Business leaders meet to discuss viability of collaborative workspaces in South East Queensland

Biz Dojo, South East QueenslandMore than 50 local industry and government representatives gathered at The Edge, State Library in Southbank Brisbane last week to hear from some of Australasia’s thought leaders in collaborative workspaces.

Co-working pioneer, Brad Krauskopf from Hub Australia, who is COSBOA’s 2013 Small Business Ambassador shared his experiences of running co-working spaces in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and is hopeful of working with local companies, government and communities to open another in South East Queensland in 2014.

“Whether it is for boosting local economic activity or for cutting congestion through increasing options for telework, I believe that there is not another region anywhere in the world where there is a better business case for a distributed network of work hubs,” Krauskopf says.

Each of the corners of South East Queensland was represented at the event – with each region keen to better understand the benefits of co-working spaces, and put together a strong case for their local community to attract one.

Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast has been tasked with conducting extensive research across the five participating regions – Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Logan, Redland and Gold Coast, and has discovered that almost 191,000 workers are commuting daily to Brisbane from these regions.

“These sort of numbers cause traffic congestion, and impact on workers’ health, wellbeing and productivity when they arrive at their city-based work places,” says RDA Sunshine Coast CEO, Russell Mason.

“That’s not to mention the high fees the workers pay for parking, or the excessive time they spend on public transport. On the other side of the coin you have corporates and the public sector paying high rents for their workers to operate out of uninspiring office space, with productivity impacted by travel-related stress. Workspaces have been proven to be successful in many other locations around the world, and other parts of Australia. Now it’s turn for South East Queensland to benefit too.”

New Zealand coworking space experts Biz Dojo co-founders Nick Shewring and Jonah Merchant also presented at the event last week, and pushed the need for work spaces to be diverse in nature, with multiple industry tenants operating out of the one space, proximity to quality coffee establishments, and the need to run regular social and educational events, and maintain communication through social media activities.

Biz Dojo co-location space in Auckland spans over three floors and includes an office floor with hot desks and permanent space for private teams and start-ups, art gallery/event space, coffee shop, photography studio, herb garden and product design & prototyping facilities such as 3D printers.

With facilities like these the spaces have attracted some of NZ’s smartest designers, strategists, developers, entrepreneurs, and creative technologists which they refer to as “digital blacksmiths” to solve commercial problems for major government, corporate and NGO clients.

“These sorts of tenants would not be able to compete if they were based at home and operating as freelancers,” says BizDojo co-founder, Jonah Merchant.

“By coming together, they are able to take on much larger projects and benefit from the ability to use great facilities and bounce ideas off each other. We’ve seen projects where people in our Auckland based office are collaborating online with people in our Wellington office to turn out some really great
stuff.

“Knowing how well this concept has worked in New Zealand, we’re looking forward now to seeing this progressive thinking from South East Queensland moving into full implementation and activation, to really start harnessing the evolving trends in work practices around co-working and smart work centres, in order to drive support and growth for local businesses in the SEQ regions.”

It is hoped by the end of 2013, enough economic analysis, regional assessment and potential business models would have been developed to help investors develop a business case, and start to get collaborative workspaces across SEQ off the ground.

People interested in supporting the project are encouraged to visit www.digitalworkhub.com.au or www.facebook.com/digitalWHP.

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For interviews, supporting research, and high res images from the event and key speakers, contact the PR agency assisting with the project, Yvette Adams at The Creative Collective on 0405 022 977 or [email protected]

  • Great forum! Innovative ideas and great energy.

  • Nick Shewring

    It was great to take part and share ideas – we cant wait to see SEQ become the most coworking connected state in Australia!

  • The Head Space

    We agree we need great coworking spaces in our sunshine coast region. That is why we have opened the doors to our new Coworking Space in Doonan, 5 mins from Noosa. http://www.TheHead.Space