The founders of "The Mixer" in Kirkcaldy have benefitted from over 12 months of ongoing support and capacity building of their staff team. The Coworking Accelerator Network's EXPLORE Scoping Support services have provided them with guidance, knowledge and experience, and help in shaping their opportunities.
"We have undertaken a feasibility study and are developing a business plan with a view to developing a shared coworking space here in Kirkcaldy.
"In our opinion The Coworking Accelerator Network’s core values of belonging, nurturing and place-making can be an integral part of Kirkcaldy Town Centre’s regeneration process."
Bill Harvey - BID Coordinator, Kirkcaldy4All
The coastal town of Kirkcaldy in Fife is some 30 miles NE of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city (population circa 50,000). In its heyday the town was famous for its mile-long high street, and seaside promenade. Like many small towns in the UK, over the last 40 years the town has lost its uniqueness and associated vibrancy, and is economically struggling with many empty retail properties, low industry, and inhabitants who commute to the city for work.
The Local Leaders
Kirkcaldy4All is a non-profit company which runs the BID (Business Improvement District) for the town - though this is up for renewal in 2020. This established local economic development organisation has led many successful and innovative initiatives and works closely with Fife Council who are looking at funding the fit-out of a suitable property to take forward this new idea for the area.
Why Quality Coworking is Needed Locally
- For future activation of local entrepreneurs and small businesses, and a way to practically support and engage them to start and grow their business
- Attracting foot-fall, spend and new business to the town and high street
- Retain people (especially commuters) in the region and improve their quality of life
To bring a coworking space to Kirkcaldy which will become a hub for local entrepreneurs and businesses, complementing our overall aim to improve the trading environment of the Town Centre.
By 2020, to open 2,500 square feet of shared office (open plan) space located on the High Street above an already thriving retail cluster (coffee shop, quality butcher and ice cream parlour). Core services include:
- fixed desks
- virtual office services
- venue hire
Progress made to date
- Search and identification of suitable premises
- Key stakeholder engagement and buy-in
- Identification and securing of some business development resource
- Market research and feasibility study showing interest and demand
- Staff training on essential elements needed for delivery of the business model (through EXPLORE Quality Coworking Learning Event)
- Site visits to other small coworking spaces
Key stumbling blocks
- Losing out by £1k on securing a building at auction, and associated dip in motivation
- Lack of resource within a small busy team
How their vision has been ACCELERATED
EXPLORE Scoping Support has provided Kirkcaldy4All with ongoing on-site and remote capacity building consultancy from early 2017 onwards, leveraging our knowledge and experience in the development of their own quality coworking business.
We have supported staff through the business exploration process – market research, feasibility study, business modelling and action planning – including:
- Engagement with their critical stakeholders - to bring them on board
- Informing market research activities and feasibility study assessment
- Site visits of potential buildings and advice on suitability
- Space and service design for maximising yield
- Outlining key elements for success in their business model
- Defining core products/services
- Planning the critical stages, activities and processes needed to get open
- Maintaining motivation and momentum
"We are excited at the prospect of bringing this new venture to fruition in the not too distant future."
– Bill Harvey - BID Coordinator, Kirkcaldy4All
- Motivation of the team through their start-up stage
- Clarity of opportunity, risks and rewards for their organisation
- Prioritisation plan of approach
- Generate common language and understanding within the team, to better describe their core activities to stakeholders and potential customers
- Expedite appropriate market research
- Understanding of global trends in coworking
- Connection with other Scottish-based emerging leaders / place-makers
- Business modelling and space design in proposed property
- Planning for and securing resources for fit-out
- Creating business plan
- Marketing strategy
- Marketing and recruitment
- Staff training