De­bra Chantry, founder of The Com­mon, thinks it’s so im­por­tant busi­ness own­ers get good ad­vice and busi­ness sup­port that she set up an en­trepreneurs’ play­ground 18 months ago to do just that.


And with 74 per­cent of re­spon­dents in Ide­olog’s read­ers sur­vey say­ing good ad­vice and busi­ness sup­port was an is­sue, this is some­thing busi­ness peo­ple – from start-ups to multi­na­tion­als – have a need and a want for.

Based in Parnell, The Com­mon helps clients make the right de­ci­sions for them­selves, says Chantry, who has a back­ground in coach­ing and busi­ness.

“The space is a bonus – our pas­sion is the coach­ing and sup­port no mat­ter what form that takes. It’s a safe space for busi­ness own­ers and peo­ple that want to work on their busi­ness and on them­selves.”

She says peo­ple are com­ing to The Com­mon with a va­ri­ety of is­sues.

“What I learnt is that it can be re­ally tough at the top and you don’t get the sup­port that you need, there’s not many peo­ple to talk to and you get over­whelmed and stressed.”

The Com­mon of­fers coach­ing ses­sions, has spe­cial­ist in­clud­ing lawyers and ac­coun­tants, has pre­ferred sup­pli­ers while also run­ning four ed­u­ca­tional work­shops each month. These are around busi­ness, health and well­ness, in­spi­ra­tional speak­ers and net­work­ing.

“We get peo­ple to­gether mean­ing they have sup­port from their peers as well as spe­cial­ist providers.”

And with the pol­icy of no per­ma­nent desks plus meet­ing rooms, a bar and café there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­gage with oth­ers.

Health and well­ness are as im­por­tant to Chantry as the busi­ness side. The Com­mon of­fers yoga classes, en­ergy heal­ing, a li­brary, a play­ground and a med­i­ta­tion room.

Any­one can ap­ply to be­come a mem­ber, but Chantry says they must have cer­tain val­ues.

“We have chat with each per­son to see if they are en­tre­pre­neur­ial and want to make a dif­fer­ence, want to hav­ing fun and see what their pro­fes­sional and per­sonal goals are,” she says.

Then a plan is put to­gether for each mem­ber to see how The Com­mon will help, with on-go­ing sup­port of­fered. Mem­ber­ship costs are dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on what ac­cess you want, who you are and what you do from startup to cor­po­rate pack­ages.

Cur­rently there are 53 mem­bers, with a wider net­work of up to a “cou­ple of thou­sand” who come in and out for var­i­ous ses­sions that The Com­mon holds, says Chantry.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fers a di­verse mix of mem­bers, women’s-only groups as well as re­mote sup­port be­cause Chantry didn’t want peo­ple to be ex­cluded just be­cause they didn’t live in Auck­land.

“The Com­mon of­fers a sup­port role, a help­ing hand and a men­tor. We put you in con­tact with the right peo­ple and the right net­works,” says Chantry.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity to meet other like-minded peo­ple and en­cour­age and em­brace en­trepreneurism.”

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