Workspaces from across the city recently collaborated to hold the inaugural Plymouth workspace week. The series of events celebrated the diverse range of options on offer by opening the doors for people to have a nose about. Whilst I would’ve loved to attend them all, a packed week of conferences and other commitments meant only a few were viable. Nonetheless, I signed up and enjoyed a week of knowledge sharing, networking with the occasional tipple thrown in for good measure.
Two of the events I attended were hosted at the Regus Express, which is oddly positioned between a toy shop and a burger chain in the Drake Circus shopping mall. The unassuming exterior opened up into a modern and comfortable office space with great facilities. It seemed perfect for those business meetings where guests are passing through the city, being situated just a few minutes walk from major transport links.
The first of the two events at Regus was the Entrepreneurs club, a monthly gathering held in partnership with Plymouth University. It brought together a mix of budding entrepreneurs and experienced business people with the occasional surprise thrown into the mix. The buzz in the room was palpable and fueled by coffee, biscuits and bright ideas. Beyond conversations, the evening offered a chance for me to get a hands on look at the BrighThinking SolarDock. I first heard of this products at a crowdfunding workshop almost a year ago, and instantly fell in love. Whilst it wasn’t successfully funded back then, the fact that it’s being iterated, improved and relaunched shows the kind of commitment to the entrepreneurial journey on show. My only disappointment was I couldn’t buy one there and then!
The second event at Regus was a little more subdued, possible because of the friday afternoon slot, but no less interesting. The champagne reception offered the perfect stimulation for conversation. I spent a pleasurable afternoon discussing the art of Michelangelo, student outreach programs and the true value of social media engagement. More than anything, the two events highlighted the extremely diverse community that has built up around this office space.
The third event I attended was at the Formation Zone, Plymouth University’s very own startup incubator. After a brief tour of the extremely spacious open office, we were given demonstrations of some really interesting projects. First up was the the social engagement game built for the event by So Good Studios. While simple in concept, the game proved really popular with attendees. We all battled it out to get a gold medal although I’m not sure if anyone succeeded. Not through lack of trying I might add! It sure was good way to turn brand engagement into fun and games.
Next up was TruVision, a VR company who specialise in creating immersive and interactive models of yet to be completed buildings. It was great seeing people who’ve never used VR put on the headset and get transported to another place. I’ve been lucky enough to experience a variety of VR environments in recent years, from proof of concepts up to multi award-winning games. This was by far the best practical application of the technology I’ve seen to date. As someone currently remodelling a house, I can see the benefits of using this to view the designs before they’re complete. No more arguing over which color fridge will best match the kitchen tiles!
The workspace week was a great opportunity for me to take a look at some of the spaces I don’t typically get to visit. I already know of the awesomeness contained at ThinqTanq, regularly attend networking events at the Thrive Hub and after 15 months working at Plymouth Science Park I have a good understanding of the services they offer. Regus and the Formation Zone had always remained a mystery. It was great to experience the spaces while they were doing what they’re good at. With co-working spaces as diverse as these in the city, it’s wonder there are any freelancers still working from home.