Venture Centre’s coworking space, Basestation, has always been a key part of its mission. But why is that? Why does coworking even matter? We asked Venture Centre co-founder Steven Vincent to explain why.
As Venture Centre establishes itself in its role as digital and entrepreneurial capability-builder in our region, we are often asked ‘what is the difference between Venture Centre and Basestation’ and ‘how do the two work’?
To put it simply, Basestation, the coworking space, is a product of Venture Centre. And Venture Centre loves operating from Basestation, coworking with 35+ other businesses who share space, resources and services, right here in Tauranga CBD.
The business of coworking is quite different from the business of capability building, so it is not surprising the founders have found a way to focus on aspects of the business that they feel most passion for. Steven Vincent, Venture Centre co-founder and director, had started coworking way before coworking was a thing so had good insights in how to make it work. It also makes him the go-to person at Venture Centre to talk about Basesation!
“I opened my original office in a "coworking" setting in Pyes Pa in 1999 - I didn’t know that term yet! This really helped me get my business started, in so many ways: no lease, no overheads, and plenty of good connections and advice from the people I was sharing space with then,” he says.
This experience, as Steven was starting up, planted a seed and later on, as he and business partner Michael Doerner moved Technologywise to Devonport Road, they decided to continue seeking to cowork, initially simply because they had space to share.
“Throughout this period we both knew, being an IT company, that the systems we had set up for our team of seven could easily serve the tech needs of 100 people,” he adds, “so we first had other tech companies join in with us, and beyond just sharing space and systems, we effectively started to share ideas with some amazing coworkers!”
Fast forward to 2014, Jo Allum and Pascale Hyboud-Peron had both on and off collaborated with Steven and Michael on various projects and made use of the Technologywise space on Devonport Road to deliver those projects. The four co-founded Venture Centre to realise their vision of providing the on-ramps and intersections needed for entrepreneurs to prosper. Key to the realisation of this vision was to provide a place for it to grow from: a coworking space!
“That year, 2014, was the end of the Technologywise lease on Devonport Road. And I also knew we could actually open a large office and share everything we had some place else. By then coworking was definitely a thing, with places already operating in town. Basestation’s floor plan was drawn and the renovation on Durham Street started transforming the old police station buildings into a functional coworking space. Technologywise became a resident at Basestation, and so did newly-founded Venture Centre! We knew we wanted to have open desks and offices to cater for a range of needs, as well as meeting space and event space so that Venture Centre could run the programmes, events and workshops we offer.”
The flexible use of space, the café, and the many regular events serve both residents and the community at large, see hundreds of people walking through the door every week, with a purpose.
“Basestation helps us realise the vision for the empowered, connected, entrepreneurial community Venture Centre has,” Steven says.
How does he know Basestation is so integral to Venture Centre’s work?
“The results speak for themselves,” is his response. “Collaboration on projects between residents, startup founders moving from using one single desk to several offices as their company grows, members of our community at large walking in for a workshop or taking part in a programme, local organisations using our premises for its vibe and convenience - it’s clear our space is serving a need for a connected community. We are always keen for anyone looking for a workspace in town to come and try it out any day to see for themselves.”
Venture Centre runs and operates Basestation coworking space and works to connect people on enterprising journeys - with each other and the mindset, skillset, toolsets, networks and resources they need - to build an ecosystem that delivers real-world, learn-by-doing events, activities, projects and experiences, and more... This would not be possible without the support of Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District councils.
Crossposted from basestation.co.nz