6: Growing a Coworking Space in a Small City - with David and Joy Taylor

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We hear from David and Joy Taylor who set up “Canvas Coworking” in a small city in Australia. Their journey began in 2012, when they started by talking to lots of people and hosting coffee-mornings to engage their local community and find out what was needed.

After starting with a popup space in a café, they looked for a larger “dual purpose” space which they could set up how they liked, and were able to run workshops and events to test and “prove” the business model.

The next step was to find a permanent space they could lease. With volunteer support (including David and Joy volunteering their own time) they managed to set up their full-time home which is now owned and run by the community. 

David speaks about some of the challenges they’ve faced, including educating people on the difference between coworking and serviced office space, and getting their local council to understand what they were trying to achieve, which didn’t quite match what the council themselves wanted to deliver in the early stages.

We also hear about 

  • how their coworking space has been able to deliver what the community has needed
  • the opportunities it’s created for coworkers to give back
  • the challenge of coworkers driving to the coworking space and needing parking, versus using public transport
  • attracting coworkers from outside the city
  • the successes they’ve had in supporting members to get funding to develop what they’re passionate about

Finally, we also hear from one of their members, Jinhee, about the journey he’s embarked on as a result of finding David and Joy’s coworking space.

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5: Coworking at Scale - With Charu and Zaid from 91 Springboard in India

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Claire speaks with Charu and Zaid from 91 Springboard in India. Their organisation has nearly 200 staff across 15 locations after 5 years, including India’s biggest coworking hub (68,000 sq. ft.) with a capacity for 1200 members.

They talk about occupancy and growth rates and the ‘product mix’ that their spaces provide, and how their members’ needs dictate these, as well as influencing their opening hours.

Springboard recognises that a community manager’s job is to know their members well, so they have a maximum ratio of managers to members of 1:100.

They speak about the challenges of scaling, understanding the coworking business model, trial and error, experimentation and learning fast.

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4: Creating an Arctic Coworking Lodge - With Rolf and Stian in Norway

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Rolf Oftedal and Stian Morel, a pair of surfers, had a dream of opening their very own coworking and coliving space. They live in Norway and fell in love with Lofoten. Already a popular destination for many Norwegians, and boasting some truly stunning scenery, as well as some decent – if not entirely tropical – surf spots, they decided that Lofoten would be the perfect location to open their own coworking space, so they went on a journey to find a space and fit it out.

They made a lot of connections with other people and some existing coworking spaces along the way, and as they prepare to launch in June 2018, we caught up with them to find out how they got the idea and how they plan to run a sustainable, quality coworking space in a fairly remote – but not too remote! – and beautiful part of the world.

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3: Rise of the Digital Nomad and Location Independent Working – With Paul Green, Social Anthropologist

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Paul Green, a Social Anthropologist at Melbourne University, talks to us about the effects that the rise of the Digital Nomad and Location Independent Working are having on communities and coworking spaces, and the opportunities and challenges this presents for coworking businesses, tourism, brain drain, and governmental policy around the world.

Paul's research focuses on the life experiences and mobility practices of digital nomads, or location independent professionals, in the context of theoretical concerns about mobility, self and place-making, and the future of travel and work.

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2: Successful Coworking in Rural Towns – With Tim Ford, Cohoots Coworking

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Cohoots Coworking is one of the original members of the Coworking Accelerator Network, and established their space in 2014 in Castlemaine near Melbourne, Australia.

Claire spoke with Tim at CUAsia 2018 about the importance of financial viability for smaller spaces, the benefit of putting on events, and the concept of "inside out coworking".

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