social enterprise and a community-led arts charity. Established in 1992 they are based in the south-west part of Edinburgh, Wester Hailes. As a cultural organisation with the aim to bring community together, it is no surprise that they offer coworking — or that it is centred around people.

We are looking forward to hearing more from them about what can happen at the intersection of art and coworking. If your space connects these two realms too, why not start a conversation with them and tell us what you’ve learned?

 

POMAK

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POMAK in Zajecar, Serbia is run by the Timok Youth Center (TOC) who are a civil society organisation focusing on young people. POMAK is a project and a space which aims to support local economic growth through activism, youth policies and perspectives and creative entrepreneurship. The name in English means “to move”, and the physical space itself contains a coworking hub and enables the co-location of people from creatives to freelancers — again, focusing on community and the young.

With such an inspiring combination of concepts and a focus on youth, POMAK must surely bring together the most interesting people in their space. We look forward to hearing some of their stories, and if you like, you can ask them about their space and project yourself.

 

Inspire9

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Inspire9 is a space dedicated to coworking, with a community of early stage startups, freelancers across technology/business services, social impact and creative entrepreneurs at its core. With a focus on personal growth and connections between their coworkers, they value “community, integrity, growth, creating connections and accountability; all wrapped up in loads of passion.”

Having been around for a while they know how to create a human-focused coworking business with a strong community, and you should ask them about it! We did, and this is what Ren from their team told us:

  • “Diversity in a collaborative community is hard. Never underestimate that. But it's worth it. Take all the time and effort required to understand all perspectives and come to a mutually beneficial outcome. 

  • The kitchen is heart of a community. A messy kitchen reflects residents who don't take pride in their space. It's not all on you to keep it clean. Figure out why people don't care and address that.

  • Growing and cultivating community is a lot like gardening. You need to read the situation as it changes and adjust to suit the conditions. If you're not flexible you'll go insane. 

  • Community and business priorities shouldn't be at odds with each other. If they are, fix it. Focus on your people and what they value above all else. If you get that right, the rest will fall into place.” 

 

If you have joined CONNECT in the past and would like to be introduced to other members retrospectively; if you have something that others would benefit from knowing; or would like to ask a burning question: contact us and we will post about it on our social media!

National and International Leaders EXPLORE Quality Coworking

At our EXPLORE Quality Coworking learning event this month, we hosted a dozen coworking space leaders for two intensive days of brainstorming and connecting with each other, amplifying their enthusiasm and effectiveness as they progressed plans for their new coworking businesses.

This time around we welcomed attendees from Scotland, the UK and as far afield as Australia... all of whom were at different stages of developing their spaces (from those still in the planning stages to others who had spaces up and running for several months).

The event was such a success that we're already planning for another EXPLORE Quality Coworking event for the Autumn! More news to follow very soon: Check here for updated information! 

Supporting Scotland's First National Coworking Day

We were part of a day of Scotland's first National Coworking Day, with free coworking all over Scotland culminating in a celebratory event with talks, music and drinks where Claire gave a Q&A!

A great day was had by all, and we're already looking forward to next year's event.

More Ways To Stay Connected

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No matter where you hang out online, we've got you covered with the Coworking Accelerator's official pages keeping you abreast of coworking industry news and trends to help you grow 🚀

Connect with us wherever you feel most at home:

...and if you can handle even more, join the network for access to exclusive members-only resources! 💪

CUAsia 2018 Workshop: CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN COWORKING

Last month, Claire flew overseas to attend and contribute to the annual Coworking Unconference Asia, this year held in Penang, Malaysia. Using the Coworking Canvas, she led a participatory workshop to identify key factors which will make or break your coworking business

 

The Introductions

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Amongst the 24-7 networking, learning and eating (Penang is famous for food!) Claire made time to lead an interactive workshop with over 40 practitioners from the coworking movement.

A coworking-business specific toolkit - the Coworking Canvas - was used to draw out and prioritise the experience and learning of both experts and newbies, as participants explored factors which would make or break a quality coworking business.

An group introduction allowed everyone to get to know each other and grasp the breadth and width of knowledge in the room. Participants could then identify who they could and should connect with, as the room was full of knowledge representing all stages of the coworking-business journey, from start-ups, experienced practitioners and researchers, to pioneers within the coworking movement. A great mix!

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Participants were split into six groups so the real work began. Each group was set the task to collectively brainstorm the features that would make or break a coworking space based on the key elements of the Coworking Canvas. Needless to say - there was a lot of ideas as well as noise generated!

 

The Coworking Canvas

The Coworking Canvas has been specifically designed by the team behind the Coworking Accelerator Network to provide a simple framework for articulating and developing a quality coworking business. This framework is based on over a decade of personal practical experience, plus research with coworking leaders from around the world listening to their ideas, aspirations, hopes and fears for the movement and growing industry.

Through this, we conclude that good quality coworking businesses incorporate three core values:

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  1. Belonging
  2. Nurturing and
  3. Place-making

There are six essential elements of delivery to build a successful coworking business:

  1. Co-location
  2. Network
  3. Peer Support
  4. Learning
  5. Hosting and
  6. Space

The Coworking Canvas can be used in a variety of ways to help you construct and adapt all of the essential elements of your quality coworking business model. 

 

The Results

Each group arrived at a long list of make/break features for their allocated element of the Coworking Canvas. Out of these long-lists, a short list of 'top priorities' were generated:

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With such breadth of knowledge in the room, it was no surprise that the discussion was lively and inspiring for all. Use this list to focus on your business - how well are you doing against the hit-list and action plan where could you do better?

Thank you to all who attended and hope to see you at CUAsia2019!

 

Stay connected, keep the conversation going and receive more tips and techniques for developing your coworking space: join CONNECT, our peer network offering free knowledge sharing and promotional opportunities for both established spaces and those in development.

 

Refreshing Beechworth

Old Beechworth Gaol has benefited from a one day, bespoke capacity building of staff development through EXPLORE Sense Check. They were provided with fresh perspectives and experience to spot new business opportunities, problem solve & prioritise an action plan.

 
"Thanks Claire for a great day yesterday – feeling absolutely energised and there really were some great ideas shared around the team."

– Clayton Neil, COO, Old Beechworth Gaol

 

Beechworth is a small rural town with a population of 4000, in NE Victoria, Australia, 3.5 hours form Melbourne. 

The Opportunity

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Beechworth has a growing local tourism economy because of its heritage architecture, natural beauty, colourful-history (gold, outlaws), food growing & production and vineyards. However most people rely on the nearby larger centres for employment opportunities. There is significant youth and young adult underemployment and unemployment as a result of the seasonal nature of tourism and its highly casualised employment needs. Many people are forced to leave the community in search of career opportunities and ACRE wants to address this issue by supporting entrepreneurship in Beechworth and attracting international tourists to the area.

The Local Leaders

The Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (a non-profit organisation) has secured the largest community asset buy-back in Australian history, raising $AUS2.7M to secure the town’s old gaol l which closed down in the mid 1990’s. ACRE see quality coworking as critical to the successful future activation of the Old Beechworth Gaol site - as a way to engage local businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as attract and retain young people, new people/families and new businesses to the region.

Why Quality Coworking is Needed Locally

  • To provide opportunities for incubation and acceleration of ideas
  • To connect others who may be working in isolation
  • To enable people to share skills and learn from each other
  • To help create and foster innovation in regional Victoria
  • To provide affordable resources  for people to make business / enterprise happen and therefor create jobs / livelihoods in the area

Vision

They aim to combine great lifestyle, cycling, community, food, wine, and beautiful landscapes with a great place to bring your business and grow a young family.

These extensive and highly unusual buildings and grounds will be home to a thriving multi-purpose hub to support local business and tourism activities, including 3 coworking spaces (shared services offices, kitchen and maker-spaces), visitor attractions (Ned Kelly - famous historical outlaw), indoor and outdoor retail spaces, events spaces and cafes.

Aims to be open by mid 2018

Progress made to date

  • Securing funding and investment to purchase the asset and resource some of the capacity required to work up more detailed implementation plans
  • Key stakeholder engagement – at local and regional level
  • Market research, feasibility study, business modelling, action planning
  • Engage external expertise to shape and make progress on their action plan

Key stumbling blocks

  • Gaining permissions / permits
  • Removing left-over infrastructure at the site to make areas usable/ habitable
  • Securing resources for the project management team to activate the site

How their vision has been ACCELERATED

EXPLORE Sense Check provided a day’s on-site capacity building in September 2017 bringing specialist knowledge and insight to the projects’ delivery team. Topics covered included:

  • What is ‘Quality Coworking’? How and why it works. Outlining key elements for success.
  • Site tour and advice on short/medium and long term opportunities.
  • Core products/services, space design for maximising yield and customer satisfaction (i.e. how much can they earn...?)
  • Understanding and defining their staffing model - who will be doing what to deliver this business? Critical experience, skills, qualities, aptitudes.
  • Planning the critical stages, activities and processes needed to open.
  • Post-opening, how do they actually deliver their services?
  • Marketing strategies, messages, methods, customer segment analysis and outreach. Attracting and retaining the right customers.
  • Identifying key risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Core concepts of quality coworking - using the Coworking Canvas for ongoing staff training and influencing stakeholders.

Outcomes

  • Clarity of direction
  • Identification of new business and income opportunities
  • Prioritisation of phased approach to starting multiple businesses
  • Clarity on where to / not to invest their reserves into the site’s development
  • Generate common language and understanding within the team, to better describe their core activities to stakeholders and potential customers
  • Revitalised energy and motivation of the team through start-up stage
  • Understanding of global trends in coworking

Next steps

  • Further leverage the Coworking Accelerator Network’s knowledge and experience in the development of a great quality coworking space at the Old Beechworth Gaol
  • Start earning unrestricted income from sales of easy-to-activate office spaces and provision of venue for events
  • Scale up delivery of the ‘Ned Kelly Experience’ visitor services
  • Activate a small scale café space for visitors
 

Learn more...