Entrepreneurship has no geographical boundaries and technology means people can now start and run a successful digital business from anywhere with an Internet connection. Broadband, Wi-Fi, laptops, smartphones and cloud apps give tech entrepreneurs and their teams the freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they wish to work.
Although many new business owners may wish to run it from home to keep costs down or to fit around family commitments, humans need regular social interaction which partly explains why there’s been such a rapid increase in the number of co-working spaces across the UK.
All of the cities listed in the ‘Tech Nation: Powering the Digital Economy 2015‘ report offer some form of co-working or hot-desking facility with desk space that can be hired by the hour, day, week, month or year. However, it’s not just affordable rents that attract tech entrepreneurs. It’s also the buzz and vibe of the place and the promise of being surrounded by similar, like-minded people who they can be inspired by and potentially collaborate with.
It’s no coincidence that big businesses have built or modified their offices to encourage greater collaboration with Steve Jobs famously redesigning the office of Pixar to do just that. My former employer Sage also has a hugely impressive atrium at their global headquarters in Newcastle that is constantly buzzing with people holding a meeting or discussing ideas over coffee. Indeed, some of my best ideas have stemmed from conversations I’ve had with colleagues in such places, in corridors or as we ‘walked and talked’ from one office to the next.
However, co-working spaces in city centre locations aimed at startups and freelancers have the added benefits of being more easily accessible by public transport, are usually in areas with lots of interesting cafes, restaurants, bars and shops nearby that appeal to tech and creative entrepreneurs and also often provide a busy programme of events and meetups to educate and inspire.
The newly-formed Tech North team is a mobile one that spans tech clusters across; Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland, so we intend to make full use of all the awesome co-working spaces in the North of England each week. So, if you see any of us at one of them, please come and say “Hi” and tell us what you do, as it’s our mission to help support and promote the tech industry in the North.
In the meantime, please follow us on Twitter @TechNorthHQ and let us know which co-working spaces we should be visiting next. Thanks! #coworking #technorth
Paul Lancaster is a Community Engagement Manager at Tech North.