Innovative entrepreneurs and very small business owners in search of collaboration, inspiration and new technology are flocking to co-working spaces across the country.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal a 25 percent uplift in sole-traders in the year to June 2015. This represents a rate of more than 70 new businesses per week, compared with an average of around 55 new businesses per week from 2009.
This growing group of business owners are ditching the structure of a nine-to-five job to pursue a freelance career by setting up shop at flexible and creative co-working hubs. The vast majority are seeking locations connected to the nbn™ network as a greater reliance of fast broadband continues to drive the growing digital economy and way Australians work.
There are now more than 140 collaborative co-working centres scattered on the fringes of Australian capital cities and regional hubs catering for those in need of desk space and the latest tech-tools.
“With new Australian solo-businesses popping-up every day, the growing flexibility of our workforce provides ideal conditions for start-up businesses to take the plunge and get their business idea off-the-ground,” said Bernard Salt, KPMG demographer.
“This new tribe of ‘Office Nomads’ are no longer confined to a traditional workplace as they move from job-to-job pursuing their passion while being inspired by like-minded entrepreneurs.”
“Whether you’re a tradie, creative, consultant or accountant, access to fast broadband and a flexible work environment will enable you to be more productive by taking control of where, when and how you do business.”
Peter Bradd, co-founder and CEO at The Beanstalk Factory, a company which consults with entrepreneurs to drive business innovation says that co-working environments will play an important role in the future of work.
“As co-working and collaborative environments become more mainstream, professionals are certainly making their location decisions based upon which spaces have the best internet speeds to get the most out of their business productivity,” said Bradd.
“Those who choose to work flexibly typically rely upon cloud software and other online platforms to communicate, access and share information – so a quick and strong connection is critical.”
Bec Mutch, founder of the CoWorkCo, a creative co-working space based in Brunswick, Melbourne says connecting to fast broadband over the nbn™ network is an essential business offering for her community of start-ups.
“As someone who has made the leap from an international luxury brand to a freelance career, I’m passionate about creating an inspiring and collaborative environment for our strong group of likeminded entrepreneurs,” explained Mutch.
With plenty of space to accommodate solo and small businesses, as well as intimate workshops and events, the CoworkCo is a hub of activity and innovation.
“I chose to run my co-working space from this location because it had access to the nbn™ network – it’s as important to us as having a chair,” said Mutch.
There are more than 2.8 million homes and businesses around the country which can already connect to the nbn™ network with every Australian set to have access by 2020.