Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Start-up

    CTO 2.0

    Greetings all you lovely people out there. First off the obligatory apology for taking sooooooooo long to get an update to you all, but it’s been a summer of note this side, hoping you’ve had a good one too.

    So, a quick recap. We’ve seen a few new faces join the CTO crew over the past few months, The Renderheads crew from Liverpool have set up camp here – do check out their work. We’ve also had the guys from OrderTalk (US), BetTech and JacadaTravel join the fold at CTO. So, with our regular crew this means that CTO is full till September 2014 which is just fantastic. What’s even more brilliant is the amount of inquiries that keep coming in so we’ve decided it’s time to EXPAND.

    CTO 2.0 will be on the 2nd floor of 62 Roeland, but a much bigger space than the original. We’ve got 2 super talented designers/architects on the project and cannot wait to share with you all what the final layout/design will be. Renovations will start in earnest after the crazy period of long weekends are behind us and fingers crossed we’ll open our doors come July 1st. I suspect a wee cocktail / launch party might well  be in order for that, so keep an eye on your inbox.

    Other exciting news is one of long standing CTO members, Awesome SA are doing really well having launched the APP in January they already have 2,500 downloads and recently received the proverbial “nod of approval”  from WESGRO which is just brilliant! For those of you who don’t know this already, I decided to join the Awesome team with Brandon Wilson (Founder) at the helm bringing sales, marketing and general operational help to the party. It’s been one of the most challenging and exciting projects I’ve worked on, bar none! One of the biggest reasons for opening up CTO in the first place was to foster an environment where collaborations between entrepreneurs can take place and AwesomeSA is a great example of just that. Through the various stages of the project we’ve drawn on the help and expertise of a few CTO members for help on design, development and mostly morale support! You simply can’t beat being in the community of fellow entrepreneurs.

    I’m already taking in bookings for CTO 2.0 – so if you’re interested or know anyone who might be looking at a collaborative space to work from, please do send them our way. Our rates are simple, R1,500 per month is what it is and there’s no extras on top. Access to a meeting space, communal kitchen area of course and inclusive internet as well.

    Have a super shiny rest of April and for all you South Africans reading this… I hope you all cast your vote on the 7th of May!

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

     

    April 29, 2014
    Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Paperless: dream or possible?

    Weird topic right? But the other day I had a pleasure of spending time in a similar space to Cape Town Office, 88mph located in the (uber trendy) Woodstock Exchange. A good friend of mine has taken over the running of the space and what a space it is. I won’t bore you with the details only to say that this is a space for tech heads, start-ups to be exact.

    Sitting with my mate I couldn’t help but notice the distinct lack of shelving / storage and so asked him about this. I wondered whether there were perhaps lockers or cabinets elsewhere where they could store their paper work. The answer I got was simply, no. This is a paperless office.

    When I got back to my office and saw the amount of paperwork on my desk I wondered to myself whether it was possible to lead a 100% paperless office.

    ADMIN

    I work online and receive as much as I can (bills etc.) via email, but still I have paperwork that I need to file, so even in this day and age my question is whether this is simply an ideal we strive for or whether it’s possible to truly have a paperless office.

    So, send me your thoughts / comments and pictures of your desk to compare.

    Can you go 100% paperless?

    Have a great week,

    Lizelle

     

    October 07, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Start-up diary: Collaborative workspaces are great for growing businesses c/o The Telegraph

    Forgive me for “borrowing” this content, but this is a great read for those of you still trying to work from home. This might just be what you needed to hear.

    Deciding where you’re going to base your business is a massive headache. With little money coming in to begin, with you feel you should work at home. I did this for a few weeks but found it a distracting existence. Due to the close proximity of my kitchen and internet recipes, I found myself becoming a better chef rather than a better entrepreneur.

    What was worse, though, was feeling that I couldn’t switch off when the working day was done. So I went through the business owners’ rite of passage of looking for office space.

    Initially I was not looking forward to this. I felt I would be faced with serving my time in a broom cupboard. Yet due to the huge growth in single-person businesses, up by 500,000 between 2008 and 2012, a whole industry has emerged that provides workspace to this group.

    Collaborative workspaces are the hot new trend for one-man bands. These are spaces in which like-minded communities of entrepreneurs work in the same area and help each other. This concept is attractive because they naturally create a sociable environment by bringing together companies that have things in common.

    A central theme of my business is to ensure that the operation of 100 Bodycare is as environmentally friendly as possible in terms of its ingredients, packaging and production, so when I was looking for space I sought a community of social entrepreneurs and soon came across The Hub.

    This concept was launched in 2005 in a converted warehouse in Islington and has grown to have workspace on five continents. Anna Levy, who co-managers the Hub Islington, describes Hub entrepreneurs as “having a shared set of values in wanting to make a positive social impact with their businesses.”

    The Hub was my first proper office. I found it particularly useful in moulding the initial structure of my business before I started trading. The Hub is setup to foster communication between its businesses and I benefitted from its monthly Hub Club meetings in which entrepreneurs present business problems to each other. I made a presentation about measuring the carbon footprint of my packaging and as a result got the feedback and contacts I needed.

    Entrepreneurial business space is increasingly transient in nature. Community-based spaces have contributed to this trend as certain environments can suit your business at different stages in its lifecycle. Therefore many small businesses have a nomadic existence going from one community to another and sometimes back again depending on the needs of the business at a point in time.

    This was certainly the reason I left the Hub. When I started trading I recognised that I had a big knowledge gap around digital technology. In order to compete with the larger companies in my industry, this was something I really had to learn. As a result, I sought out a workspace called ‘The Accelerator’ based in Shoreditch, London.

    The Accelerator is publically funded to support high growth businesses which use digital technology. It develops the digital knowledge base of its community and helped me via courses they put together from the learning of the businesses that work there.

    In addition the Accelerator provides strategic advice to its entrepreneurs via a team of experienced business people that coordinate the workspace. Richard Celm, who manages the Accelerator, also explained that he sometimes facilitates access to finance.

    “We have private and public contacts that have helped Accelerator businesses such as ‘Tweet Photo’ and ‘Fitness to Life’ recently get the funds for growth,” he told me. “Being publically-funded makes our willingness to help entrepreneurs more credible as we’ve got no commercial agenda.”

    Collaborative spaces aren’t perfect for every type of business. The byproduct of the vibrancy of a collaborative space is that they’re often very noisy and distracting. Also there can be an issue of employee retention as the close proximity of the community can lead to people moving from one company to another. Nevertheless, for my business at the moment, as I seek to evolve my business model, the contacts and knowledge I’m gaining offset the disadvantages.

    I hope my thoughts were of use and if anyone wishes to contact me I’m very happy to help on www.100bodycare.com

    To comment on the original piece, please visit The Telegraph website here.

    Happy October folks (or should that be #Ocsober)

    Lizelle

    October 02, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Start-up

    When the theory just works

    Maverick-Digital-Labs-Logo

    I’d like to share a bit of a feel-good story with you all.

    In December ’12 I was approached by someone looking for temporary shared “office space”. The conversation went along very familiar lines; how does it all work at Cape Town Office, what kind of professionals are in the space now and of course the most important question of all… how much does it cost?

    The underlying theme here was quite familiar. This was a start-up and like so many start up ventures they faced a heap of challenges and if you work in this space you’ll be very familiar with some of these…

    • Company registration
    • Tax clearance [SARS]
    • Systems and processes
    • Sales & Marketing
    • Recruitment
    • New business

    But perhaps the biggest and arguably most tedious of challenges the start-up faces is office space, so when M4verick Digital found the Cape Town Office, they immediately understood how this would benefit them.

    They moved in on the first day of 2013 with a team of just 4 – not knowing where this venture would lead, how long it would take for them to establish themselves and ultimately whether it would work, but at least they had an office space that didn’t tie them into a long and expensive lease, they didn’t have to furnish their office and they didn’t have to arrange internet. (Love you Telkom, but you’re hard work sometimes)

    They walked in – sat down – and started work.

    And my goodness, did they work hard! Early mornings and late (very late) nights, weekends too and so it was no surprise that they were quickly rewarded with more customers. Being in a space where they could scale up (or down if needed) meant that taking on extra staff was easy. Easy on the cash flow and easy to manage. I’ve watched them grow into what is now an established player in the digital field with a growing list of blue chip clients and outstanding quality of work. With a strong full time team of 6 and a network of freelancers they can outsource to it was time for M4verick to move into their own space. Luckily they haven’t gone far… just 2 floors up, but we do miss them here in the office, that’s for sure!

    Check them out http://m4verick.co.za/clients/

    The bottom line is that from my perspective it puts into practice the theory of co-working, of sharing costs and sharing a work space. It works. And that makes me very happy indeed.

    Happy Spring everyone 🙂

     

    September 10, 2013