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    Share the Failure

    FuckUp Night, Pt. 2

    Thursday, 9th of March we had the 2nd ever FuckUp Night in Cape Town, and my goodness, what a night. First off, we had 4 Entrepreneurs this time, not just the usual 3 and they were as diverse as they were entertaining! But before we get there, first some housekeeping.

    First up, the venue, Canterbury Club on Canterbury Street did a fine job in keeping the attendees, speakers and production team well lubricated with a beautiful array of Mexican inspired “Minty Mojitos & Tequila Sunrise” on the night at the more than reasonable cost of R45 each! And they were damn tasty folks! [see pic] 

    Mojitos by Canterbury Club

    Refreshments keeping our Entrepreneurs fueled on the night.

    Doors opened at 17h45 and everyone had an  hour to grab a drink, meet some new people and settle in to a good seat for the night. Our MC’s for the night, were none other than CTO Chiefs (that’s members), brothers Ollie & James Boyers of Chartall Business College. For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief snapshot of what they do…

    Chartall Business College provides accredited online learning to individual and corporate clients in South Africa. 

    First up, we had the very accomplished Founder of Thope Foundation, Rethabile Mashale Sonibare to deliver what was an insightful look into the complicated world of growing an NPO in South Africa. The complexities of skills required are not dissimilar to those required in running any other business, from managing finances to finding the right people to help you drive the mission forward. 

    Thope FoundationThope came close to running on empty, when Rethabile took the brave and somewhat radical decision in 2016 to change the business model to pursue what many might consider a more sustainable business model that actually looks to create and maintain a revenue stream, outside of what donors and benefactors bring to the table. This shift, has seen a successful bid to financing their own school, that will remain focused on providing STEM education to young girls in Khayelitsha. To keep up with their progress, on the school and how you might be able to get involved, follow www.thopefoundation.org 

    Our second speaker for the night, Mr Kean Graham Founder and CEO of Monetize More shared the tale of a most extraordinary challenge in 2013. One morning, he opened up his laptop to find that Google has not only banned  one their top clients, but were also withholding more than $2m in revenue! It was a long and painful path that lay ahead for the Monetize More team, but they managed to come out stronger, with more robust security features and screening processes and despite the tremendous cash flow problems, retained all their staff! 

    keangraham

     

    His parting words to the audience….simple.

     

     

     

    After a 10 minute interval, so we could refresh our drinks and run to the loo, the 3rd speaker of the night was up, Thorsten Rauser! His story was a simple one, albeit and expensive one. In an attempt to immolate the great game shows of the day, he came up with a revolutionary online game where a small entry fee could see you take the pot of winnings at the end of the game. He sought the advice of some pretty experienced folks and despite their advice to NOT do this, Raus pushed ahead and created the game. 

    Thorsten Rauser

    He raised a whopping R20m in venture capital funding and off he went. However, a few months in….the dreaded reality set in, the advice he was given by the experts, were in fact, right. Raus went from a Jaguar driving multi-millionaire to having to hand the keys of his beloved steed back in a matter of weeks! The fall was hard, but like all fuckups, the learning invaluable.

    Today, Raus is heading up his new startup, The Binary Family, and with a formidable team they create beautiful mobile application and brain teasing games that keep millions of people entertained! 

    Our final speaker of the night, Justin R.Melville is somewhat of a legend when it comes to startup failures, being the only one of our line up that’s actually referenced by a US University as an example of a spectacular failure. But there is a fine, fine line between one who simply fails and the mavericks of our startup landscape who truly innovate and create the next “big thing”. There are too many great lessons to reference here, sadly you should have been at FuckUp Night to hear them for yourself, but I will leave you with the one pearl of wisdom he left the audience with.

    When things start falling apart, reach out and share it with the world. You never know who might be out there, ready to lend a hand or a few dollars.

    Oh and this peach…the 3 ingredients needed to make your startup a success. 

    justin

     

    Today, Justin is the Founder and CEO of Ekaya.com a property mobile application that connects people looking to rent their dream home, to those who own them. 

    Ekaya.com

    The tool that won a thousand apartments

    The next FuckUp Night will take place on Wednesday, 19 April and you’ll be a fool to miss it. Make sure you follow our social media feeds, from Twitter to Instagram and Facebook – all @fuckupnightscpt for updates, news and ticket releases. 

    If you’d like to get in touch with any of our speakers, please drop me a line & I’ll put you in touch.

    Cheers,

    Lizelle & the FuckUp Night Cape Town team. 

    #ShareTheFailure 

     

    March 13, 2017
    Africa APP development Business co-working Collaborate community conference cowork coworking Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network hub incubators Investment networking Shared Office SME SouthAfrica Start-up techhubs Uncategorized

    Coworking Africa, a growing community.

    coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Coworking Africa

    On the 5th of February we had the 2nd meetup of Coworking Africa at the Design Bank, in the East City of Cape Town. Organised by the Coworking Europe crew, this was very much a spur of the moment event as a follow on from the very first gathering in 2015.

    Like the first #CWAfrica conference, the content was rich and the contributors all evangelical about the growth of the coworking movement on African soil. What’s clear is that we [operators / owners] are all passionate about the people we’re creating these amazing spaces for; the freelancers, the entrepreneurs, the lone rangers out on a mission to start his/her own business and desperate to get out of “coffee shop working” and into a community of like minds. We understand how crucial enabling this environment is to the bigger picture, i.e. the growth of our economy and that any part we can play in helping the start-ups and small businesses can only be a great thing for the South African and greater African economy.

    For example, we heard at the meet up that there’s so much good news around the growth of Fintech in Cape Town, be it the vast amount of talent Cape Town has to offer the Tech (global) scene, that could rival any San Francisco, London and Silicon Valley today. And the influx of investment that leads to the creation of more Hubs and Incubators that in turn feeds beautifully into coworking spaces. It’s all very good news!

    Now for the part that’s not so good… YET! A clear message from the unconference part of the day was that more needs to be done to assist those who live outside of our cities, in townships and informal settlements to help become part of our coworking communities. It’s not enough to offer discounted or even free space to these entrepreneurs and freelancers. Paying for a desk is only one part of the problem, what about the nearly R2,000 per month to travel in and out of town on top, not to mention lunch!

    We don’t have the answers to these complex social issues, not by a long shot, but participating in platforms like Coworking Africa brings us a little closer to finding those sustainable solutions. I look forward to the continued discussion around this subject and welcome you – yes you reading this – to put forward any ideas on how we can make this a reality.

    A big thanks to Vanessa and Coworking Africa for putting the day together with the help of Steven from The Design Bank and all the lovely people I met on the day! To catch the presentations and an overview by the organisors, read up about it here, http://coworkingafrica.com/2016/02/15/a-look-back-at-the-second-coworking-africa-2016-meetup/

    Keep an eye out for the next meetup & hope to see you there!

    Lizelle

     

    February 15, 2016
    APP development Business Business Plan Cape Town co-working Content Creator Design Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Investment Not for Profit Outdoor gear Pitch Shared Office SME Social media Start-up Student Uncategorized

    These major coworking events will take place in 2015

    Coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Almost 300,000 people have worked in nearly 6000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of this year. The coworking movement acquires maturity, expanding with bigger spaces and more locations, an higher diversity of business models, and exploring more niches. This development will be also reflected in more coworking events next year. Asia’s first coworking unconference will be held in Bali.

    The Global Coworking Unconference Conference is going to California. However, it won’t take place only once, but three times, by popping up in Australia and Canada as well. And Africa will get its first dedicated conference on coworking, in Cape Town. It’s time to mark your fresh calendar with the upcoming major events on coworking in 2015!

    Click on the link to get the full list –> http://www.deskmag.com/en/these-major-coworking-conferences-events-barcamps-will-take-place-in-2015

    Via http://www.deskmag.com/

    deskmag

    March 09, 2015
    APP development Business Business Plan Cape Town co-working Content Creator Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Internet Shared Office SME Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    So who CoWorks in a space like CTO?

    DSC_0467 (2)

    I often get asked “what other businesses are in the space”, so thought it was time for an update. What’s lovely is the variety of “trades” we have here at Cape Town Office which really creates opportunity for everyone to naturally network. Also, some of you might be interested to learn that not all our members are Entrepreneurs either. We have three companies that use CTO as a base for their employees, two in the UK and one in the USA. We also had our very first UNISA undergraduate join the CTO this month as he simply needed a quiet, focused space to do his studying from away from home.

    Sometimes its not about anything more than breaking the dreaded isolation curse that so many people face when working from home. Socially a space like this can be very uplifting and naturally help someone who might be stuck in a rut change tact in their business to gain better results. Sometimes its just a bit of human interaction that’s required to lift the spirits after a tough day in the office and comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. Many other Entrepreneurs have been in your position and there is a way out!

    We have Graphic designers, Content creators, Financial analyst, Aluminum Composite Panels suppliers, Architects, Software developers specializing in interactive digital display installations, Knitwear, Not for profit, Videographer and even Tour operators and more…

    Here’s a quick list…

    Shane / Ridhu / Richard, Digital genii of RenderHeads

    Ronelle, Founder of TREK outdoor survival gear  and Graphic Designer, GraficTrafic

    Rethabile, Founder of  Thope Foundation

    Michael, Website guru of Solutions Web

    David, Entrepreneur and Founder of NitroCreamy & Missing Piece Films 

    Thorsten, Social Media Consultations and Website Design / www.thorsteneggert.com

    Julian, Chief of Head Stream Water Solutions

    Naomi, Operations behind Khuluma Education

    Anthony, Sales engine of DrinC

    Pete, Illustrator and Founder of LightSpeedDesign

    Annie, Inbound Product and Operations Manager for Jacada Travel

    Tobias & Ann-Marie, Founders and Creative monkeys behind LEVR Creations. (Architects / Interior Design / Furniture)

    Kevin, Sales & Marketing engine of Chocolate & Love

    Amy, Designer for Top Left Design UK

    Dylan & Meagan, Support operators for Order Talk US

    Andrew, Freelance online marketing  & content creator for www.capetownbig6.co.za www.capepoint.co.za www.civair.co.za

    Roberto, Energy Trading Analyst for Trailstone

    Sean, Sales Genius for Alcobond 

    Lizelle (that’s me), Founder of LVR – Business to Business lead generation / marketing

    John & Sonja of Big Blue Sky Tours – Independent Tour Operators

    Brigitta, who with her mom run a small family business supplying quality Knitwear to South African high street retailers

    Denise, in the throws of writing a book & doing her Post PHD

    Guiseppe, doing his Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing via Unisa

    Roelf, Founder of Extra Mile Cabs (Pty) Ltd

    Johann, our resident IT guru – MyIT FIX (website coming soon)

    So, that’s the current list of CTO members and more joining us every week now which is just brilliant. Keep in touch via Twitter @capetownoffice or Facebook /capetownoffice for all the goings on at CTO. If this sounds like it could be a solution for you, don’t wait – pop in & see what you’re missing out on!

    #cowork #network #collaborate

    Best,

    Lizelle

     

    October 17, 2014
    APP development Business Business Plan Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Investment Pitch Shared Office SME Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    Seeking investment? The Supper Club Angels’ Tips to a Winning Pitch

    The Supper Club is the UK’s leading membership club exclusively for fast growth entrepreneurs of mid-sized businesses, encouraging business leaders to inspire, support and challenge each other in the pursuit of business growth. http://www.thesupperclub.com/

    By The Supper Club (UK) 

    Are you seeking investment?

    Raising money for SMEs and start-ups is not an easy job and one of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face. Angel investors can be a valuable option and source of funding, support and expertise.

    Our Investment Club runs twice a year, offering you the opportunity to raise investment via our panel of vetted and experienced entrepreneurs. With a combined turnover of around £150M our Supper Club Angels can offer expertise in a variety of sectors such as; technology, gaming, property, logistics and business services.

    In such a competitive environment, having the right information is your best tool. Here are our Supper Club Angels’ top tips on working up a winning pitch:

    Investors often look to invest in the people ahead of the business. Be confident, speak in plain English and ensure you come across as polished. Make sure you explain who your team is and why they are the right people to drive success.

    The scalability of your venture is what will appeal to investors so aim for an exciting but realistic outlook. Emphasise existing revenues and customers if you have them as these will give investors a lot of confidence. Be clear on the risks and how you will address them.

    State what your own personal investment in the venture has been or will be. Investors will not put money in if you haven’t put in some of your own cash and time. Investors will place a premium on you if you work in your venture full-time as this demonstrates your commitment.

    Keep your business plan short, around 2-3 pages, be concise, focus on what the reader needs to know and remove any fluff. The plan should explain clearly how you deliver value to your customers and extract value from them along with a realistic financial projection.

    Get to grips with the finances! Whoever you are pitching to will want to see that you have a very tight plan, know every future figure and know when you’ll see return etc. Avoid a hockey stick plan that relies on sudden massive growth – it won’t be believable.

    Investing in a business is never going to be something an Angel takes on lightly. Of course your pitch needs to reflect you and your business, but the recipe to success is based on your power to inspire confidence, reliability, passion, ability and integrity.

    Follow The Supper Club on Twitter for more great tips on growing your business @TheSupperClubUK

    October 06, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    THE FUTURE OF COWORKING AND WHY IT WILL GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A HUGE EDGE

    deskmag-coworking-3342

    HERE ARE THE NUMBERS THAT SUPPORT THE CASE FOR COWORKING–AND WHY IT’S NOT JUST FOR STARTUPS OR FREELANCERS ANYMORE.

    Fun. Friendly. Inspiring. Collaborative. Productive. If you wouldn’t define your workplace with any or all of those terms, you may have to ditch your own desk and take a seat at a coworking space near you. Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur or freelancer, the benefits of coworking, according to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, are pretty hard to ignore: 71 percent of participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, while 62 percent said their standard of work had improved.

    The study also found that half of all coworkers access their work space around the clock–with only 30 percent preferring to work during normal business hours. “The future of work should not be dictated by space or place, but by the individual and the tasks that he or she has to deliver,” Regus CEO Mark Dixon tells Fast Company. “Many employees are now measured by output and productivity, and not just 40 hours spent sitting at a desk. Workers and the companies for which they work are increasingly realizing that they need to provide and utilize a wide range of workplaces to accommodate an increasingly diverse workforce with very different expectations of what work is, and where and when it should happen,” he explains.

    That’s why Dixon says, companies such as Google, Amazon, Twitter, and half of the Fortune 500 offer their staff temporary spaces at Regus to hold meetings or to get work done on the road. Regus offers flex space to more than a million people a day worldwide.

    Dixon notes that coworking allows for businesses to test new markets relatively risk-free. “Our research tells us that today anywhere between a third and half of all workers are flexible and mobile. Four years ago flexible working was the reserve of quirky marketing agencies and IT shops. Today, it’s a way of life influenced by the growth of the freelance economy and the need to expand the top-line by market expansion,” Dixon explains. For example, Regus plays host to real estate agencies that ironically don’t have their own real estate. Instead, they give all the agents cards to check into a nearby coworking center when they need to print materials or get paperwork done.

    Compared to a traditional office, Deskmag found that an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of coworkers said they got a self-confidence boost, likely due to the fact that many spaces are filled with supportive communities that enable creative collaboration.

    Dodd Caldwell, founder of Loft Resumes and MoonClerk, has been coworking for two and a half years in Greenville, S.C. Most recently, he’s sharing space with otherstartups at Iron Yard. “We’re a pretty curated coworking space, so even though we’re made up of different companies, we’re all fairly kindred spirits,” Caldwell asserts. By running his small businesses in a curated coworking space, he says, “I get the advantages of the culture of a medium-size business without having to deal with most of the downsides that come with it, like bureaucracy.”

    I GET THE ADVANTAGES OF THE CULTURE OF A MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESS WITHOUT HAVING TO DEAL WITH MOST OF THE DOWNSIDES THAT COME WITH IT.

    One of the main advantages to coworking, Caldwell says, is the ease of collaborating with other companies sharing the space, many of which don’t have more than three people. “Sometimes that’s just tapping someone outside of your team on the shoulder and asking their opinion. Other times, it may be a 15-minute whiteboarding session with a developer on another startup.”

    The ability to approach problems from a variety of angles is the undercurrent running through coworking spaces like Secret Clubhouse. Originally established by Rick Webb (cofounder of The Barbarian Group) in September, the Secret Clubhouse addresses a simple, but critical, need for entrepreneurs in the already crowded coworking scene in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn: it gives them a place to sit every day and take advantage of being elbow-to-elbow with other startup impresarios.

    In the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, those seats were filled with staff from Gawker, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Vimeo, whose offices didn’t have power. Now that things have settled down, manager Alison Vingiano says Secret Clubhouse isn’t quite filled to capacity of 35 desks, but those who are working from there can work alone or plug into the local tech community through hosted events or just from hanging out in the basement lounge, which is appointed with a pool table, musical instruments for impromptu jam sessions, as well as food, drinks, and cushy seating.

    Vingiano says that while collaboration is now a main focus of Secret Clubhouse, “a lot of it happens naturally.” Between hosted meetups and skill-sharing events, Vingiano says Secret Clubhouse members are encouraged to announce positions for hire or talk about what they are working on.

    Contrary to popular opinion that an open environment like the Secret Clubhouse is just as distracting as a coffee shop, 68 percent of those polled by Deskmag said they were able to focus better, and almost as many (64 percent) reported they were better able to complete tasks on time.

    Scott Hinson, lab director at Pecan Street Inc.’s new Pike Powers Commercialization Lab, is going to be in the unique position of fostering collaboration in the space, while also helping the companies working there to stay focused and retain privacy.

    The $1.5 million lab, located in northeast Austin, will be officially opening in May to promote research, commercialization, and education tied to smart energy grids, advanced information technology, clean energy, and health care applications. As the nation’s first nonprofit smart-grid research lab, it’s going to give smaller businesses the ability to use equipment like a spectrum analyzer that would cost roughly an engineer’s annual salary, without the huge investment.

    The challenge, according to Hinson, will be to keep proprietary projects a secret. But he’s not overly concerned. “We just have to be conscious of who can’t be around whom [when scheduling work],” he says. In addition, the facility has security controls such as thumbprint readers and secure Internet access. If need be, says Hinson, they can wipe all data from computer terminals every time someone new sits down to use it.“As long as we set the right expectation we can minimize challenges,” Hinson says. “If you set the expectation you get a place to do really cool stuff and there might be some other folks that are doing that too, so we can avoid it from the get-go.”

    Dixon believes that the flexibility to “work your way” is leading to greater productivity and job satisfaction. He points out a recent survey conducted by MindMetre in which 64 percent of U.S. employees are happier with their jobs today than they were two years ago because of the increased flexibility and shift towards a clearer work/life balance. “In addition, there is a plethora of research that shows flexible workers experience lower levels of work-related stress and higher levels of work satisfaction,” Dixon adds. “The healthiest option for employers and employees is to continue to work together to redefine the parameters of work, and how it is conducted and rewarded.”

    –Do you cowork, and how has it changed your career? Leave your tips in the comments below.

    September 22, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    Settled in our new home!

    Happy Spring from our new home here at CTO. The move was quite painless and the reward simply awesome. What a space LEVR creations have given us. Light, airy and spacious with a beautiful shared kitchen that’s definitely big enough to swing more than a cat in, light and airy bathrooms and a meeting room big enough for 6 people comfortably.

    I’ll not bore you with too much text, let me rather show you!

    We have spaces open, so give me a shout & spread the word. R1,500 a month and that includes internet & meeting room.

    Have a great month folks.

    Lizelle

    3 Man Pod

    Renderheads Pod

    Looking to the entrance

    20140822_091733

    Great size desk with option for a shelving unit to right

    IMG_20140818_072737

    Desk with a view? Sunrise…

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    Middle 4 Man pod

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    Lunch/Coffee bar counter area

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    Reception

    20140822_080610

    Spacious communal kitchen

     

    Our entrance

    Our entrance

    Early morning light.

    Early morning light.

    20140818_102920

    The Dudes

     

    September 01, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    Who’s who in the CTO zoo

    What I love most is the variety or eclectic mix of of folks in here at CTO. This was one of my biggest drivers, to ensure that we didn’t exclude professionals / entrepreneurs etc. from the space. Here’s a list of the “who’s who in the CTO Zoo”. Please do check out their websites for more on the work they do.

    Amy, one of 2 graphic designers in CTO and works for a London based agency Top Left Design

    Dylan & Meagan – represent a US based company, OrderTalk, providing telephone support for their US customers

    Brandon – founder & owner of ASA Media who’s most recent creation is the smart phone APP, Awesome South Africa *be sure to check this one out*

    Shane, Richard & Rhido – 3 very talented developers who work for a UK based company, RenderHeads creating some very clever augmented reality and interactive digital displays.

    Michael – Owner of Solutions WEB and our only resident website designer providing Internet Solutions to SME’s

    Angus – African Storybook Digital founder and also Producer: Carte Blanche. Category Winner: CNN Africa Journalist of the Year

    Denise – our most recent member at CTO is here from Germany doing a post doc project for the University of Johannesburg 

    Brigitta – runs an independent knitwear company with her mom which is supplied to some top brand retailers in SA

    Ronelle – our 2nd graphic designer in the office with her company, Graffic Traffic and also the founder / creator of TREK Survival Gear that is stocked by Cape Union Mart and Outdoor Warehouse across South Africa.

    Scott & Daniel of BETVIP – Bitcoin enthusiasts operating a secure, licensed (Curacao) enterprise-grade sportsbook solution with a full team of customer support representatives, bookmakers/traders and developers.

    Rob – a financial analyst who works for UK based hedge funds, which is mostly pouring over spreadsheets 😉

    Sean a former Durbanite who runs the sales and marketing for a US based company, Alcobond in Cape Town

    Annie – Tour operator in Cape Town for a UK based company, Jacada Travel “Private Luxury Tours & Safaris”

    John – founder and owner of Big Blue Sky Tours… he’s out alot so we only see him when he is catching up with his admin 😉

    Lizelle(that’s me) operating LVR business to business Ltd from CTO – Marketing/Lead Generation/Telemarketing services

    entrance CTO

    April 30, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Start-up diary: Collaborative workspaces are great for growing businesses c/o The Telegraph

    Forgive me for “borrowing” this content, but this is a great read for those of you still trying to work from home. This might just be what you needed to hear.

    Deciding where you’re going to base your business is a massive headache. With little money coming in to begin, with you feel you should work at home. I did this for a few weeks but found it a distracting existence. Due to the close proximity of my kitchen and internet recipes, I found myself becoming a better chef rather than a better entrepreneur.

    What was worse, though, was feeling that I couldn’t switch off when the working day was done. So I went through the business owners’ rite of passage of looking for office space.

    Initially I was not looking forward to this. I felt I would be faced with serving my time in a broom cupboard. Yet due to the huge growth in single-person businesses, up by 500,000 between 2008 and 2012, a whole industry has emerged that provides workspace to this group.

    Collaborative workspaces are the hot new trend for one-man bands. These are spaces in which like-minded communities of entrepreneurs work in the same area and help each other. This concept is attractive because they naturally create a sociable environment by bringing together companies that have things in common.

    A central theme of my business is to ensure that the operation of 100 Bodycare is as environmentally friendly as possible in terms of its ingredients, packaging and production, so when I was looking for space I sought a community of social entrepreneurs and soon came across The Hub.

    This concept was launched in 2005 in a converted warehouse in Islington and has grown to have workspace on five continents. Anna Levy, who co-managers the Hub Islington, describes Hub entrepreneurs as “having a shared set of values in wanting to make a positive social impact with their businesses.”

    The Hub was my first proper office. I found it particularly useful in moulding the initial structure of my business before I started trading. The Hub is setup to foster communication between its businesses and I benefitted from its monthly Hub Club meetings in which entrepreneurs present business problems to each other. I made a presentation about measuring the carbon footprint of my packaging and as a result got the feedback and contacts I needed.

    Entrepreneurial business space is increasingly transient in nature. Community-based spaces have contributed to this trend as certain environments can suit your business at different stages in its lifecycle. Therefore many small businesses have a nomadic existence going from one community to another and sometimes back again depending on the needs of the business at a point in time.

    This was certainly the reason I left the Hub. When I started trading I recognised that I had a big knowledge gap around digital technology. In order to compete with the larger companies in my industry, this was something I really had to learn. As a result, I sought out a workspace called ‘The Accelerator’ based in Shoreditch, London.

    The Accelerator is publically funded to support high growth businesses which use digital technology. It develops the digital knowledge base of its community and helped me via courses they put together from the learning of the businesses that work there.

    In addition the Accelerator provides strategic advice to its entrepreneurs via a team of experienced business people that coordinate the workspace. Richard Celm, who manages the Accelerator, also explained that he sometimes facilitates access to finance.

    “We have private and public contacts that have helped Accelerator businesses such as ‘Tweet Photo’ and ‘Fitness to Life’ recently get the funds for growth,” he told me. “Being publically-funded makes our willingness to help entrepreneurs more credible as we’ve got no commercial agenda.”

    Collaborative spaces aren’t perfect for every type of business. The byproduct of the vibrancy of a collaborative space is that they’re often very noisy and distracting. Also there can be an issue of employee retention as the close proximity of the community can lead to people moving from one company to another. Nevertheless, for my business at the moment, as I seek to evolve my business model, the contacts and knowledge I’m gaining offset the disadvantages.

    I hope my thoughts were of use and if anyone wishes to contact me I’m very happy to help on www.100bodycare.com

    To comment on the original piece, please visit The Telegraph website here.

    Happy October folks (or should that be #Ocsober)

    Lizelle

    October 02, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Start-up

    When the theory just works

    Maverick-Digital-Labs-Logo

    I’d like to share a bit of a feel-good story with you all.

    In December ’12 I was approached by someone looking for temporary shared “office space”. The conversation went along very familiar lines; how does it all work at Cape Town Office, what kind of professionals are in the space now and of course the most important question of all… how much does it cost?

    The underlying theme here was quite familiar. This was a start-up and like so many start up ventures they faced a heap of challenges and if you work in this space you’ll be very familiar with some of these…

    • Company registration
    • Tax clearance [SARS]
    • Systems and processes
    • Sales & Marketing
    • Recruitment
    • New business

    But perhaps the biggest and arguably most tedious of challenges the start-up faces is office space, so when M4verick Digital found the Cape Town Office, they immediately understood how this would benefit them.

    They moved in on the first day of 2013 with a team of just 4 – not knowing where this venture would lead, how long it would take for them to establish themselves and ultimately whether it would work, but at least they had an office space that didn’t tie them into a long and expensive lease, they didn’t have to furnish their office and they didn’t have to arrange internet. (Love you Telkom, but you’re hard work sometimes)

    They walked in – sat down – and started work.

    And my goodness, did they work hard! Early mornings and late (very late) nights, weekends too and so it was no surprise that they were quickly rewarded with more customers. Being in a space where they could scale up (or down if needed) meant that taking on extra staff was easy. Easy on the cash flow and easy to manage. I’ve watched them grow into what is now an established player in the digital field with a growing list of blue chip clients and outstanding quality of work. With a strong full time team of 6 and a network of freelancers they can outsource to it was time for M4verick to move into their own space. Luckily they haven’t gone far… just 2 floors up, but we do miss them here in the office, that’s for sure!

    Check them out http://m4verick.co.za/clients/

    The bottom line is that from my perspective it puts into practice the theory of co-working, of sharing costs and sharing a work space. It works. And that makes me very happy indeed.

    Happy Spring everyone 🙂

     

    September 10, 2013