Entrepreneur working from a co-working hub
BQ explores the benefits of co-working and picks out 10 of the region’s top hubs for creative start-ups.
There’s a new trend in the business world which is changing the way entrepreneurs and start-ups across the globe go about their day-to-day business: co-working.
Co-working is effectively an alternative to traditional office space, allowing independent workers and entrepreneurs to share an open workspace instead of the traditional cubicle or makeshift set up in a coffee shop.
The idea of co-working has really started to take off in recent years, led by the rise in mobile technology, and is now more popular than ever before as freelancers and small business owners swap their pyjamas and home computers for shared office space.
And it’s no real surprise when you look at the perks associated with co-working. Not only can like-minded entrepreneurs bounce ideas off each other but it’s also extremely cost-effective, helps you network with new people and usually comes with free internet access and unlimited tea and coffee!
Sound interesting? Well not to worry. Being the forward-thinking region that Yorkshire is, it was one of the first to capitalise on the co-working boom and there are more and more co-working hubs popping up across the region every year.
Here are our top 10 Yorkshire co-working hubs for creative entrepreneurs just like you:
Co-working space provider Futurelabs offers hot desking, fixed desk space or larger office spaces for businesses from as little as £85 a month, bang in the centre of Leeds.
As a member you can tap into free superfast broadband, all the tea and coffee you can drink and unlike most other co-working spaces, you are provided with 24-hour access to your workspace.
You can also make full use of its meeting rooms, which are right in the heart of Leeds’ tech community, near the Victoria Quarter.
Futurelabs has proven a huge hit since it opened its doors and it’s no real surprise when you look at the people behind the organisation.
Its founders Steve Wainwright and Emma Cheshire are both experienced entrepreneurs who have spent years working with or growing their own start-ups.
Steve is a serial entrepreneur who has not only run and developed large companies, but has also taken a start-up from kitchen table into 63 countries and eventual sale.
Emma is the CEO of the Dotforge accelerator programme, which runs in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. She has spent years advising tech start-ups and helping innovative companies raise seed capital.
Availability: A permanent desk at Futurelabs costs £185 per month plus VAT whereas hot desking membership costs £85 per month plus VAT.
The Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) is one of Hull’s newest and most exciting business centres.
The £4m, 22,000 sq ft building forms the centre of the £14m @TheDock scheme overlooking the Humber and is home to some of the region’s most innovative start-ups and SMEs.
What really makes C4DI stand out however is the fact that as well as offering co-working space, it also boasts its own tech incubator and hosts a series of corporate innovation programmes.
Its main co-working space is situated in a huge room facing the Humber and The Deep, boasts spectacular views and has a wonderful spacious feel.
Members can enjoy free use of printers, connect to the super-fast wifi and use the phone booths when a little privacy is required.
The hub also offers its members use of its meeting rooms, state-of-the-art AV theatre, quiet area and events space.
Availability: Co-working space for individuals and start-ups at C4DI is priced at £120 per month plus VAT. For companies, it costs £350 per month plus VAT.
York’s Acollective offers an inspiring working environment for likeminded creatives, with desks and private offices available on low-fee, hassle-free terms.
Creative entrepreneurs Rick Chadwick and Stuart Goulden launched Acollective after they struggled to find co-working space which suited them.
Two years on and the duo are now surrounded by ambitious entrepreneurs just like them who come together daily to work and collaborate on ideas.
Members of Acollective receive unlimited use of desks, lockers, printers, internet, meeting rooms and most importantly, tea and coffee.
Also, the company doesn’t tie its members into long contracts. Desks are rolling monthly whilst private offices are available on year-long leases.
Availability: Acollective is currently fully occupied however they do have a waiting list on their website for start-ups interested in getting involved.
Huddersfield’s Co Up is a new kind of creative hub offering a professional co-working space which is ideal for freelancers, micro or small start-up businesses.
What sets Co Up apart from other co-working spaces is its super flexible plans which help minimise some of the start-up risks that come with running a small creative business.
Its memberships offer hot-desks, permanent desks and studio spaces on monthly rolling licenses as well as day passess for those who are more nomadic.
Co Up also boasts a number of meeting rooms, photography studio space, an exhibition space, pop-up retail and event spaces as well as 3D printing services.
Oh, not to forget, it also has a scalextric track for when you need to unwind!
Availability: A permanent desk at Co Up costs £215 per month but the company has lots of other, cheaper packages to choose from on their website.
Located in the heart of Sheffield, Union St provides start-ups and SMEs with an opportunity to join a shared, open plan workspace where they can work alongside like-minded businesspeople.
A vacant ex-council office transformed into an inspiring creative space with wooden pallet furniture, the hub is situated in a 4-storey building offering co-working, hot desking, meeting rooms, event space, roof garden, professional kitchen and a pop-up cafe.
It also hosts regular events and meet-ups, from weekly yoga and meditation sessions to workshops and masterclasses with Enterprise Nation.
As well as providing desk space for co-workers, it offers unlimited tea and coffee, free superfast wifi and access to its meeting rooms.
Availability: A rolling monthly membership costs £133 or, if you would like to commit to 12 months, you can do so for £95 per month.
Duke Studios is the second Leeds-based co-working provider to make the list.
Duke is a creative space providing collaborative workspace, services and facilities for individuals and companies working in the creative industries.
The hub is made up of creatives from many different fields from animators to web developers, software developers, online marketeers, DJs and producers.
As well as desk space, the hub also offers meeting and event space, studio space, kitchen facilities (including tea and coffee), broadband access and a range of printing services.
Situated on 3 Sheaf Street in the centre of Leeds, it is a stone’s throw from the Royal Armouries Museum making it easy accessible to people from all over.
Availability: A standard co-working membership at Duke Space costs £99 per month including VAT however desk rental is priced at £225 per month. Studio space is also available for £390 per month.
Wales' leading co-working company Indycube opened its first English office in Wakefield just over a year ago.
IndyCube offers office space for small businesses, freelancers and remote workers who prefer not to work alone.
The company currently has 27 co-working centres across England and Wales and is a co-operative owned by its members.
Members can rent a desk either by the day or the month but where IndyCube really stands out is the fact that members also have access to the growing network of IndyCube Centres across the UK.
Based at the Wakefield Media and Creativity Centre, King Street, it offers 14 desk spaces and is surrounded by some fantastic eateries, bars and coffee shops.
It is also only five minutes on foot from the main shopping centres and only two minutes from Westgate Railway Station.
Availability: Space at Indycube costs £180 per month plus VAT for full-time desk space. Or, if you would like to rent space by the day, its pay-as-you-go offer is priced at £12 a day plus VAT.
Helm is one of the most supportive work spaces for early stage businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in Doncaster.
At the heart of its 2,500 sq ft workspace is a collaborative and innovative environment, there to help you create your best work.
What really makes it stand out however is its unique offering for start-ups. Unlike most other co-working spaces, Helm offers a free trial for eligible companies.
As part of the 28 day trial – Helm simply asks for the start-ups to provide a skill-swap contribution up to the value of £195.
And as well as desk space, it also offers use of its meeting rooms, photography studio, wifi and also provides business support and mentoring.
Availability: Helm offers a drop-in package (use of its services for four days per month) for £75. Alternatively, a monthly pass (unlimited use) is priced at £195 per month.
Blake House provides flexible office space in York like nothing you’ve seen before.
Set inside a beautifully restored Georgian House, its owners have created contemporary and funky small offices for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses right in the heart of York City Centre.
Offering private office space and co-working desk space from £225 per month, it’s affordable too.
For those who are happy to work from home but want a professional business address, Blake House provides a virtual office address and has a fantastic meeting room to hire, as well as kitchen facilities.
Its co-working rooms come all set up with a desk, chair, VOIP telephone, internet cabling, privacy screens, lockable pedestal, and file storage.
Availability: A standard co-working space at Blake House is priced at £225 per month however there are add-ons such as private rooms which are available.
The Digital Media Centre (DMC) in Barnsley is a creative workspace for people who like to work somewhere different and is one of the most aesthetically stunning spaces of the list.
Whether you need a temporary office space to work from, hosting an away-day, a workshop or just a heads-together with your collaborators, the DMC has you covered.
Its bookable spaces come complete with screens, white boards/flip charts and inclusive wifi as well as free business support from Enterprising Barnsley.
The DMC is just a minute’s stroll from Barnsley’s central public transport interchange. Train services from here run direct to Sheffield, Leeds and Huddersfield with one-stop connections to Manchester, London and York.
Availability: The DMC has space however pricing varies depending on business size and requirements.