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In recent years, the UK has witnessed a surge in the number of startups and SMEs.  

The 5.6 million small businesses in the UK (0-49 employees) really are the backbone of the UK economy. They’re agile, creative and entrepreneurial, whether they’re freelancers, sole traders, micro firms (0-9) or small. They’re innovative and talented. They’re risk takers and employ half of the UK’s workforce. These are the people who help medium sized and large businesses hone their competitive edge and flourish. If you aren’t procuring goods and services from this powerhouse, you’re missing out on opportunities to boost your local economies and communities.(Quote from Liz Barclay Small Business Commissioner on  2022) 

In order for local economies to thrive, an active and expanding small business sector within local communities must be encouraged.  However, all too often these businesses do not succeed and this is often due to lack of connections. The right network is essential for small business owners to thrive and as most of us are not born with these networks we must make our own, or allow a work hub to do it for us 

Creating affordable and convenient shared workspaces that offer inspiring, collaborative and affirmative environments for these businesses is essential.   

Flexible workspaces are vibrant hubs of creativity and collaboration

Flexible workspace operators, with their exciting approach to office solutions, are significantly impacting local economies in a whole variety of ways. By providing shared workspaces, hot desks, and shared working environments, these operators are encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation within communities. By offering affordable and adaptable office spaces, they attract startups, creatives, and small businesses that may not have the resources to invest in traditional office setups. This influx of diverse talent and ideas creates vibrant hubs of creativity and collaboration which is conducive to local economic growth.

These creative workspace hubs can also contribute to the revitalisation of under-utilised or neglected areas within towns and cities. By repurposing existing buildings or occupying vacant spaces, they breathe new life into neighbourhoods which in turn helps the local economy.  This can boost property values in the area and also supports local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, and shops which in turn generates more jobs in the community.

Supporting local businesses 

Working from home can be an isolating experience.  Shared workspaces offer customised solutions for self-employed people and small business owners so they can find a home from home. These workspaces provide innovative places to rent on a flexible basis and importantly offer opportunities for business owners to meet like-minded people and make meaningful connections.  It is important to have a support network around you when you are starting up or looking to expand your company but you may not have the budget or desire to commit to long term office leases so these shared hubs can be the perfect solution.  

Far too many businesses fail because they lack support, knowledge, skills and opportunities. 

Creative, shared workspace hubs give business owners the opportunity to reach out to specialists within their community rather than trying to do everything by themselves.  Being a business owner, especially in the early days can be quite an isolating experience. 

Emma Selby, Flexible Workspace Operator, says,  “Our mantra is that no one should build a business alone.  Nearly everyone within our small business community here at SiGNAL is collaborating with others from within the community. Together we can build successful businesses so much faster. Alone, there is a big chance you are wasting your energies reinventing the wheel." 

SiGNAL - More than just a workplace

Crucially when people choose to rent an office space or studio from SiGNAL they immediately gain access to wraparound support, signposting and friendship through the BiZHUB.  SiGNAL’s online app connects new members to all the other businesses in the Hub with a gamified communication channel, while regular socials and networking events connect people face to face.

SiGNAL provides essential business services and award-winning business training for the self-employed and small businesses in East Hampshire. Additionally their tenants are looked after by the team who are always on hand to help with admin and general advice for small businesses. 

Emma explains that another factor differentiating SiGNAL from other work hubs is their belief in the power of bringing retail ,entertainment and business together.  In Bordon, the buzzy street food covered market place and local shopping centre, ‘The Shed’, has a friendly modern vibe which is conducive to exciting collaborations whilst also being a welcoming environment for young families. SiGNAL opened 13 new studio offices on the top floor and the blending of business and pleasure really helps with work life balance and is especially useful for new business owners who are juggling family commitments. SiGNAL studio offices are also dog friendly. Emma thinks that with the current groundswell of hybrid working, young professionals are looking for small self contained studios and offices near home where they can make meaningful connections as well as getting privacy and a space to be creative. This new use of empty retail outlets could be part of the revival of the local High Street 

Begin your own journey with SiGNAL

SiGNAL help people start up and grow every day, just through the power of the

collaborative business community and in turn, the local community and economy benefit and thrive from these entrepreneurs.  

If you’d like to learn more about SiGNAL and how you could become a member of the community, get in touch