"Hot desks can be rented for one to five days a week - prices are the cheapest in Aotearoa with a single day costing just 25 dollars. All levels of coworkers have use of printing, internet and (of course) coffee."
'Work Done Different'
13 June 2018
Launch! is not a shared office, it is 'work done different'.
At least that is the motto of Tarawhiti Gisborne's newest entrepreneurial and coworking space.
Launch! officially opened last month as part of Tairawhiti Techweek '18 but its story starts last year, when Eastland Community Trust and Ngati Porou Holding Company began work on the idea of a bringing a tech’ hub to the region.
"This evolved into a coworking and entrepreneur concept," says ECT project manager Jacque White.
Ms White was in charge of taking Launch! from concept to reality, after the ECT board gave the green light for funding in February of this year.
A local focus group was formed to determine what the region really wanted out of a coworking space.
Three months later, the upstairs of The Works Bar and Restaurant has been overhauled from the temporary Gisborne District Council offices, to something resembling a New York loft.
The interior exposed brick and wooden beams accentuated by the open plan desk setup, coffee machine, a staff table come bar leaner which doubles as a table tennis table, giant paper ream for residents to write their events and ideas, two private meeting rooms with video conferencing technology, printer copier, fibre internet and smart TV complete with couches.
"It has been amazing to see it come to life," says Ms White.
"It has been a real community effort, we researched different coworking spaces nationally and internationally, then cherry picked things we thought matched what the focus group outlined."
Launch! works on a desk rental system. There are eight permanent desks - two of which have already been snapped up by Amanti Tourism subsidiary Pohewa - and 18 hot desks.
Hot desks can be rented for one to five days a week - prices are the cheapest in Aotearoa with a single day costing just 25 dollars. All levels of coworkers have use of printing, internet and (of course) coffee.
Riposte Analytics founder Debs Hancock hot desks two days a week at Launch!. Riposte is an application that aims to harness the value of social data from social media, to help organisations better understand the trends and issues within their communities.
Prior to Launch! opening Mrs Hancock had been working from home.
"Before going out on my own, I had always worked in a team and had really been missing those work relationships. I have only just started at Launch! but have already had interesting conversations with other residents about their backgrounds and work projects."
Ms White says collaboration between residents is a major part of the appeal behind creating a coworking space.
"The great thing about coworking around the world is that residents use each other’s skill sets to better their own projects. Having a place where small businesses and start-ups can go creates an eco-system where skill sharing and ideas flow freely.
"At the end of the day it is about bettering the regional economy by providing a space where entrepreneurs are able to flourish and work together.”
Mrs Hancock says another benefit has been increased productivity.
"If you are working from home how often do you find yourself procrastinating when you get to a tough task by doing things around the house? I have been amazed how less distracted I am at Launch!.
"Working from home can be lonely and it really helps sitting next to passionate and driven people who are working hard."
Other hotdeskers include Honest Day's Work founder Andrew Lawton, Mish Guru remote worker Kristy Burden and Her Corner founder Frederique Irwin.
Mrs Hancock is a prime example of how Launch! is servicing a previously unmet community need.
"I am seeing more people being able to work remotely and relocating to Tairawhiti either for the lifestyle or to be closer to family."
Mrs Hancock exemplifies both the above, she relocated from Auckland with her husband and one-year-old and one on the way in 2014 to be closer to family in Wairoa.
"I am also seeing more people leave their jobs to start their own businesses, talk more about future job security and take on numerous contracts to create multiple income streams.
"If these trends continue, supportive work spaces like Launch! will be really important for the community."
Mrs Hancock says the collaborative potential is very exciting.
"You never know what opportunities those relationships will lead to in the future - especially when there is a shared sense of gratitude of being able to live, work and raise children in such a beautiful location.