I had a very interesting chat today. With a very nice man called Gary Walpole. I know Gary from various things like an awards ceremony we were both judges on, and I quickly accepted his recent invitation to come along to his new venture and check it out. Well, I say venture, really speaking Indycube is a charity, at least it’s a ‘Community Interest Company’ which is a business focussed on doing good for the community, and on returning all of its profits back into the business. So it’s an admirable cause.
It’s also an amazing idea!
Basically, a really small business, what we call a micro business these days, or solopreneurs as they are also sometimes called (basically people who work on their own from home or from the local coffee shop) can hire a desk, or a number of desks if that’s what they need, from Indycube from as little as £10 per day!
£10 per day (or cheaper if you buy more days) gets you a desk, broadband teh toilets, kitchen etc. and the use of the meeting rooms at the facility in the Media Centre at Culverhouse Cross. Theres no contracts, you can book one day at a time, or as much as a few month in advance (the cheapest option) and you get those basic facilities in return. Its like serviced offices, but without the service as Gary said.
He is refering to the basic nature of the environs. Theres not much in the way of bells and whistles but it is clean, open plan, airy, light, professional and quiet. Perfect for someone that needs somewhere quiet for a day or a few days or even a few months to help their business get onto the next level.
And the best bit is something you’d never have thought of.
In America this stuff is called co working. Basically there are any number of businesses that may be operating at Indycube, in their rented space at any one time. But after a while you realise you are seeing the same faces each time you’re there. Before you know it a genuine community has formed around you. This is so useful for people working on their own. It may be fair to say hugely useful!
Gary told me a story of how one of the businesses helped out a co-worker out last week as this guy could speak Chinese Mandarin! He stepped in and took a call and sorted his mates supplier out, just because these two people are regulars at Indycube’s kitchen area where they take 5 minutes out of the day for a coffee and a chat. That would never happen if you work alone from your home, or worse, some cafe where there is a wifi hotspot!
It’s this developing culture of cooperation collaboration and community that’s the exciting part. Four or five or even ten or more businesses might be present at anyone time in the building and after a while people get to know one another and start to help each other out. I don’t mean in a financial sense, just in a passing the time of day sense, or supporting through a difficult period sense. In fact, if you:
Need someone to share the emotional load but can’t afford to employ anyone? Consider coworking!
Not getting enough done because of the distractions at home? Consider coworking!
Need meeting rooms for clients but can’t afford the rent? Consider coworking!
Enjoy the buzz of young innovative environment but are on your own? Consider coworking!
This is an idea that will fly. Indycube opened up at Culverhouse cross in 2010, but have recently launched in the City Centre and also in Cardiff Bay. They have big plans to go all over Wales with Swansea being the next target for a centre. They are looking at a total of 23 areas at present, including Bridgend Newport Chepstow and Monmouth.
Find out more on their new website (in development) here, and especially keep an eye on Gary’s blog as he charts the trials and tribulations of Indycubes growing pains. And if you are on your own, or no someone who is, you could do much worse than to have a chat with them.