TechResort writes: The Eastbourne tech and digital sector has come far in such a short time, and much is due to Cohub – the town’s co-working space – and its founders Stuart and Laura. They’re at a pivotal moment and this recent post from their site is worth reading. Over to Stuart…
As 2015 draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on our achievements so far and we are starting to make plans for what Cohub could look like in 2016.
Cohub brings numerous social and emotional benefits. I’ve personally tapped into the broad domain expertise of our members and sought counsel of many.
Cohub is also a place of business, of course, and the role we play in Eastbourne’s economy is something I’m enormously proud of.
The majority of Cohub’s members are working in high-value, service-based, disciplines. Sector expertise includes software engineering, web development, graphic design, videography, network solutions, and more.
Most members are location-independent, working either as freelancers or as remote team members for national or international customers.
A large chunk of their combined annual revenues — estimated to exceed £6,000,000 — finds its way back into the local economy.
In excess of £2,000 per month goes directly into the cash registers of businesses just a few paces from our town centre location (think coffee shops and lunch spots).
Cohub’s impact on the local economy also extends to job creation, with over 18 new positions being created by our members and their organisations within the last 18 months alone.
Some of those new jobs are due to the growth of existing businesses, but Cohub has also played host to a number of brand new ventures; a total of 10 since we opened in 2012.
Many of these new businesses and jobs would likely have come into existence anyway.
Creative agency Bamb has grown from one to three whilst being based at Cohub, enjoying the opportunities for collaboration and picking up business that they may not have come across by being based out of their own studio.
Transitional Media has established itself as a targeted, multi-channel, video content creation and distribution partner. Projects include work for leading brands throughout the UK and number commissions for other Cohub members.
Friendly Digital consults with organisations looking to improve the way their teams deal with digital products and projects – a business that could easily have been started from home or a coffee shop, but chooses to be based in Cohub.
But we’re proud of the more specific role Cohub has played in several others.
The co-founders of The Network Factory initially met through our pre-launch activity and now provide networking and technology solutions to growing digital businesses. As they sign new contracts they expect to add another team member in the coming six months.
Cyclr – a startup with a solution that enables businesses to easily connect the data and capabilities of numerous cloud-based apps – secured £100K of funding through a chance meeting with another Cohub member. They’ve already added to their team and are now seeking additional funding that will see them add up to 10 more team members over the next 2-years.
Where do we go next?
Quite frankly, this is a question we’re wrestling with right now.
Since we launched over 3-years ago we’ve brought together a great deal of Eastbourne’s talent into a community of like-minded individuals that cooperate, collaborate, and support each other.
Do we drive forward by pro-actively attracting more members and growing the volume of this activity?
Do we double down on efforts to promote networking and business development activities to support an increase in the value our existing membership creates?
Or as a third, more extreme option, do we identify different types of member and distil them down into smaller, individual communities with more specific support for each other?
We’ve not made any decisions yet. And we’re not in a situation that necessarily dictates we make a quick decision.
What we can say is that any decision we make will be made with the input and consideration of our members, they are after all, what make Cohub Cohub and not just office space.
Stuart Lambert co-founded Cohub with his wife, Laura, in January 2012 and opened in their own space in July 2012. Follow @CohubStuart on Twitter.
Thanks to Phil Burrowes of Avant Photographic