Region to join co-working movement

'Launch' co-working centre planned.

'Launch' co-working centre planned.

Twenty-four prospective members have registered for the planned co-working centre, some of them also meeting to discuss their needs and help in the development of the space. Picture supplied

Activate Tairawhiti is looking to introduce the region’s first co-working centre, Launch! — and the idea of working in a shared, vibrant, tech-driven space seems to have hit a chord with local entrepreneurs.

Initial interest in the concept has been strong, with around 24 prospective members registered for the 30-odd spaces available.

Co-working spaces are membership-based workspaces where a diverse group of freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals work in a shared, communal setting. Generally, the spaces feature rented desks in a variety of flexible options, well-spec’d meeting and presentation spaces, and are home to a range of start-up and small business support services.

The co-working movement has its origins among freelancers, entrepreneurs and the tech industry. But it’s increasingly relevant for broader professionals — especially those working remotely.

Three reasons why co-working spaces thrive

A study by the Harvard Business School identified three key reasons why co-working spaces thrive.

No.1: People who use co-working spaces see their work as meaningful. Typically, freelancers choose projects they care about and within the space have plenty of opportunity to share what they do, and what makes them interesting and distinctive. They also work in an environment where helping each other out is part of the culture and where values such as community, collaboration, learning and sustainability are consistently reinforced.

No.2: Flexibility and autonomy. Members can manage their workloads in a way that suits their own working style and client demands. But the community or team environment within the centre often supports members to create structure and discipline, and maintain motivation.

No.3: Community. Connection with others is the big reason people pay to work in a communal space. Each centre has its own curated and unique experience or culture that meets the needs of its members. There is the potential for personal interactions whenever a member wants them. Equally there is ample time to be left to get on with it.

According to project manager Jacque White, Launch! will be well-placed to support thriving business.

“Before putting the concept in the public realm, we researched national and international best practice — tempering that with what’s feasible for our community. As a result, we’ve gathered some great ideas for the technology, fit-out, and membership structure. We’re really excited about what the space could become,” she says.

“Collaboration is a key concept in the co-working movement so we’ve also been working with a small group of potential users to really get to grips with what will make our space responsive to the unique needs of those running businesses in Tairawhiti.

“Connectivity was their absolute priority,” she says. “Not just the ability via technology to connect to external markets, but the opportunity to facilitate interpersonal connections in a place where like-minded business people can work, share and support each other.”

Activate Tairawhiti general manager Steve Breen says Launch! has the potential to become a serious business incubator.

“The idea of Launch! is that it affords start-ups an opportunity to stay lean in the early stages of growth. Launch! provides an inexpensive avenue for support and relationship building, as well as a lively and dynamic atmosphere that encourages connection, and inspires productivity and creativity.”

As members prove their business, Mr Breen says they will naturally outgrow the co-working space and be ready to take on the financial risk of their own offices, making room for the next start-up in the process.

Like many such spaces, Launch! will require financial support before the co-working space is commercially viable. Extending the region’s digital infrastructure and reach is identified as a strategic priority in the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan, and Eastland Community Trust CEO Gavin Murphy says ECT and Activate Tairawhiti are prepared to invest in the region’s digital future.

“ECT is seeking investments that stimulate a culture of technology and innovation in the region and we believe that Launch! is a good way to move that conversation forward,” he says.

Activate Tairawhiti is looking to introduce the region’s first co-working centre, Launch! — and the idea of working in a shared, vibrant, tech-driven space seems to have hit a chord with local entrepreneurs.

Initial interest in the concept has been strong, with around 24 prospective members registered for the 30-odd spaces available.

Co-working spaces are membership-based workspaces where a diverse group of freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals work in a shared, communal setting. Generally, the spaces feature rented desks in a variety of flexible options, well-spec’d meeting and presentation spaces, and are home to a range of start-up and small business support services.

The co-working movement has its origins among freelancers, entrepreneurs and the tech industry. But it’s increasingly relevant for broader professionals — especially those working remotely.

Three reasons why co-working spaces thrive

A study by the Harvard Business School identified three key reasons why co-working spaces thrive.

No.1: People who use co-working spaces see their work as meaningful. Typically, freelancers choose projects they care about and within the space have plenty of opportunity to share what they do, and what makes them interesting and distinctive. They also work in an environment where helping each other out is part of the culture and where values such as community, collaboration, learning and sustainability are consistently reinforced.

No.2: Flexibility and autonomy. Members can manage their workloads in a way that suits their own working style and client demands. But the community or team environment within the centre often supports members to create structure and discipline, and maintain motivation.

No.3: Community. Connection with others is the big reason people pay to work in a communal space. Each centre has its own curated and unique experience or culture that meets the needs of its members. There is the potential for personal interactions whenever a member wants them. Equally there is ample time to be left to get on with it.

According to project manager Jacque White, Launch! will be well-placed to support thriving business.

“Before putting the concept in the public realm, we researched national and international best practice — tempering that with what’s feasible for our community. As a result, we’ve gathered some great ideas for the technology, fit-out, and membership structure. We’re really excited about what the space could become,” she says.

“Collaboration is a key concept in the co-working movement so we’ve also been working with a small group of potential users to really get to grips with what will make our space responsive to the unique needs of those running businesses in Tairawhiti.

“Connectivity was their absolute priority,” she says. “Not just the ability via technology to connect to external markets, but the opportunity to facilitate interpersonal connections in a place where like-minded business people can work, share and support each other.”

Activate Tairawhiti general manager Steve Breen says Launch! has the potential to become a serious business incubator.

“The idea of Launch! is that it affords start-ups an opportunity to stay lean in the early stages of growth. Launch! provides an inexpensive avenue for support and relationship building, as well as a lively and dynamic atmosphere that encourages connection, and inspires productivity and creativity.”

As members prove their business, Mr Breen says they will naturally outgrow the co-working space and be ready to take on the financial risk of their own offices, making room for the next start-up in the process.

Like many such spaces, Launch! will require financial support before the co-working space is commercially viable. Extending the region’s digital infrastructure and reach is identified as a strategic priority in the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan, and Eastland Community Trust CEO Gavin Murphy says ECT and Activate Tairawhiti are prepared to invest in the region’s digital future.

“ECT is seeking investments that stimulate a culture of technology and innovation in the region and we believe that Launch! is a good way to move that conversation forward,” he says.

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