MEMBER COMMS. Community workspaces – fire and air for a new wave of entrepreneurs

Start-ups launched in UK cities are being jet-propelled by a network of enterprise support hubs.

Forget the rat: 2020 was the year of the Start-up. Record numbers of UK businesses were launched from spare bedrooms and garages during the pandemic, and whilst Covid-19 hijacked lives and livelihoods, it also gifted thousands of entrepreneurs the time to take their first steps into self-employment.

Guiding those steps with critical funding, advice and support were the Enterprise Hubs, Business Support Communities and Start Up Loan delivery partners across the UK — the unsung heroes in the fight to Build Back Better.

The enterprise support sector is helping emerging businesses to get off the ground with the provision of co-working spaces — where the cogs of innovation turn into fast-growing commercial engines.

UK Government has recognised the critical role that entrepreneurs will play in the country’s economic recovery after Covid-19. A Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) led by George Freeman MP is committed to stimulating business dynamism and innovation, and ensuring that businesses can scale up. A key way that the enterprise support sector supports these efforts and drives entrepreneurial success is the provision of co-working space; enabling “people who want to start businesses actually start businesses, in the right way.” — Davies Okeowo, Birmingham Enterprise Community

North East Workspace offer a secure bike shed and shower facilities to tenants

In this fascinating blog by Project North East, Sam Whitehouse, CEO and co-Founder of LightOx explains what attracted him to the North East Workspace: “the easy-in easy-out monthly terms are great for start-ups. It’s an easily accessible venue to meet potential funders, experts and partners from across the North East.”

You’ve got the spark, who can help you light the touch paper?

In these socially distanced co-working spaces, business plans are breathed into life and first-time founders begin their entrepreneurial journey with a trained business advisor beside them.

A host of National Enterprise Network members offer serviced office space across England, in which entrepreneurs can surround themselves with likeminded people and build their networks in a creative and supportive environment.

The shared Business Hub at MENTA in Suffolk — a member of NEN

Fire needs air

For many of us, home-working creates a sense of “always being at work”, and whilst this M.O. has significant downsides longer-term, in the short-term it lends itself well to the intense period of passion-fuelled, high-energy work needed to get a business ready for launch. According to "the real challenge is keeping people from working too hard and helping them fight the burnout that could turn a short-term productivity gain into a long-term drain”. But how do you stop your own burnout when you’ve just taken the leap become your own boss?

The solution: find your nearest NEN Member and reserve a desk alongside like-minded entrepreneurs.

Colchester Business Enterprise Agency offer “agile” workspace

Take the business you built in your bedroom, out of your bedroom

Outside of your home, away from personal distractions, you can step fully into your power and purpose as a new business owner and flourish in an enterprise support hub. And if you have any wobbles along the way, an army of business advisors are waiting to offer advice. We’ve got you.

Search our directory to find an NEN Member in your region* and read this success story from North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC)about a “one-man-band who now has a fast-growing business and is creating “scores of jobs.”

(This blog was written by Amy Knight at NEN’s new HQ — Spaces Milton Keynes )

NEN are new to this slick, minimalist working environment but we’ve made ourselves at home between the well-s p a c e d seating, comfortable sound-proof booths and full-height glass doors leading onto a terrace which overlooks the city. The brightly-coloured covers of magazines and books shine out at us from the shelves – written by, and for, entrepreneurs.

We are surrounded by designers, thinkers, dreamers, makers, experimenters, starters. The very people our members exist to support. We’ve found our tribe.

The co-founders of Jam Jam Cards in the 3rd floor lounge Spaces MK who shared their journey with Amy: “This time last year I was sleeping on an airbed on his floor and we had one computer between us. We’ve just hit £100k turnover and expect to double it this year.” There are so many success stories waiting to be uncovered across the enterprise support sector. Watch. This. Space(s).

*Like you, NEN members can work remotely. Business support is available over video calls if you don’t fancy a face to face meeting. Not sure which support hub is right for you? Contact National Enterprise Network and they’ll hook you up.

This blog was written by Amy Knight at NEN’s new HQ — Spaces Milton Keynes

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About National Enterprise Network

National Enterprise Network’s Mission is to represent, unite and support all organisations who are passionate about inspiring and encouraging enterprise. We support our membership by: Representing their interests to government and others in the public and private sector, showcasing a unique national network of credible, quality assured enterprise support organisations. Promoting the successes they achieve and demonstrating the value they add to local communities and the wider economy. Connecting them to people and projects inside and outside the Network, to share valuable knowledge, skills and opportunities for even greater success.

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