Collective of Welsh co-working spaces launches

Representatives from Wales’s largest co-working spaces have teamed up to launch a group to support the growth of the Welsh tech and creative sectors.

The Coworking Collective, which is managed by Creative Cardiff, is aimed at showcasing the innovative entrepreneurs and businesses putting Wales on the map.

Run in association with the BBC Digital Cities Cardiff initiative, the first event took place at the start of the month. It brought together people enabling the hubs ecosystem in Wales.

Hosted by Welsh ICE campus director Jamie McGowan, the first event provided delegates with a glimpse into the world of co-working. Several academics from Cardiff University were also present. 

Having taken place at Tramshed Tech in Cardiff, the event tackled topics such as the importance of creative hubs, economic development, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

The founding spaces of the Coworking Collective are Hwyl Hub, Rabble Studio, The Sustainable Studio, Tramshed Tech and Welsh ICE. They’re currently home to 247 companies and 552 people.

Attendees were also given talks by the hub managers from Entrepreneurial Spark (owned by NatWest) and the new Barclays Eagle Lab. The collective is about mapping these hubs.

Sara Pepper, director of creative economy at Cardiff University and Creative Cardiff lead, said the group will accelerate creativity and technology in the Welsh capital.

“The Coworking Collective is an exciting initiative and we’ve been delighted to support this group of hub managers who do so much for their hubs and creative businesses,” said Pepper. 

“Through this work we have been able to gain insights into their roles and responsibilities as well as their operating environments and in particular current challenges and opportunities.”

She added: “We know from our research that these hubs play a significant role in supporting those working in the creative and wider economy, whether as small businesses or as freelancers.

“The Coworking Collective will offer a way to connect and engage with this community and those who are enabling it, and no doubt will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Host Jamie McGowan, from Welsh ICE, said:More people today are starting to realise that self-employment is a genuine route to self-sufficiency.

“This is the challenge and the opportunity that coworking and entrepreneurial spaces meet on a day to day basis; from helping someone turn an idea into an invoice, to supporting start-ups through testing funding rounds – a supportive environment is key.

“The Coworking Collective was formed to ensure that some of Wales’ most widely used entrepreneurial spaces share best practice so we can better serve our coworking communities.”