In June we interviewed Guy Levin, Executive Director at Coadec (the Coaltion for a Digital Economy), about his mission to give startups a voice on political issues. Then, he was urging new and growing companies to share their views in an online survey. The resulting Startup Manifesto came out this month and it provides both a snapshot of the problems that face startups and practical suggestions as to how the government and policy makers should tackle them.
It wasn’t surprising that the manifesto dealt with many of the matters we’ve discussed on the Workspace blog in the past. It called for a cut in taxes for entrepreneurs and suggested innovative schemes to reduce National Insurance for startups who, for example, might offer pro bono coding lessons to teachers. It advocated the relaxation of immigration restrictions and favoured more sponsorship opportunities to attract foreign talent to the country. The Manifesto called for the integration of Bitcoin into the legal framework as part of bolstering the UK in the field of fin tech. The speed of broadband was also flagged up (welcome 5G!) as well as internet security. The most pertinent points, however, were those which dealt with the UK property market and highlighted the difficulty some startups face in finding suitable office space.
The Coadec Manifesto stated: “A common complaint of startups is the lack of affordable office space. Startups not only need cheap office space, but flexible terms, as many will either look to expand or even cease to exist before a standard multi-year lease is up (the average UK commercial lease length is 5.8 years).” Flexibility is something which is a key part of Workspace's mission to provide suitable bases for the capital’s new and growing companies. Not only do those who started off coworking at Club Workspace get preferential rates when moving to offices within the Workspace portfolio, but as Cathie Sellars, head of marketing, explained: “You need to have a think about the number of people you will be employing for the next three to five years, deciding how much meeting room, kitchen, reception and desk space will be needed to accommodate everyone. You will also need to think about infrastructure requirements like fire alarm systems, telecommunications, disabled access, fire exits and cabling, ensuring that you comply with health and safety regulations.” Businesses based at Workspace view growth as a priority; Workspace strive to enable businesses to grow faster.
Flexibility is at the heart of Workspace’s service. We may offer companies the stability and quality of facilities provided by traditional permanent office space but we offer it all without the ball and chain.