Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Paperless: dream or possible?

    Weird topic right? But the other day I had a pleasure of spending time in a similar space to Cape Town Office, 88mph located in the (uber trendy) Woodstock Exchange. A good friend of mine has taken over the running of the space and what a space it is. I won’t bore you with the details only to say that this is a space for tech heads, start-ups to be exact.

    Sitting with my mate I couldn’t help but notice the distinct lack of shelving / storage and so asked him about this. I wondered whether there were perhaps lockers or cabinets elsewhere where they could store their paper work. The answer I got was simply, no. This is a paperless office.

    When I got back to my office and saw the amount of paperwork on my desk I wondered to myself whether it was possible to lead a 100% paperless office.


    I work online and receive as much as I can (bills etc.) via email, but still I have paperwork that I need to file, so even in this day and age my question is whether this is simply an ideal we strive for or whether it’s possible to truly have a paperless office.

    So, send me your thoughts / comments and pictures of your desk to compare.

    Can you go 100% paperless?

    Have a great week,



    October 07, 2013
    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

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

    Happy October folks (or should that be #Ocsober)


    October 02, 2013
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Shared Office

    The Daily Commute

    So, I have a question for you – how long is your daily commute? Do you travel to work by car, bike, train or bus and generally speaking is a pleasant journey?

    My brother in-law is visiting us for a week. He lives in Pretoria and truly is one of those busy Gauteng’ers who never seem to sit still. Last night, over dinner, we chatted about this and that and the topic of commuting came up. His journey / commute however is quite different. He tells me that he will spend an average of 3 hours EVERY DAY commuting on that dreaded highway between Pretoria and Joburg to get to work and the stress is enough to drive anyone nuts.  He has been doing this for nearly 4 years now, so in some ways it’s become as normal as brushing his teeth.


    When I speak to my London mates, making a 45 minute tube journey to work in the morning (squeezed, in like sardines) is pretty standard and acceptable. They even find ways of reading while they do it!

    Now, by Cape Town standards my commute is almost worthy (to most locals) of packing “padkos” – a whole 25kms from Muizenberg to Roeland Street. I’ll admit that some days it’s trying, especially on rainy days when people seem to forget how to drive, but for the most part I really enjoy the the scenery along the M3 and some lovely tunes as the soundtrack before the madness of my day begins. It raises an interesting point I thought. What is an acceptable commute in this day and age?

    Perhaps its conditioning or sorts. We find ways to adapt and make the best of it, but at what price? When do we stop to ask what this daily schlepp is really costing us. Is it worth the paycheck at the end of the month?

    Here are some interesting reads I found highlighting the negative effects of commuting.

    1. Commuting makes you unhappy – c/o The Economist
    2. Your Long Commute May Be Hurting Your Marriage
    3. 5 ways to stop your commute from killing you

    So how long is your commute?

    September 25, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Start-up

    When the theory just works


    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

    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
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office

    What do you look for?

    Apologies for the gap in posts, but it’s been heeeeeectic this side.

    We’re in the process of developing a 2nd space for CTO now and I’d like to open the floor to anyone out there and get your views.

    What do you look for in a shared office space?

    Is it…

    • Atmosphere
    • Space
    • Functionality (board room / receptionist)
    • Location
    • Networking opportunities
    • Privacy
    • Quiet surrounds
    • Creative & inspiring surrounds
    • Low cost

    Really keen to hear what you guys think and taking some of your suggestions forward in the design of our new space.

    Hope you have a fantastic week!


    April 25, 2013
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Uncategorized

    Greetings…Salutations…And all things yummy for 2013.

    Brave new world this post apocalypse stuff – we’re all here, the world did not go BANG (as expected) and most of us are back into the swing of things worky wise. On a personal note I’m rather glad that’s the case, as I quite enjoy this world and all the delicious things it has to offer.

    Cape Town Office is bursting at the seams *she says with a delighted tone* with newcomers from near and far. Welcome to Craig from Core Systems who’s returned to his Cape Town roots from London. Jessica who joins us for a few months from the Berlin office of World First. Christina and SJ from Event Stars and the crew from Maverick Digital (too many to mention) make us 20 in the office all together.  What a lively bunch and I look forward to getting to know them all over the coming months.

    So 2013 is off to a great start and I feel truly privileged to share space, rub shoulders, hang 5 and all that jazz with these guys. Our regulars of course should also get a wee mention – Brandon from ASA Media, Barry our resident Irish software guru, Angus from African Storybook, Ronelle from Graffic Traffic, Robyn from Word on the Street, Suzanne…freelance Education consultant, Paula from ResRequest, Jennifer freelance Writer / Layout & Design and Alex from ABO (A Back Office).

    Wishing all you monkeys a fabulously productive and successful 2013… may we all thrive 🙂

    Please do come say hi on Twitter @capetownoffice 🙂



    January 11, 2013
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Shared Office Uncategorized

    3 Weeks till the…Uhm…end of the world?

    No, not really… well let’s hope not otherwise this is quite the prophetic post.

    Gosh, really can’t believe we’re nearing the final stretch (painful as it might be) of 2012. It’s been a year and then some and as a giant sigh is echoed across the land in the knowledge that in just a few short weeks we’ll all be trapped in a house with our “loved ones” wearing funny jumpers (for those in the North) or really cheesy T-shirts (for those in the South), sipping on cheap wine (because uncle jack is a bargain hunter) and wishing that the TV would just explode if we have to hear Boney-M’s Drummer Boy one more time!  Aaaah Christmas… how we love thee!

    I’m off to have a small festive with my new family and rather looking forward it has to be said. This year it’ll be a hot one (no doubt) with sunscreen and cold beer in abundance … and preferably in that order too. The office will close it’s doors around the 21st, but as an Entrepreneur or indeed Small business owner never really stops I’m sure some of the guys might pop in over the Festive weeks just to check in and make sure everything is still in one piece.

    It’s been a really terrific year at the office with new faces joining us from as far afield as the States and Ireland and local Saffas too … So here’s a big big thank you to all you lovelies who’ve made my year that much more colourful!

    • Brandon from ASA Media ~~ slowly but surely taking over the world (watch out Branson)…one Helostrap at a time 😉
    • Chris from Xphotography ~~ photo editor by day and celebrity stalker by lunch (Charlize did not look happy in that shot)
    • Taryn, Devlin & SK from Evoluu ~~ adding style to the corporate world & all things digital creative
    • Barry ~~ our resident Irishman that does very clever software things in the world on online casinos
    • Jennifer ~~ all the way from Minisota… (no not really it’s Claremont right?) doing some amazing work with NGO’s in Africa
    • Suzanne ~~ New Jersian (is that even a word) … who’s proud to be an American once again after the Obama re-election (us too btw)
    • Angus from African Storybook ~~ Apple Mac junkie by nature… Elephant stalker by design and a rather good programme maker for Carte Blanche. (Thanks a mil for finding the toilet key)
    • Paula from ResRequest ~~ a rather clever lady doing some awesome work with these guys based in Durban…
    • Crystal from CV Recruitment ~~ our very own in house recruitment go-to lady
    • Alex & Lawrence from ABO ~~ solving your Admin hassles very stylishly indeed
    • Ronelle from Graffic Traffic ~~ this is one busy lady who’s not only got her very own product line (TREK) in all Cape Union Mart and Outdoor Wharehouse stores nationwide, but also designs the most beautiful things from naughty chocolates to golf tournament brochures! #Inspirational
    • Robyn from Word-on-the-Street Media ~~ another fine example of a go-getting entrepreneur who’s taking over the world (well Cape Town for now) one contract at a time…. Go girl!

    So that’s the crazy lot that have invaded the Cape Town Office this year and from the bottom of my heart guys… it’s been REAL!

    Here’s to a soooper fruitful 2013 for all and may we all make squillions of money, buy that sports car / yacht (or whatever’s on the visualisation board)  and party like it’s 1999 come the 31st of December.

    Have a great one kidz 🙂





    December 10, 2012
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office


    Is there a difference….There most certainly is.

    I’ve been doing this collaborative workspace now for nearly two years and it still fascinates me how little people understand the subtle, yet rather important distinction between these three numbers.

    Today (and the reason for the blog topic) we received a rather lovely listing in a local (free) newspaper called City Views. We’re in the middle, centre piece if you will, and listed as the No.1 HOT DESK spot in the city of Cape Town *ta-daaa*. What I found most interesting is that nobody from City Views gave me a quick call before going to print to find out exactly what it is we do here and actually what the difference is between the old faithful Internet Cafe, The Internet Hotspot and the rather trendy Hot desk.

    Although we do position ourselves as a Hot Desk kinda vibe, we’re really a bit more than that. What we provide folks with is a space they can call theirs for the time they need it, not just for a few hours in a day, but really as a show of commitment to their trade or craft that this is where they come to focus and work.  There is trust involved and a mutual respect between all the folks who use the space here and so far (touch wood) no one has abused this. This is why it’s very difficult indeed to allow someone who just walks off the street to come in here and share this space and I dare say even in big cities this is surely the case too.

    So, if you’re looking for a place to access the internet for a few hours, use an Internet Cafe – if you’re looking for a good cup of coffee and some talent to keep you amused, go to a Hotspot and if you’re looking for a more permanent home away from home (without the ball and chain of a 12 month lease + the furniture) then you’re in Cape Town Office territory.

    All in my very humble opinion of course.


    Ps. Some very hot talent here too btw…

    October 30, 2012
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Uncategorized

    Excitement in the air is blowin to the East

    Hey crazy kids,

    So the Fringe is one exciting place to be right now. A few weeks ago a new little Gem of a spot opened its doors on Roeland and let the beautiful aroma of  Deluxe & Kupa Coffee pour out to entice us in. The Blend / East City Eatery is a fine addition to all the hungry and coffee loving folk here on Roeland Street and at R15 for a flat white you can’t go wrong!

    Our office is filling up nicely now with the addition of two new faces. Chris (photo editor) and Paula (business consultant) and they’re both in the same boat… they simply can’t work from home! Welcome guys and here’s to a productive end to 2012 😉

    The building is also coming along very nicely now with rumours adrift of a Sushi Bar on the ground level… ooooh la la. The 7th floor space is also nearly ready with the official opening party happening this month, you can imagine the stress levels up there! But it’ll be well worth it, there simply is NO other venue like it in Cape Town. End of.

    This was taken yesterday (excuse the crappy Blackberry image), but really…that’s the view…wow! 


    So that’s about all for this one kids. Hope you guys have a grand rest of October and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted with the developments here.





    October 11, 2012
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media

    Spring is here!

    So the doors to CTO are open once more and so it’s time (I thought) for a quick update. Sadly the building we’re in is still not finished, but a whole lot further along and looking absolutely brilliant.

    We reopened the doors in June after a few month’s away, shuffled the furniture around a wee bit and put up a few new prints on the walls and gosh I have to say it’s lovely to be back! We now have 17 comfy workstations in the office and we’ve created even cosier spaces for those individual freelancers to work from. The idea we started with all those months ago is still at the core of what we have here, keeping it as affordable as possible to those who cannot work from home any more and need a bit of social banter with living beings other than their cats.

    I think we’ve achieved just that. We’re keeping the price at R1,100 per month and that includes your desk (obviously) and internet (2Gig) which I think is dirt cheap!

    Currently home to the following peeps:
    * Evoluu
    * Graffic Traffic
    * ABO Software
    * African Storybook
    * ASA Media
    * LVR business to business


    The other rather exciting addition to the 62 Roeland Street family on the 3rd floor is Shanti Yoga. Ulrika opened up shop a month or so ago and it’s awesome to have such a lovely calm vibe right next door to our office. Check out for more information, specials and beginners offers!

    Hope you all have a marvellous start to Spring…after what’s been a rather long and cold winter.



    September 04, 2012