Friday, 13 March 2015

Why Birmingham needs more Tech Co-working Hubs

Having spent a lot of time in London recently, one of the things that has struck me is the number of co-working spaces and hubs that exist and that got me wondering, does this have an impact on their startup community.

It is definitely the case that co-working spaces have been awesome for the startup community, both the network effect of putting together communities of highly skilled entrepreneurs, able to advise, share and collaborate on problems has led to some great success stories. It enables investors to easily communicate to groups of startups, gives opportunities for entrepreneurs to feel comfortable and safe in a community of like-minded people, places for training,meetups and very often mentors in the same space.

Having more than one community space for tech entrepreneurs generates a number of interesting effects, both collaborative and competitive for both investors and entrepreneurs. Finding the space that effectively meets your needs is a lot easier when there is more than one.

A truism is that work expands to fill the space available and I believe this to be true of coworking spaces, having more spaces leads to more startups, more chances of success which leads to greater reinvestment in the community itself.

More than one space means that different approaches can exist, both from an investment strategy and how startups are supported leading to a greater number of startups within the community overall.

Looking at Birmingham, while there are a lot of co-working spaces, from BOM, Impact hub, BizzInn,  there seems to be only e4f that seems to fit the definition of a tech working space rather than a general space and I think that while it does a fantastic job of both providing support and opportunities for tech startups that perhaps we also need some more spaces to achieve that which we see in London.

Manchester has at least 4 spaces, Leeds has a couple, is it not time for Birmingham to do better.

Having more spaces would give us more startups, meaning that Birmingham could capitalise on the recent publicity on its status as a top 10 city to work in by giving specific space to those that have the greatest opportunity to create high growth companies.

I look forward to the enterprising people that take the challenge up and help create the next tech co-working space.

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