Activate Tairāwhiti investigates coworking centre
15 February 2018
Activate Tairāwhiti is looking to introduce Tairāwhiti's first coworking centre, Launch! and is seeking expressions of interest from local entrepreneurs attracted to the idea of working in a shared, modern, vibrant, tech-driven space.
The coworking concept is popular around the world with centres like Chicago’s 1874 epitomising the concept. In New Zealand, there are a number of such spaces, most supported with funding from organisations like Activate Tairāwhiti, who is working with Ngati Porou Holdings on the project.
Activate Tairāwhiti general manager, Steve Breen, says the time is right for the region to consider a coworking space of its own.
“The idea of Launch! is to provide an innovative, well-spec’d shared working environment where fledgling businesses can establish themselves.
“Generally, these spaces are popular with those working in the digital and creative industries, but are perfect for anyone whose ideas might benefit from collaboration and extra energy. They also attract freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals missing the benefits of working in a shared setting,” he says.
Mr Breen says, the vision is to provide flexible solutions for a range of start-ups.
“Members will be offered a range of services from hot-desking and resident desk options as well as access to well spec'd meeting and presentation spaces.”
A range of support services will be available – beginning with easy access to existing regional support networks and growing with demand to provide a new range of start-up specific tools and resources.
“We use the coworking space like an incubator. Launch! will afford start-ups an opportunity to stay lean in the early stages of growth while they build their business and income. We’ll provide 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 coworking space and be ready to take on the financial risk of their own offices, making room for the next start-up in the process.
The concept has already found favour locally with one tech start-up securing space. But one tenant does not make a centre.
“We need to hear from others interested in coworking so that we can provide a service that works for our region.”
Mr Breen says the organisation is also looking for co-designers.
“While this model is new to our region, we know there are those who have used coworking services elsewhere, or have thought about setting up something similar in the region. This concept is all about collaboration and we’d love to hear from people interested in helping shape the space.
“Once we understand interest and expectations, we’ll be able to finalise the business case,” he says.