Kollider opened at Castle House six months ago and this month another co-working space The Cloud Sheffield opens on Ecclesall Road. Jill Theobald caught up with the teams at both – and at a host of other spaces – to find out what’s on offer
unLTD first took an interest in co-working as an emerging theme for a feature back in December, chatting to Desk.Space, Sheffield Hallam University and Union St.
Since then Desk.Space have expanded onto another floor at their Kelham Island base and taken on a historic building they are currently renovating, while in April unLTD attended the launch of SHU’s Hallam i-Lab, a new business incubation hub offering advice, support and high-tech facilities enabling student and graduate entrepreneurs to network and collaborate with workshops and one-to-one meetings.
Over at Union St the co-operative now offers a monthly refund of up to 50 per cent for people who get involved as they continue to build a connected community, while their School for Pop-Ups has secured Charity status and now offers professional one-to-one mentoring, group workshops and test trading opportunities for new street food traders.
Clearly the ‘emerging trend’ of co-working in 2018 is now a well-established one in 2019, particularly with the opening in April this year of Kollider.
Based at Castle House alongside The National Videogame Museum, Kollider combines food hall Kommune, Ko:Host event space and Kollider’s Incubator – Sheffield’s first Barclays Eagle Lab.
Katie Taylor, lead on sales and marketing at Kollider Projects, said: “We support talented digital and tech start-ups to scale and grow. So whether you’re a budding entrepreneur with an innovative idea or you’re working to scale your existing business, we offer tailored incubation with access to one-to-one mentoring, skills workshops and investment opportunities.”
The team have been working with Sheffield Digital hosting events including Start-up Summer 2019 – a three-week programme involving mentors from the digital community helping students get their business ideas off the ground – the inaugural Sheffield Digital Awards and Sheffield Digital Festival.
Kollider has also hosted events including a live Digital Skills Q&A in collaboration with Benchmark Recruit and The Developer Academy. Most recently Kommune played host to a technology and coding event led by Guildhawk, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Digital.
“Earlier this year, we were thrilled to be approved by the Home Office as an endorsing body for the purpose of Start-up and Innovator visas,” said Katie. “Being one of the only incubators in the North with this status, it provides an opportunity to attract exceptional talent from overseas.”
Meanwhile over on Carver Street Oliver Keavey is director at Studio November.
“It’s a reasonably small space compared to some of the other co-working spaces,” he explains. “But we’re trying to build a close-knit community of freelancers with a space that’s mid-way between home and the office, creating a unique environment that’s the best of both worlds.
“We’ve got all the creature comforts but also know that working from your settee isn’t the best environment for getting work done! So there’s co-working space, personal desks, a meeting room, event space but we’ve filled it with locally sourced and reclaimed furniture and a small jungle’s worth of plants to give it some real character and life, too.
“I’m a freelancer myself – I run a graphic design and marketing agency – and the other two employees, Emma and Jo, are also freelancers so we understand the day-to-day stresses and how our space can help.”
The trio are currently joined by an illustrator, architect, graphic designer, talent agency and recruitment agency.
“There’s a really nice mix of people and sectors so people can network and meet people outside their industry,” said Oliver. “People in standard workplaces meet new people and socialise with their colleagues so we try and bridge that gap and intimate that with social events like our movie and takeaway nights.”
Also going for a different type of vibe are The Local Theatre, a small fringe venue on Snig Hill. Also opened in April by Olly Newton, it was the brainchild of Olly and his partners – executive director Miranda Debenham and artistic director Tim Norwood who met while studying at University of Sheffield and got into performing arts.
“The motivation is to build a community hub for people in Sheffield to get a leg up in their career with space to rehearse for those in the arts but also community groups to host events,” says Olly.
“Our co-working space is in two shop units above the performance space and it’s not exclusively for creative industries but it does appeal to them more – perhaps because while they are based in the space they get to meet and chat to people coming in for rehearsals or going to see shows.
“A lot of our sharers like the fact they can meet other creative people while they’re here.”
And what of the new-comers joining the co-working scene?
Jason Fry is founder of The Cloud Sheffield opening this month as a ‘new type of community space.’
Billed with the strapline ‘Space / Community / Services’, The Cloud Sheffield offer flexible plans from hot-desks to private rooms or offices and meeting rooms. As well as an online member network, there will be weekly events and Jason is developing plans for pop-up restaurant and cinema nights, too.
All members enjoy credits and benefits, and the team are working to develop local discounts for members with local cafes and venues.
But it’s perhaps the membership fees which is The Cloud Sheffield’s USP – as well as standard monthly and weekly membership rates people can pay by the hour.
“There will be free food and drink so members can pop in and grab a coffee and a snack but if they only need to use the space briefly it will cost them a lot less with our hourly rates.”