Anyone who has ever launched a business from their home will likely agree that although it’s cost effective, it can quickly become frustrating.
Aside from the obvious barriers to productivity like household distractions, a blurred work-life balance and a lack of resources to help grow your business, for early-stage founders, being able to work with a community who can help develop your idea is a key ingredient of innovation.
Split Spaces in Mackay has served as a launch pad for the region’s early-stage businesses since 2016, providing a co-working space and entrepreneurial programs to support startup founders, businesses and schools in the Greater Whitsunday region.
Current Split Spaces Community Manager, Deb Allan arrived at Split Spaces in its early days as cofounder of Active Adrenalin, tapping into the space’s values-driven community to help get her business idea off the ground.
“Starting a business from home can be an isolating experience, so being able to work within a community changing the status quo helped us get in the right mindset.
“The workshops and learning environment at Split Spaces and the connections we made helped secure a pilot program that has been followed by additional contracts,” Ms Allan said.
Ms Allan took on the role of Community Manager after witnessing firsthand the value of a support network for emerging entrepreneurs that combines practical work spaces with community support.
“Coming to a space like Split Spaces is important during the startup phase because of the connections to the innovation ecosystem you just can’t get anywhere else.
“Every founder goes through a steep learning curve and while some may find it more useful to pick up new skills through formal education, running a business from Split Spaces surrounded by other founders helps you learn by doing,” Ms Allan said.
“While it’s not talked about as often, having a shared space where you can break out into other topics or decompress during a stressful event is also an important part of the startup journey.”
Developing startups is at the heart of Split Spaces mission, but Ms Allan also believes the innovation journey goes beyond the business launch, delivering programs to schools, industry groups and businesses to help more people prepare for the future of work.
“An innovation ecosystem is about finding a niche that helps broaden the capabilities of a community, which is why we’ve made it our mission to develop the entrepreneurial skill-set.
“We also provide access to mentors who work with companies during their first stages of growth - everything we do is about helping grassroots innovators grow their business,” Ms Allan said.
Ms Allan believes the region’s attitude toward entrepreneurship has matured in recent years, with business leaders embracing innovation, learning from failure and pivoting business strategies to accommodate change as normal features of any business.
According to Ms Allan, regional businesses aren’t quick to think of themselves as a technology business, even though it’s one of the most important tools in their arsenal.
“To scale globally you need to have technology at the heart of your business, so whether you like it or not you need to think of yourselves as a tech business” Ms Allan said.
Split Spaces’ vision is to grow in and diversify its community of entrepreneurs, create local businesses and foster entrepreneurialism in the Greater Whitsunday region.
Split Spaces is leading the way with the creation of Launchpad Studios - a podcast, videography and photography studio funded by Advance Queensland’s Advancing Regional Innovation Program.
High-quality media production is an expensive item for small business owners, which is why Ms Allan wanted to create a space where entrepreneurs along with SME’s can create digital resources to reach their audience.
“We released a survey to the community and the demand for a podcast facility, as well as an infinity screen for product photography and a green screen for videography was high on the list.
“Some larger companies have their own green rooms to create branded communications. Our goal is to assist businesses who don’t have those facilities,” Ms Allan said.
This year, Split Spaces will continue to deliver the Startup Onramp Founders Course, provide masterclasses and mentoring through the Entrepreneurs in Residence Program, and the Futurepreneurs initiative that will foster entrepreneurial spirit within school teachers and students.
Split Spaces will also collaborate with the Resource Industry Network and Resource Centre of Excellence on new initiatives throughout the year to help regional innovators scale their business.
If you’d like to learn more about Split Spaces, go to https://www.splitspaces.com.au/
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