The WonderHub, launching 21st November, is an innovative new co-working space combining a great working environment with in-house accelerator programmes, events, mentoring and investor support, creating the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to launch new ventures, scale their brands and be a part of an innovative business ecosystem.
This exciting new entrepreneurial ecosystem also includes an in-house Growth Engine, in the form of award-winning creative marketing & digital transformation agency Wonderful, who will be powering the community through strategic and practical support. Members also benefit from access to a network of seed and growth investors, who are actively looking to invest in start-ups with potential and scale-ups ready for growth. Whether hot-desking a few hours per week as a ‘Coffee Lounge’ member, or residing in one of the dedicated private offices (ranging from 3 to 14 person), it is assured that businesses will find themselves immersed alongside like-minded people in a unique ecosystem to grow businesses and realise potential.
In addition to space, growth engine, and access to investors, members will benefit from access to the established ‘Scale or Fail’ programme, a schedule of events for the residents community (and some for non-members) to inspire, educate and help grow the businesses and leaders in the community. The WonderHub community will be made up of a wide range of businesses with diverse needs, and the events & accelerator programmes are aimed at supporting as many of the member businesses as possible across a wide range of disciplines.
Demand for this type of co-working and flexible office space has been growing in the county, with recent reports demonstrating that the demand is being driven by the working practices evolution where flexible and mobile working, and the collaboration with smaller, highly skilled and tech-orientated specialists is becoming more and more prevalent.
Cushman and Wakefield’s recent report on the UK flexible office market suggests 5.5% of London’s office space is let flexibly and like Kent, it has insufficient new space in the pipeline to meet growing demand. High occupancy and a lack of new spaces represents a big opportunity for the county and The WonderHub concept, especially in towns that provide connectivity along HS1.
The first WonderHub’s central Maidstone location means busy entrepreneurs are just a few minutes walk from Maidstone East & Maidstone West Train Stations, enabling access to London in an hour or less. This level of accessibility, when coupled with inspiring communal coffee areas, private desks, offices and event spaces creates a great environment for entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-up companies.
Gavin Cleary, CEO for Locate in Kent said: “We are seeing a steady growth in demand for co-working spaces across Kent and Medway. This is being stimulated by the changing nature of work environments; with requirements for flexible lease arrangements, collaborative workspaces and a focus on staff retention.
“The interest in co-working spaces is also reflective of the forward-thinking business community across the county and is an area particularly relevant to the creative industries, one of the region’s fastest growing sectors with an active freelance community as well as 9,000 employed across Kent and Medway.
“Locate in Kent is pleased to support the launch of WonderHub as part of our work providing bespoke advice to businesses looking to set up, expand or relocate in Kent.”
The in-house Growth Engine, Wonderful, is an integral part of what makes this different to just another office space. Managing Director Dan Maudhub said: “We’re really excited to be a part of this new venture, and can’t wait to start helping the businesses joining us in the building. It’s just such a cool place to work, our entire team and everyone who has had the opportunity to visit us so far has commented on just how amazing the workspace and environment is. And Wonderful being the hub’s very own in-house agency will give us the opportunity to help a range of businesses to succeed. This hasn’t happened by accident, it’s all part of a formulated ecosystem that will help start-ups and scale-ups not only survive, but to thrive in challenging and uncertain climates.”
Dan continued: “We’re helping to give these businesses the best chance of not becoming another one of the failures. We hear stats of 90% failure rate for UK start-ups, with 60% failing even if they survive into year 3, and a lot of the time this is down to poorly spent investment in their tech platforms, their marketing, or just not getting their brand and value proposition right in the first place. One key aspect of this is our access to investors. We work closely with scale-ups to help get them ready for investment and growth, and make sure they’re in the best shape possible to secure that investment when the time comes. We can then introduce them to our investor network and help their continued growth.”
Simon Benton, Investor at The WonderHub explained: “Bringing Wonderful into this development was a no-brainer. They help businesses to succeed, and having such easy access to this kind of valuable experience as part of the residents’ incubation in The WonderHub really can make a difference to the local business community.”
The first of its kind in Kent, the inaugural WonderHub will showcase what can be achieved when people work collaboratively, in the right environment and with the right network. With plans to roll the concept out in a number of new locations across the county, the team behind the WonderHub have already earmarked a number of sites to breathe new life into existing spaces and build exciting new ones.
The WonderHub will be officially opened by Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Marion Ring and special guests on Thursday 21st November, with the launch event running from 4pm-7pm, where local business people are invited to meet the team behind the venture, network and explore the space. Those interested in attending the launch or finding out more about the space are invited to visit https://wonderhub.space for more info.