Incubators and co-working vs. isolation

Starting your own business is an amazing and rewarding adventure. It’s not plain sailing, and you will have your ups and downs. The biggest issue that start-ups face is that they are going it alone in most cases.

If you’re a solo entrepreneur, the lack of a consistent sounding board outside of family and friends is a real problem. The answer to this is getting involved with an incubator and co-working space.

Being able to reach out and seek help from someone who isn’t invested in us personally is a must for anyone starting their own business. Friends and family are of great support, and they make wonderful cheerleaders, but for an honest opinion, sometimes you need to reach out of your inner circle.

It’s especially difficult to do that when you’re starting your business up from home. I had to take myself out of my comfort zone from day one. I’m quite tenacious and self-motivated, so it worked well for me, but if I was starting over I would seek out a workspace outside of my home environment that nourished my vision and supported.

Three places worth checking out

With that thought in mind, here are three state of the art, but fundamentally different incubators and workspaces that might just give your business idea the extra injection it needs for successful.

Google Campus London

This incubator with co-working space is near Old Street Tube station in the heart of the city. It has a café that you can drop into and work from as a member as well as being able to apply for more permanent space on the upper floors. They have an almost daily programme of workshops and seminars that range from inspirational events for young female entrepreneurs to getting down and dirty with growth hacking and optimisation.

If technology or new media are your passions, this vibrant environment will motivate you and keep you inspired.

Bathtub 2 Boardroom

Another vibrant community, this time based in Bethnal Green. The setting is fantastic — a real space to work and be inspired. There’s a close-knit community feel about this place, with the “work hard, play hard”-ethos that’s necessary to keep you pushing on. They have workshops, talks and even an early morning yoga session on Wednesdays for residents.

LYST

Sometimes you need a bit more than just an office space. This one is for entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-30 who’ve experienced a variety of difficulties in their lives. They support around 100 clients a year in Harringey, Lewisham, Deptford, Lambeth, Southwark or Hackney, offering commercial premises and a support manager for 3 years to get your business started. Their philosophy is to help young people to follow their dreams through entrepreneurship. It’s not the most beautiful of spaces, but the diversity of businesses that co-work here is inspiring.

Further reading & ideas

As I said before, these three all provide very different settings, atmospheres, and levels of support. I think there’s something in there for everyone, and I hope that they will spur you on to find a home in London that will help your business to flourish. For more ideas check out this list.

Have you come across any spaces in your area of the world that you think are worth a mention?

Comments

  1. Comment by Keri, 3:00 pm Feb 19, 2013

    Keri

    Keri

    Good stuff, Kittie.

    I know self-employed people eventually miss the water cooler talk, and often miss out on the first run at collaborative resources. Great suggestions for places of support.

    Thanks for sharing,

    ~Keri

    Reply
    1. Comment by Kittie Walker, 3:00 pm Feb 19, 2013

      Kittie Walker

      Kittie Walker

      Thanks for stopping by Keri, I totally agree it’s a stage that most self-employed people go through.

      Kittie