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.”