Ecosystem

Coworking spaces can be the key to tech collaboration across the UK

2 Nov, 2017

Accelerate Places has partnered with Tech North for Northern Stars 2017. Here, Accelerate Places’ Community Manager, Lisa Murgatroyd discusses tech coworking in the UK.


Coworking, hot-desking, incubators, work hubs – many entrepreneurs, investors and startups love the idea of sharing office space with likeminded individuals, having a desk and meeting facilities, and being surrounded by people at different stages of their business journey.

It creates a great sense of community and can provide positive business networks,
resources, and useful contacts. It can also ease some of the stress of starting a new business and connect you with talented people with innovative ideas and aspirations.

Coworking space, Accelerate Places, is backed by Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder with portfolio sales of over £300 million, over 3,000 employees and a successful track record of over 40 companies. The company sets out to build companies, as opposed to just funding them, with the mantra “we are venture builders, not venture capitalists” and believes in creating ‘great places for great people to become great entrepreneurs’.

Coworking and regional tech

Since 2011 the number of coworking spaces in Europe has grown from 1,130 to 11,300, with 14 of those in Greater Manchester alone. The last two years have all been about boosting the economic growth of the North of England and investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture; manifested in the creation of the Northern Powerhouse.

Alongside this, we see a similar initiative running in the Midlands, dubbed the Midlands Engine. But it could be argued that not enough has been done to unify the two proposals in a way that would ultimately strengthen both.

Accelerate Places
Space for collaboration at Accelerate Places in Manchester.

There is so much crossover and potential for business owners. The majority of private equity is still held in London and being based outside of the capital can sometimes restrict industry development. But with more collaboration, shared learning and by joining forces, the regions have the potential to make a powerful overall contribution to national competitiveness and outcomes.

Both regions excel in creative, tech and digital sectors, as well as science and fashion, so sharing of skills and learnings can only be a good thing, especially to attract and retain the best talent and to appeal to investors from the capital and beyond.

Sharing expertise

We have deliberately opened Accelerate Places coworking spaces in both Manchester and Nottingham, as we can see the level of entrepreneurship, innovation and ideas coming out of our work hubs. Entrepreneurs are working together in each city, but why not open this up and share expertise across cities?

Both Manchester and Nottingham are buzzing with talented entrepreneurs trying to get their foot in the door and we’re offering a great opportunity to kickstart their idea and work cross-region by offering desks and mentoring across the two locations.

Coworking is a great concept, but we’ve found increasingly entrepreneurs are looking for something with the added extras and business support. 79 percent of coworking spaces say they are ‘more than just a coworking space.’ The atmosphere here is one of a set of colleagues, rather than a group of individual businesses.

Accelerate Places in Manchester has something rare for coworking space – a cafe.
Accelerate Places in Manchester has something rare for coworking space – a cafe.

When you find the right coworking space for you, this way of working can really help propel your business forwards. You’ll often find that your coworkers become advocates for your business and you’ll naturally network together, plus it’s a great way of having people on hand to run ideas by.

Research shows that 71 percent of co-working space members collaborated with other members within the last twelve months and this is certainly a positive way of working and one that we predict will grow even further.

Accelerate Places + Northern Stars

Accelerate Places is proud to sponsor the Tech North Northern Stars programme, celebrating and recognising the best in tech talent in the North. The grand final takes place on 16th November in Manchester. Click here for more details.

Founded in 1998, Blenheim Chalcot has built businesses across many sectors including IT, financial services, education, software, sport and media. Businesses making their home within Accelerate Places in Manchester, Nottingham or London, have access to the huge range of benefits offered by working alongside Blenheim Chalcot.

These benefits include executive advisory sessions on everything from tax and legal advice, to HR and recruitment. The company can also facilitate introductions to a network of investors, if required.

To find out more about the spaces, contact me: Lisa.Murgatroyd@accelerateplaces.com or visit our website.

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