Getting to the hub of the matter
MICRO business owner Caron Margarete is part of a growing number of sole traders and small business owners setting up in co-working hubs.
She runs business administration company Your Third Hand from the NAB Village in Docklands.
While many people running businesses keep overheads down by working from home, Ms Margarete likes to take the 25-minute train trip and work out of the co-working space.
She is a hired troubleshooter, contracted by businesses to set up processes and systems that enable small business operators to focus on what they are good at.
With a background in customer service, marketing, training and event management, Ms Margarete has built the business on the back of referrals.
“I was blown away by how incredible the space is,” she said. “I am loving the experience of evolving my small business here.”
Use of the Village, which opened in February, 2014, is free for NAB account holders.
Last Friday the Village won the non-digital channels category of the Financial Insights Innovation Awards held in Singapore. The award covered innovations from financial institutions in the Asia Pacific.
About 1400 workers take advantage of free wi-fi, networking, meeting and learning spaces at the Village.
NAB small business general manager David Bannatyne, who was on a steering committee for the development of the 700 Bourke St site, said a key factor in the success was its ground-floor location.
“It opens up the building to the community. We actually allow people to come inside and feel welcome,” he said.
Mr Bannatyne said small businesses and not-for-profits were flourishing in the coworking environment.
“I think we got it right. I walked through there and saw two charities, Save the Children and Vision Australia, in the room next door with whiteboards,” he said.
Liberated Work, a paper coauthored by Caroline McLaren, studies the spaces’ growth.
Ms McLaren, the co-founder of CoActiv8 which sets up smart working hubs, said the movement to “liberated” work was seen in what she termed the exponential growth of coworking spaces and hubs.
Caron Margarete conducting business at NAB Village. Picture: MIKE KEATING