Issue 2: Autumn/Winter 2016
connected how to build – and grow – your business network
fast, faster, fastest ~ what’s next for broadband speeds? zombie attack! ~ protecting your business from cyber crime women inspiring women ~ the female entrepreneurs blazing a trail
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday* People are at work. A lot. So shouldnâ€™t where they work be worth spending time in? Generate Studios work with businesses to make sure their work spaces make their people creative, not crazy. We want to help clients to make the space for their business, a place for their people too. We do great interiors. Your company will love them. http://www.generate-studio.com
“You’re part of a ready-made network”
Brexit, a change of prime minister, a new mayor… these are interesting times for London’s small businesses. One thing’s for sure: there’s strength in numbers, and if your company has good, solid relationships with other firms you’re better placed to weather any storms.
And that’s what the Workspace offer is all about. With 4,000 businesses spread over 65 buildings across the capital, it offers customers a vast, diverse network of other New and Growing Companies to tap into, consult, supply, befriend, brainstorm and collaborate with. In addition, Workspace’s state-of-the-art digital services make it easier, and speedier, for businesses to keep in touch – with each other, with clients and customers, and with the world at large. In this (second) issue of HomeWork magazine, we’re taking a closer look at both types of “connectivity” – digital and social – and why they’re equally vital for growth. On the tech front, we outline the initiatives that are being put in place to turn London into a world-class digital “mega hub” (page 51), and explain how to protect your business from cyber crime (page 56). Social networking takes centre stage in Keeping in the Loop (page 12), which has tips on everything from working a room to the apps and websites that can help you get more out of meetups; we also find out how the entrepreneurs of the future are being given a head start in building their business networks through Workspace’s InspiresMe initiative (page 18). On page 23, we examine how Workspace companies working in very different industries, and based in very different postcodes, are using the wider Workspace network to take their businesses to the next level. And don’t forget our Start Me Up section (page 33) – packed with advice for entrepreneurs, from entrepreneurs. It might start with a chat at the coffee shop; you might discover someone via the Workspace Twitter feed; you might even be spurred (if we’ve done our job properly) to contact one of the businesses featured in this magazine… From these seemingly small beginnings, strong business partnerships can be forged. You’re part of a ready-made network – all you have to do now is plug in and grow… If you or your business have a great story to tell the readers of HomeWork, please get in touch at email@example.com
Tessa Clayton, Editor
huge thanks to… …this issue’s contributors, Kate O’Flaherty, Fleur Macdonald and Farah Khalique, for sharing their expertise Kate O’Flaherty is a journalist specialising in consumer and b2b technology, with a keen interest in IT trends and the telecoms industry. On page 51 she takes a close look at the state of digital connectivity in London, and the initiatives that are being put into place in an attempt to drive change. Also an editor, copywriter and contributing analyst for Current Analysis, Kate has written for a raft of publications including The Times and The Guardian.
“I’m fascinated by how women are revolutionising work patterns to fit their priorities – whatever those might be,” says Fleur Macdonald; turn to page 44 for her interviews with female Workspace entrepreneurs. Fleur is a journalist specialising in small businesses, particularly those based in London. She also edits HomeWork online, is features editor for TRUEAfrica, and writes for The Economist’s 1843 magazine and The Guardian.
Brexit is a thorny issue for small businesses, and who better to unpick it than Farah Khalique. A freelance business and financial journalist, and an expert on financing solutions for SMEs, she has written for the Daily Mail, The Wall Street Journal, Financial News, Euromoney and The Treasurer, among others. Her feature on page 9 focuses on the upsides of Brexit for UK businesses, and hints at blue skies on the horizon for small firms.
How do you stay connected? “A reliable broadband connection is vital when you’re freelance – if I’m not connected, I can’t work, and that means loss of revenue. What’s great about mobile broadband and Wi-Fi is that I can take my MacBook to the local coffee shop or to meetings in London and still stay connected.”
How do you stay connected? “I’m constantly on WhatsApp – great for swapping quick texts, voice messages and GIFS with people wherever they are in the world. I use it professionally as much as I do socially. Plus I’m always on Twitter. See you online @fleur_macdonald!”
How do you stay connected? “I strike a balance between chatting to my sources on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and ensuring plenty of face time with my trusted contacts over coffee or lunch. My existing contacts are also great at connecting me with new people, often via a quick introductory email.”
people power p.12
From social platforms and apps to meet-and-greet events, here’s how to build – and maintain – a strong business network
Meeting up, reaching out, switching on... This issue’s all about making connections, both digital and social
start me up Information, inspiration, tips and advice from fellow entrepreneurs - you’ll find it all in our special section dedicated to brand new businesses
connect Four businesses tell us how they’ve got where they are, where they’re headed next, and how plugging into the Workspace network gives them an edge
p 8 In the news ~ what’s making the headlines, and what it means for you and your business p 40 Gr8 expectations ~ Richard Silvester of visualised data agency Infogr8 puts us in the picture p 44 Breaking through ~ inspiring stories – and practical advice – from female entrepreneurs p 56 Black hats, zombies & evil twins ~ how to protect yourself from cyber crime …
the future is bright… the long read When it comes to broadband speeds, how does London compare with other capital cities? Tech journalist Kate O’Flaherty investigates
We meet the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, the teenagers being given a head start in business through Workspace’s InspiresMe programme
the big picture
technology Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a Workspace business centre? This cutaway illustration of Workspace’s Metal Box Factory in Great Guildford Street, produced by architect, workplace strategist and illustrator Giuseppe Boscherini, is as compelling as a “Where’s Wally?” book. It shows the state-of-the-art technology infrastructure and allows you to sneak a peek at how the Workspace community is created, from the building-wide Wi-Fi and bike storage in the basement to the meeting rooms and the fourth-floor terrace. To see more of Giuseppe’s work and to find out about the co-creation services he offers to clients, visit www.boscherini.com
news talking points
Getting to grips with pension regulations, what Brexit might bring, plus up-and-coming Workspace events
Workspace’s Metal Box Factory in SE1 has been awarded Platinum status – the highest possible rating – for its digital infrastructure by WiredScore, the independent connectivity certification service Launched by the Mayor of London in 2015, the WiredScore programme provides a standardised ratings system that enables tenants to identify buildings with the fastest and most reliable internet services, and gives landlords and developers a benchmark from which to improve and market their buildings’ connectivity standards. The Wired Certified Platinum rating is held by only six other buildings in the UK, and is given only to those premises that are “best in class across all features of connectivity that matter most to tenants”. Having undergone a major refurbishment in 2014, Metal Box Factory is home to more than 150 New and Growing Companies, including greetings card company Moonpig, innovative kitchenware brand Joseph Joseph and Mark Hix’s Hixter Bankside restaurant. The building’s connected services were a factor in attracting its most recent tenants: Mozilla, creator of the Firefox internet web browser. Rob Middleton, the company’s Director of Worldwide Workplace Resources, says, “The connectivity here is fantastic and it meets the very challenging connectivity demands that we have.”
“This fantastic recognition is testament to our commitment to providing our customers with the highest quality workspaces” James Friedenthal James Friedenthal, Workspace’s Head of Corporate Development, says the company is “proud” to have received the top award. “Connectivity is a top priority for fast growing, digitally dependent businesses and this fantastic recognition from WiredScore is testament to our commitment as a business to providing our customers with the highest quality workspaces,” he says. “Through the managed fibre network owned and delivered by Excell Group, we are able to deliver reliable, dedicated fibre connectivity to each of our customers in Metal Box Factory. We will continue to invest in the technological infrastructure of our buildings for our customers.”
it’s a date…
The next Workspace Business Insight Dinner will take place on 6 October at The Print Rooms in SE1, when the topic under discussion will be “The Reality of Virtual Business?”. A panel of industry experts and entrepreneurs will explore ways in which VR technology is set to disrupt the healthcare, automotive, tourism and retail industries. The dinner is part of the wider Workspace Business Insight Programme of case studies and events, run in partnership with business network Knowledge Peers, and is free to Workspace customers. Find out more by emailing WBI@knowledgepeers.com
what’s next? Britain’s unprecedented decision to exit the European Union has undoubtedly kicked off a period of uncertainty, but Brexit Armageddon has yet to transpire, says Farah Khalique
Official data shows that businesses are in fact keener than ever to borrow, investor confidence in London businesses remains buoyant and the UK stock market has soared to new highs. Brexit has divided the nation, but it seems the UK business sector remains united. Small to medium enterprises are behind a huge surge in funding enquiries in August, according to figures from the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers. The NACFB’s findSMEfinance platform found that enquiries for finance quickly exceeded £20 million within the first fortnight – the same amount as the whole of July and double that of a year ago. The figures are all the more extraordinary given that August is typically a sleepy month. Adam Tyler, Chief Executive of the NACFB, commented that Project Fear “doesn’t appear to have rattled the SME community”. Figures from the Office of National Statistics for the second quarter show a happy triumvirate of growing employment, falling unemployment and stable wage growth. Statistics for the period of July
to September will show a clearer post-referendum picture, but these will not be released until later in the year. Nevertheless, a survey of 186 firms by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and CBRE UK found that two-fifths plan to commit to their investment plans and half will keep hiring. It’s not quite the meltdown that the pundits forecast. Lucy Haynes, CBI London Director, said: “London remains firmly open for business, and the capital’s firms are well used to navigating choppy waters. Many appear to have taken the decision to leave the European Union within their stride.” Russell Gould, Chief Executive at new digital mortgage lender BlueZest, believes that some fintech companies are set to flourish. Since the initial upheaval of the referendum result, highprofile technology investment deals have resumed. Mastercard announced its acquisition of London fintech Vocalink for £700m and Japanese giant Softbank is pushing ahead with plans to acquire chip designer ARM Holdings for £24.3bn. Gould says: “Technology investors have always had an element of risk to weigh up. While
Brexit has indeed exacerbated that risk, the potential reward will still be enough to entice some, perhaps at lower rates and on a less frequent basis for the time being. But as the innovation continues, so will the people who see its potential and want to become part of it.” Companies should feel relieved that new Prime Minister Theresa May is putting small to medium businesses at the forefront of the agenda, believes Ian Smith, Technical Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Scale Computing. “Whatever happens, London is one of the world’s greatest tech hubs and it stands as a point of entry into the European market,” Smith says. “London is still ripe for technology investment, and we believe we will see businesses that invest in the right technology continue to flourish.” Farah Khalique is a freelance business and financial journalist. Read more of her features at www.workspace.co.uk
“Brexit has divided the nation, but it seems the UK business sector remains united”
(not so) automatic enrolment The final deadline for entering your employees into a pension scheme is fast approaching, says Robert Scrafton. Is your business prepared? With very limited exceptions, every organisation in the UK – no matter how small – has to get to grips with the biggest administrative burden that the government has landed on us since the implementation of VAT. If your organisation has its own HR department you’ve probably got it sorted, but for small companies it’s only now that the dreaded “Staging Dates” are starting to hit. You may already have received your “Act Now” introductory letter from the Pensions Regulator and put it to the bottom of the pile. But if that date is within six months (and most small/new companies fall into the 2016/2017 band) then you’d better dig it out and start acting now because it really does take time and effort to get it started and you face real fines for non-compliance. Your organisation has two choices: do it yourself (take a look at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk) or outsource. But either way, you need to get a good overall understanding of how it all works, choose the pension scheme, decide how much you are going to contribute (there are legal minimums but a number of confusing discretionary options) and be ultimately and legally responsible for the scheme. Good payroll software takes away some of the pain, but the additional pensions’ elements are considerably more complex. Then you need to explain everything to your employees through mandatory communications, make sure the legally required deadlines are met on an ongoing basis (forever) and also administer the scheme with your scheme
provider. Employees will also have questions: How does it work? Why this scheme? Is it worth it? Can I opt out? (Interestingly, only 10 per cent do.) Moreover, the employee who processes your payroll or your payroll provider may not be willing or able to do all of this. They will almost certainly not be best placed to advise you on every aspect of the process. Many employers (and many experts) have serious doubts about the wisdom of their being legally responsible for what is a lifelong area of personal finance, not least because the minimum legal contributions – effectively 3.3–6.9 per cent of salaries, which most employers/employees make by default – will anyway provide inadequate pension pots. But automatic enrolment is here to stay. Sticking our heads in the sand is not an option. So let’s be positive: the government’s refund of income tax on employees’ contributions is well worth it. And what if employers and employees work together over time so that remuneration packages allow for 10–15 per cent contributions (the levels required to reach meaningful pension funds)? Why not be an organisation that turns a significant burden into a massive opportunity for your employees and in the process earns their lifelong gratitude? Robert Scrafton is a director of LSC London, a consultancy specialising in supporting small businesses, based at The Light Bulb in Wandsworth. Find out more at www.lscworkforce.com
“How does it work? Why this scheme? Is it worth it? Can I opt out?” 10
book your free financial MOT
You have to feel sorry for Sadiq Khan. After convincingly beating Zac Goldsmith to become the third Mayor of London, he announced a raft of measures to tackle the challenges facing London – and then 23 June happened. Britain unexpectedly voted to leave the EU, leaving the political establishment and around 60 per cent of Londoners who voted to remain in shock. The PM resigned, the Labour Party entered into a damaging leadership election and the mayor’s agenda hit the backburner. However, unfazed, Khan launched a highprofile “London Is Open” campaign to help shore up the capital’s place on the world stage. The campaign was launched with a YouTube video and the #LondonIsOpen hashtag, which was an immediate hit with young Londoners keen to establish their cosmopolitan credentials. For small businesses, London Is Open. For scientific research, London Is Open. For technological innovation, London Is Open. And so it goes on… Sadiq Khan has uttered that phrase at almost every event he has attended since that day in June. Nonetheless, the challenges he faces are innumerable in the face of Brexit, as, it seems, are the opportunities. Much will depend on the nature of the relationship that Theresa May chooses to pursue with the EU. The immediate question is whether Britain will remain as a member of the EU’s single market, which brings with it the “passporting rights” that banks value so highly.
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
It’s unknown whether or not Britain (and London) will retain single market membership, as it comes with the provision of freedom of movement, which was a vexed issue during the referendum campaign. A GLA Economics paper in 2015 stated that London exported around £107.3bn worth of services and around £32.6bn of goods in 2013, of which the EU was the biggest market by some margin. It comes as no surprise, then, to see the Mayor calling for Britain to retain its access to the single market, as a retinue of European leaders seek to woo businesses in the hope they will relocate out of London. If May and her team choose to pursue a different avenue that involves restricted or no access to the single market, the Mayor will have to redouble his efforts to convince the world that “London Is Open”. London-specific measures around labour-market reform, tax policy and immigration policy may be necessary and Khan will be lobbying hard to secure more powers in the event that we do exit the single market. The Brexit fallout will continue, and you can expect Khan to lock horns with the government at some point within the next two years. Small businesses can only watch and wait to see what happens.
Want to find out about alternative finance and the different options available for your business? Need to get your company in shape before applying for investment? Or do you just want to better understand the current funding landscape for New and Growing Companies? Informed Funding is an independent platform for Workspace customers covering all things finance-related. Its key services include registration on www.informedfunding.com, a database of 800 funding sources, as well as access to Informed Funding’s tailored finance seminars, and one-to-one consultations or workshops to help you become finance-ready or to identify the best funding options for your firm. “Our customers frequently tell us that one of their biggest challenges for growth is access to finance,” says Stefan Duda, Workspace’s Corporate Development Manager. “We are therefore extremely pleased to sponsor the Informed Funding programme, which offers Workspace customers a premium service, free of charge, and gives them access to impartial advice on this hugely important topic. This sort of support is exactly the kind of added value service we aim to provide for our customers to help them grow their businesses.” Through their one-to-one consultations, Informed Funding have: ~ advised one early-stage customer who needed cash to bridge a funding gap until their first contracts were signed off (£50k) ~ helped guide another customer through difficult financing options as a prospective buyer of the business pulled out (£1.5 million) ~ aided a customer needing to raise significant new product finance (£2 million). To contact the team at Informed Funding, call 020 3176 5243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Oliver Deed is Associate Director at Snapdragon Consulting, based at The Print Rooms; www.snapdragonconsulting.co.uk
loop keeping in the
Building a strong network is key to helping your business flourish. But whatâ€™s more effective â€“ face-to-face meetups or social media? And how are digital natives Generation Z set to shake up the networking scene?
“A good business network is, in essence, a support team for your company”
Some of us dread it and some of us are dab hands at it, but there’s no denying that networking is an invaluable business tool. Done well, it can help your company to grow and flourish. It’s a (free) way of spreading awareness of your brand across a wider audience, garnering new customers and discovering new service providers. You can turn to your network when you need advice, ideas or assistance, and tap into your contacts’ networks, raising your profile even further. A good business network is, in essence, a support team for your company. But how do you build a robust network that will deliver maximum return (rather than one that includes your dog sitter and children’s karate teacher)? And if you find small talk stressful, is there any way to make networking less terrifying? Rachel Kiddie, Centre Manager at Vox Studios, is something of a networking expert. Together with Assistant Manager Rosanna, she’s responsible for hosting regular get-togethers to introduce Vox residents to other businesses in the same building. In the few short months since the development was launched there have been five big events, including a breakfast morning, a cocktail evening (“we devised our own drinks – Voxtails!”) and a charity quiz night. A “speed networking” event is on the cards for September. “There are a lot of new, smaller companies in Vox and so the events are really all about promoting their businesses and introducing them to other services,” says Rachel. “So that if, in the future, they need something, hopefully they’re not going to go to that larger firm outside that everyone knows about, but say, ‘Actually, there’s
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
someone here in the building just two doors down who can help me with that’.” Rachel accepts that for many people, walking into a room of 80 people and not knowing a soul can be daunting, but she and Rosanna are on hand to assist. “We’ll notice if someone’s on their own and go and have a chat, and introduce them to other people. We’re always thinking about customers we’ve met who might get along, personality-wise, or who are in a similar industry, or who said they need help with their website or their social media…” Even more reassuringly, Rachel insists that no one is there to “schmooze”. “It’s definitely not about a sales pitch. It’s about genuine relationships. We’ve seen a lot of real friendships develop, with people ending up socialising together.”
The Snapchat generation Rachel Kiddie, Centre Manager at Vox Studios
“We’re always thinking about customers we’ve met who might get along”
There’s definite value in face-to-face networking – a conversation with someone over a Voxtail is far more likely to stick in the mind than, say, an exchange of Facebook messages. And yet if we look at the communication preferences of Generation Z (those born since 2000), who are poised to enter the workforce, it seems inevitable that online networks are only going to play a more powerful role in human interaction. The keynote speaker at this February’s InspiresMe Week (more of which later), Tim Campbell MBE is, among many other things, the founder of Bright Ideas Trust, a social enterprise offering London’s young entrepreneurs advice, training, access to funding and the chance to work with experienced business mentors. He is passionate about the value of networking
“We can only expect support from other companies and individuals if we’re prepared to offer the same” in levelling what is all too often a seriously lopsided playing field. “Yes, people who go to great schools are more likely to have a wider social network pool, and that can be incredibly advantageous,” he admits. “But at the same time, people who don’t have that as a given will be able to work hard to get that if they really want to – and technology is a great enabler of that. For instance, if you make your LinkedIn profile as appealing as possible, I might take a look at it, see a request from you pop up, and think, okay, I’ll give this person a go. That’s a great opportunity that you might not have had if you’d had to send in a CV on letterheaded paper from your local institution, which in the days before social media might have restricted you from getting into certain places.”
Natural networkers “If you’re sitting next to someone you know, that’s an opportunity wasted,” Tim Campbell advised students during his keynote speech at 2016’s InspiresMe Week
The ability to network via digital platforms is where Gen Z have a natural advantage, according to Tim. “Young people are very used to networking on social media. They’ll have connections via their Facebook page, their Twitter feed or Snapchat, and they’ll be much more used to linking up with people they’ve never met. When our generation wanted to find something out we’d have to look in the Yellow Pages, but they’re used to getting information at the touch of a button. So the idea of reaching out to a network of connected people to find something out or get something done is second nature to them.” You only have to look at the explosion of websites and apps for facilitating networking to see where the market might be headed – there’s
LinkedIn, of course, plus Meetup, Eventbrite, Efactor... Yet Tim cautions against an over-reliance on technology. “Because of the positive things technology has facilitated, there is sometimes an assumption that young people can just ask for something and get it,” he says. “They might not realise that more often than not there has to be quite a bit of work that’s put in place.” Rachel Kiddie agrees that successful networking requires effort – and patience. “It’s a long process. You have to build and nurture relationships. You may not need that person’s business right now, they might not need yours, but it’s really good to get a sense of who’s in the building and who’s around you, so that if it comes to the point where you say, ‘I’d really like to build an app’, you might think, ‘Oh, I remember, I met so and so, and I’m sure they know someone…’” Ultimately, strong business networks can only exist if there is reciprocity and goodwill. We can only expect support from other companies and individuals if we’re prepared to offer the same. And that includes helping younger people build their networks – something Workspace’s InspiresMe programme (see page 18) aspires to do. “We have a responsibility to leave the ladder behind, rather than pull it up,” says Tim. “There may not be an immediate benefit to networking with young people; you may not find the next emerging leader, but in years to come that person might promote your brand or get someone to make a sale. We should be doing it because it’s the right thing to do, and then the benefits will come back to us.”
LEFT LinkedIn’s Head of Sales Ashraf Kamel gives attendees some expert tips on digital networking ABOVE Post-panel drinks – the perfect opportunity to forge new business connections
Network like a pro In June, Ladbroke Grove’s Grand Union Studios hosted the Business Insight event “It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know”, run by Workspace in conjunction with Knowledge Peers. The evening explored the power of business networks and offered Workspace customers and local businesses plenty of advice on constructing their own personal web, as well as a chance to quiz a panel of experts: Ashraf Kamel, Head of Sales at LinkedIn, Linzi Boyd, author of Brand Famous and partner of global business consultancy Shirlaws Group, and Nigel Stowe, formerly of The Ivy and the Arts Club, and now Director of the club at Hotel Café Royale. Here’s what they had to say about networking – both online and offline.
Find your networking style
Consistency is key
“I used to do every social media under the sun, but I realised I’m more of a people person. I love to physically meet someone and talk to someone… I still find that point at which you sit and chat the most productive.” Nigel Stowe
“Your digital personality should reflect your real-life personality. You wouldn’t go up to someone and say, ‘Can I add you to my life, please?’ That would be awkward. So however you like to introduce yourself [in real life], whether you want to be funny or serious, do the same digitally.” Ashraf Kamel
Be prepared to prune “I like to clean up my network once a year because I want to keep it to people who can activate me to impact on their business, or who I can use to impact on my business. So if somebody doesn’t help me, they’re not going to be on my network.” Ashraf Kamel
Establish clear goals “Ask yourself, what are you coming into this room for? What’s your objective? Let’s say you want to speak to the guy from LinkedIn – make sure you enter the space and make that happen. Then everything else that happens in the room is a bonus for you.” Linzi Boyd
Social media can open doors
“Conversations are now created in completely different ways” HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
“I used LinkedIn to introduce myself to people, then I’d send afternoon tea to their desk… Then they’d start tweeting to us, then they’d invite us in to have a conversation with us about their brand. It just proves that conversations are now created in completely different ways and if you can engage people in that moment… who’s to say who you can and can’t work with?” Linzi Boyd
Work at it “At the end of the day everyone wants to get a group of people in a room and have a chat. Someone needs to host it and work it. You physically had to work that room at The Ivy, and it’s the same with a network.” Nigel Stowe
Be strategic “The people on my Facebook are very specific to my network, so when I launch my book it goes to number one within 24 hours, not because I’ve got thousands of people on my network but because every single person on there has got a huge channel, and they really buy into my brand and my purpose and what I stand for, and then they sell it.” Linzi Boyd
First impressions matter – even online “There are a lot of people that you will meet but haven’t yet, and the first impression you’re going to make is through your digital identity.” Ashraf Kamel
The Workspace Business Insight programme of case studies and events is run in partnership with business network Knowledge Peers, and is free to Workspace customers. The next event – “The Reality of Virtual Business?” – is on 6 October at The Print Rooms. Email WBI@knowledgepeers.com for details
8 great networking tools
When it comes to forging links with other businesses, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook need no introduction. But don’t overlook the host of other websites and apps designed to give your business networking a boost, from business-card scanners to social-media management tools
www.meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. Input your details, state how far you’re willing to travel and the type of get-together you’re looking for, and Meetup will find something to match, be it a speed-dating evening, a meditation session or a business-networking or enterprise event.
Nimble is a handy app that describes itself as a “relationship manager and personal agenda tool”. It builds a CRM database from your contacts, emails and calendar activities, and then searches the web to provide social and company updates – invaluable for helping you bone up on clients before a big meeting.
www.eventbrite.co.uk also links users
PROsimity is a search tool for selecting “the right professionals locally and at events”. Based on the idea that a lot of time at networking meetups is wasted on small talk, it aims to connect you with the most relevant contacts in a given location. It’s basically like Tindr for businesses: if the person you’ve contacted agrees to connect, you can start a conversation through the app or swap business cards.
to local events, but the site’s real strength lies in helping you organise and promote your own. Use the Eventbrite organiser, a free box-office app, to sell tickets; check in your guests and scan their tickets using the Eventbrite app, or keep track of attendees on a customised dashboard.
Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming video app, can be a useful tool for conferences and networking meetups. It allows you to engage – via location tagging and your Twitter feed – with a wider audience and enables your attendees and followers to add their own comments and feedback. ScanBizCards is a smarter way to collect business cards, allowing you to upload someone’s contact details securely to the cloud. The app apparently reads 23 languages, and can be integrated with your calendars – so you can set reminders to follow up contacts – or CRM tools such as SalesForce.
Hootsuite enables you to manage your social networks – it connects with 35 different platforms – via a single, easy-to-use dashboard. You can schedule posts for future publishing and find out what customers and clients are saying about you, as well as see how your social posts are performing via Hootsuite’s analytics. Attendify is a great (and green) alternative to printing a programme of events. Following a simple step-by-step process, you can build your own app for an event, or group of events, including a social activity stream and profiles of your guests sourced from social networks.
Barclay, Metal Box Factory, Southwark
meet you There are over 70 meeting rooms featured on our site for you to browse and book instantly, visit workspace.co.uk/meeting-rooms INSTANT ACCESS, ANYWHERE We pride ourselves on our huge range of high-spec meeting rooms across London. You can book any of these by the hour and you don’t even need to be a customer to do so, so whether you don’t have the space in your current office, you’re on the move, or you just need something as slick as your sales pitch, we can help.
Jim, Grand Union Studios, Ladbroke Grove
TECH CITY Our rooms are kitted out with the latest technology, including business grade Wi-Fi, 44” LED screens minimum and many have Clickshare, a wireless presentation tool.
STAY FUELLED We’ve got award winning cafes and restaurants on-site, to keep you and your team fully functional.
Barrel, Vox Studios, Vauxhall
Students from St Marylebone School, winners of the inaugural InspiresMe Week Social Enterprise competition, pose with Daisy Greenaway, the GLA’s Senior Policy Officer for Youth (background, second from left), Workspace’s Head of Corporate Communications Clare Dundas (second from right) and Business in the Community’s Sarah Cook (far right), as well as mentor Quentin Crowe of The Marketers’ Forum – based at Kennington Park – and the GLA’s Gunther Jancke, Head of Education: Area South (foreground, left and right)
Giving young Londoners a head start in building their business networks is just one of the aims of InspiresMe, an internship initiative spearheaded by Workspace, the GLA and Business in the Community. We caught up with some of the students who’ve taken part in the scheme – and a few new faces – at a special Ambassadors’ Day at City Hall in July
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Hard at work on an event-planning task; the GLA’s Amanda Coyle (left), Director of Health and Communities, and Daisy Greenaway judge one of the competitions; students enjoy the chance to “speed date” with the different business mentors; careers tutor Vanessa Kenneth; Workspace’s Clare Dundas; keynote speaker Yasmin Greenaway
“Planning is really important”; “Each voice deserves to be listened to”; “A good leader makes for a good team”; “Communicating makes a task easier”… These were just some of the takeaways from InspiresMe Ambassadors’ Day, a business masterclass packed with enterprise challenges that offered sixth-form students from across London the chance to network, develop their skills and discover more about entrepreneurship. The day was aimed primarily at those students who didn’t manage to secure an internship during InspiresMe Week in February; 19 schools across the capital now take part in the programme (six years ago, when the scheme began, the number was three), and demand for work placements far outstrips supply. InspiresMe was born out of the Mayor of London’s determination to change educational outcomes for young Londoners who “didn’t feel part of the city”, and Workspace’s desire to create a sustainable programme that would support the communities in which it operated. As Workspace’s Head of Corporate Development James Friedenthal explains: “When we talked to youngsters, so many of them were saying, ‘I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to be my own boss’. And so we thought, is there a way to link employment, education and entrepreneurship? And these were the three founding pillars of what has now become InspiresMe.” Students are invited into startups and New and Growing Companies for four days in February, so they can see first-hand how a small business is run. It’s a unique chance for the youngsters to get involved in some of Workspace’s truly niche businesses as well as larger firms; students have filmed podcasts at public affairs agencies, designed jewellery with artisans, created garden plans at architectural practices and met pop stars at digital agencies. The Ambassadors’ Day event was a chance for those students who missed out in February to develop their entrepreneurial skills and become
“ambassadors for enterprise” back at their schools. Supported and mentored by business professionals, including Ben Prouty of LOVESPACE (based at Gray’s Inn Road) and Workspace’s Head of Corporate Communications Clare Dundas, they tackled an intensive series of tasks, ranging from strategically planning the making of a cooked breakfast (tougher than you’d think) to a SWOT analysis of a high-street restaurant chain. Not even the coffee breaks offered a let-up; everyone was tasked with talking to at least three new people. That these young people are bursting with fresh ideas and new ways of looking at problems was clear from the way they attacked each challenge, and that’s something that can be of huge benefit to the Workspace-based New and Growing Companies and startups that take part in the initiative.
Catalysts and pioneers James Friedenthal stresses that InspiresMe is a two-way street. “What our businesses get back is the engagement with the enthusiasm and energy that these students have.” A similar message came from keynote speaker Yasmin Greenaway – who at just 25 has an incredible roster of business achievements to her name – who told the students: “[Young people] are the drivers of change, we are the catalysts and we are the pioneers… The best solutions are going to come from us.” In the afternoon, the students were joined by their schoolmates who’d taken part in the February event, and divided into school-based teams to work on strategy and planning tasks. Among the new arrivals was a team from St Marylebone School, who’d won the inaugural InspiresMe Week Social Enterprise competition with their plan for tackling homelessness; they were also invited back a few days later for “Winners’ Week”, an in-depth week of mentoring, during which they met with the GLA housing team to discuss their ideas.
A building challenge encourages teamwork skills RIGHT Sarah Cook of Business in the Community BELOW RIGHT Daisy Greenaway praised both students’ and mentors’ “enthusiasm” in her closing speech
The St Marylebone students gained “a lot” from taking part in InspiresMe Week, according to Vanessa Kenneth, the school’s sixth-form careers tutor. “It really gave them a chance to find their voice away from the classroom, to challenge themselves in new and practical ways. Those students who are considered ‘quiet’ at school found the confidence to make their opinions known, and show employers it’s not necessarily a string of A* grades that equip us for the workplace, it’s experiences, the chance to meet and talk to a wide range of people and explore new ideas.” The InspiresMe programme opens up a world of possibilities and leads to very real change for these students, giving them, in James’s words, “such a huge advantage when it comes to applying for their first job”. This year, four of the students impressed their mentor companies so much that they were asked to come back for further work placements. “We have a strong sense of responsibility for what we’re doing in London,” says Workspace’s Clare Dundas, “not only because these young people might be the businesses of the future, but because our customers want to get involved in their communities, not just be working there; they really want to help. We’ve got so many business owners and entrepreneurs who were these young people not so long ago.”
Are you an inspiration? Could you mentor a young person and make a real difference to their future? InspiresMe is looking for businesses to host one or more students for a four-day work-experience placement in February 2017 and support them at a one-day Enterprise Challenge and Celebration Event on the final day. To find out more, visit www.workspace.co.uk/inspiresme
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
“She impressed us” Quentin Crowe (left in picture below), MD and founder of The Marketers’ Forum, mentored Shanaz Begum from Quintin Kynaston Community Academy during February’s InspiresMe Week QUENTIN: “The core of what our company does is training people. The people that we work with tend to be university graduates so InspiresMe Week is a great opportunity to connect with 16- and 17-year-olds. Shanaz worked with us for four days and she impressed us so much with her can-do attitude that she’s coming back to us for three weeks’ work experience. “InspiresMe is as much about being inspired myself as it is about inspiring these young people. During Ambassadors’ Day I was genuinely impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit on show. Eight of my group asked me for my business card. The bravest followed up, asking for further advice – two of them even pitched some business ideas at me! Building and maintaining a network of experts is a core skill that will pay dividends throughout your career. Sadly, it’s a skill that’s rarely taught.” www.themarketersforum.co.uk SHANAZ: “I wanted to find a company within the marketing sector, so The Marketers’ Forum was perfect. The company specialises in Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) courses, so I was involved in presenting and marketing to students via the website. I was working as part of different teams, planning and thinking about
what to put on the website, and I got to see all the different aspects of marketing – and I could see that my ideas were actually taken seriously; they were put into the website and I could see the changes within a week. I’m going back for an internship, and I’ve been offered a CIM course for free. I wasn’t sure before whether I wanted to do English or marketing at uni, but since the work placement, I’d definitely say marketing.”
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well connected Whether it means accessing super-fast broadband or forging links with other firms, “connectivity” is the business buzzword for our times. We asked four Workspace companies – based in very different locations across London – how staying plugged in and switched on is helping them to grow
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
“What’s clear is that the postcode you’re based in is no longer a key driver for success” Not so very long ago, if you started up a business in London, your company base was pretty much pre-ordained. You were in advertising? Then your HQ had to be in Soho. Finance? You’d be in the City, naturally… Email, the internet and vastly improved transport links have laid waste to those ideas, and today’s thriving new enterprises and startups are as likely to be found in Wood Green as they are in the West End. And that can only be a good thing – it makes London more diverse, and creates new job opportunities and pockets of creativity and enterprise in previously neglected areas. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, for Workspace customers, location, location, location isn’t always the number one consideration when choosing a business space. “We know from speaking to our customers that in terms of priorities, the first factor is the quality of the space,” says James Friedenthal, Workspace’s Head of Corporate Development. “Number two is value for money. Location comes third. That’s not to say it’s unimportant – we know that around two-thirds of the employees in our spaces live within the same borough as the business centre they work at, or in the adjoining borough.” Cutting down the daily commute plays a part in office selection, then. But there are many other diverse reasons why a company might be drawn to a particular place – from a desire to be different and disrupt industry expectations, to wanting to be near restaurants, cool bars and shops to attract key staff, to plain old familiarity. What’s clear is that the postcode you’re based in – and being within a stone’s throw of other firms working within the same industry – is no longer a key driver for success. What is vital for business growth, in today’s tech-driven culture, is being “connected”, both to digital services such as fast, reliable broadband, and to a wider network of like-minded individuals and companies, across all sectors and industries.
Bulldog: going global
“We like to cluster our properties...” says James Friedenthal, Workspace’s Head of Corporate Development. “We can put on networking events, things that bring our customers together”
Look out for … Two new Workspace developments: The Record Hall in Hatton Garden (pictured), due to launch early 2017, and Deptford, opening this spring
Over in W10, just a short walk from Portobello Road, is Ladbroke Grove’s Grand Union Studios, one of Workspace’s most recent developments. It’s home to an eclectic range of businesses, including an ethical tea importer, a visual effects agency, a bike-clothing designer and one of the cosmetic industry’s fastest-growing brands – Bulldog Skincare for Men. The company has had a “really exciting” couple of years, according to co-founder Simon Duffy. From seven staffers two years ago, the team is now 17-strong – and there are plans to bring in another 10 to 15 people. “We’ve just launched in Walgreens in America in over 2,000 stores, but the business continues to grow well in all of our international markets,” says Simon. “We’re now sold in 15 countries.” So, why is everyone buying into Bulldog? “I think it’s our formulas, which include natural ingredients,” suggests Simon; their shaving gels, face washes and moisturisers are packed with essential oils and plant-based goodies. “But it’s
also a great deal of other positive things like our cruelty-free certification, the fact we use no microbeads, and we manufacture in the UK. It’s all helped. It was innovative when we started. A few other brands have been copying this more recently, but that’s only a good thing if you want to see change happening across the whole industry.” Simon and the team have always been based in West London, although they were previously in nearby Workspace Pall Mall Deposit. Simon admits his plan for finding his first office was “not that strategic”, based as it was mainly on his desire to avoid having to take public transport every morning. Yet Pall Mall proved the perfect environment for his burgeoning business. “Being based at a Workspace centre is a good way to meet people,” he says. “I ran into a company called Channel Flip in the Pall Mall Deposit café, and we had a few conversations, and ended up working together to create an award-winning YouTube content marketing campaign with the comedian David Mitchell. It’s still something we’re very proud of.”
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The Grand Union atrium features a striking chandelier; Bulldog’s products are made with natural ingredients; the Bulldog logo; a clutch of the company’s many awards; a feature wall in the Bulldog office; Simon Duffy, the company’s co-founder
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
The new office at Grand Union suits the growing team, according to Simon. “It feels much bigger, it’s very flexible, we’re able to spread out a bit, and we’ve already seen the benefits of that in the way the team collaborates.” It’s also something of a people magnet. “It’s a very cool space, so it’s great to be able to invite people in, and I think it does a really good job showcasing the brand. We’re close to lots of pubs and restaurants, and it’s great to be in a really buzzy area. I think that’s going to help us attract more people to work with us in the future.” Simon might be too snowed under to take advantage of W10’s social life himself, but he makes sure Bulldog has its finger on the collective pulse via social media. “We see Instagram as a great way to share visual stories about what makes our products so special, and Twitter is a great way to stay connected to people who use Bulldog products. There will be a lot more activity in this area from Bulldog in the years ahead.” www.bulldogskincare.com TOP The foyer at Grand Union Studios ABOVE Colin Moxon, co-founder and Creative Director of Popkorn TV. The company produces documentaries for national networks as well as video content for major brands
Popkorn TV: speed is key For another Grand Union resident, Popkorn TV, super-fast broadband rather than social media is the key to staying in touch with their customers and the global market. The company produces video content for brands as well as documentaries for Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, and with filming sometimes taking place halfway round the globe – they’ve just finished a 20-part documentary series in Australia – they need stateof-the-art connected services in their office in order for their business to flourish. “The sort of technological improvements we’ve seen in the last couple of years, where we can send rushes or upload cuts back and forth, is great,” says Colin Moxon, Popkorn’s co-founder and Creative Director. “I can send a cut to a client in Singapore, they can send me stuff back…” Tech innovation also has its downsides, though. “Longevity of equipment can be an issue,” Colin admits. “Cameras – by the time you get to the next
documentary your cameras are out of date. But overall, the fact that we can communicate so easily with people on the other side of the world is key to our growth into international markets.” Expanding into the US is on the cards for Popkorn, on the back of a hectic couple of years. Work has increased “considerably” since 2014, when Channel 4 took a minority shareholding in Popkorn, making it the first ever independent production company to benefit from the channel’s groundbreaking Growth Fund. “It’s great to have Channel 4 as a mentor, somebody as influential as that in your corner,” says Colin. “We’ve been able to grow our company, attract the best talent. It’s just made us more commercially attractive, to our branded-content clients, but also to other broadcasters and other channels.” As with Bulldog, rapid growth brought about a need for bigger premises. But why Grand Union? “It was the building itself and its facilities that brought us here. They’re standout,” says Colin. “But in terms of location, I think you can be based pretty much anywhere these days. With TV, it’s all about fresh, innovative ideas. If you’ve got those, you send them to the commissioners, you build relationships at each channel. Obviously you have to turn up for meetings, and they’re usually London based, but because a lot of communication is done through phone and email, it really doesn’t matter where you are.” Guilty pleasures like Rich Kids of Instagram, hard-hitting documentaries such as My Violent Child, online compaigns for Pret a Manger, Lynx and Majestic Wine… With such a diverse output, the Popkorn team have to be flexible: once they land a commission, the core team of 12 or so can expand to 40 almost overnight. But being surrounded by people is good for business, as Colin explains. “Here at Grand Union, there are graphic designers, interior designers, stylists – skills that we always have need of. So it’s really nice to have people like that here in the same building.” www.popkorntv.com
keep in contact Home to 4,000 New and Growing Companies in 65 locations across the capital, Workspace is dedicated to creating opportunities for customers to find out more about each other, meet up, share ideas and do business, including… Dates for your diary Workspace centre managers deliver at least 12 events a year, ranging from “Meet the Neighbours” networking meetups to forums run by Workspace’s partner companies, such as the Business Insight dinners programme run by Knowledge Peers, or Informed Funding’s seminars and workshops on financial issues (see more on page 11) – all free of charge to Workspace customers.
Hot desking Our Club Workspace Everyday Everywhere membership allows you Monday-to-Friday access to any Workspace co-working Club across the capital, providing you with maximum networking and collaborating opportunities. And of course, you’ll also benefit from free high-speed Wi-Fi and invitations to Workspace’s entrepreneurial events.
A busy social life Check out your Workspace Twitter feed – every centre has its own (@WS plus your centre name). Your Centre Manager, Assistant Manager and reception staff make it their mission to build up a thriving Twitter community, linking up with Workspace customers, other Workspace centres in the area and businesses in the local community – giving you a wealth of connections to tap into.
The Workspace web The Community section of www.workspace.co.uk has been designed to bring New and Growing Companies together. Log on to see news on upcoming events, discover services from our key partners that will give your business a boost, search the company directory of other Workspace customers, and check out useful blogs and articles written by business experts and entrepreneurs.
“The Community section of www.workspace.co.uk has been designed to bring New and Growing Companies together”
TOP Plugging into the Workspace network gives you access to a host of community and business events, including networking meetups, talks and seminars, and the regular Business Insight Dinners run in conjunction with Knowledge Peers ABOVE Entrepreneur Mike Southon (left) and Director of Knowledge Peers Alan Coates field audience questions at a Business Insight dinner at Westbourne Studios
“The fact that we can communicate so easily with people on the other side of the world is key to our growth into international markets” HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
TOP Grabbing a coffee – and a chance to network – at the café at The Print Rooms ABOVE Lynda Redington (left) and Nichola Mughal, co-founders of Another Word
“There are some great drop-in sessions at The Print Rooms which we’ve really benefited from” 28
While each Workspace building has its own community, there are connections to be made in the wider neighbourhood, too. Within a short walk of Grand Union, there are four other Workspace centres: The Shaftesbury Centre, Pall Mall Deposit, Westbourne Studios and Canalot Studios. It’s a deliberate policy, says Workspace’s James Friedenthal. “We like to cluster our properties. There are a number of advantages to doing that. It enables us to manage them effectively and efficiently, and it enables our customers to have a wider choice of space within a locality. But the main reason is that by creating a network of properties, we can begin to get all the centres interacting. We can put on networking events, initiatives like InspiresMe, or the Informed Funding roadshows [see page 11], things that bring our customers together. So by building a cluster of properties you can offer a whole range of benefits.”
Another Word: building relationships Another grouping of Workspace developments can be found in SE1, where Metal Box Factory, Cargo Works and the refurbished Print Rooms sit within a stone’s throw of each other. It was the Bankside location, with its community of “small but thriving businesses”, that helped convince PR and digital communications agency Another Word to move from Covent Garden to Print Rooms – although it’s fair to say that a change of office was a necessity. “One day in January we turned up to find the locks had been changed because our landlord had defaulted on his rent,” says Lynda Redington, Another Word’s co-founder and MD. “Luckily this all happened just as The Print Rooms was opening, and we managed to secure an office pretty quickly. The space here is very professionally run, and
we’ve got access to some great facilities in a nicely designed environment. Plus it’s really convenient for our customers and team to get to.” Lynda and co-founder Nichola worked together for eight years before striking out on their own. They’d both been at big creative agencies and had become “frustrated with unnecessary hierarchies and a lack of focus on delivering great work”. Another Word was launched in 2015, and quickly won a raft of household-brand clients, including Costa, Bupa, The Body Shop and Kingsmill. They now employ eight people and offer clients a range of services, including corporate-reputation management, employee, stakeholder and influencer engagement, community management, crisis and issues management and consumer media relations. Using the full range of Workspace services has given business a boost, too. “There are some great drop-in sessions at The Print Rooms which we’ve really benefited from,” says Lynda. “Kirsty, our Centre Manager, recently set up one-on-one meetings with MBJ London, a website agency. They gave us some great advice. We’ve actually signed up with them for our website development and hosting. It would have taken us a lot longer to find an appropriate solution without a valuable introduction.” Forging links with other companies is one thing, but for Lynda and the team, the Bankside location takes some beating. “We have a great view,” enthuses Lynda. “I can see the Walkie Talkie building, Cheese Grater and Gherkin from my desk. We love that our individual office is a blank space so we can decorate it in a way that’s fitting for our culture – we’re working on decoration plans at the moment! At the same time, the building has its own character, which we feel fits nicely with our business.” www.anotherword.com
Formerly a Marmite factory, Vox Studios has been transformed into a thriving business hub BELOW RIGHT Tracy Sambrook, CFO of Nutmeg
“It’s so much more than four walls and an office space” Nutmeg: disrupting the market For online wealth-management company Nutmeg, a move to Vox Studios in Vauxhall was a deliberate attempt to set themselves apart from other, more conventional financial firms. Tracy Sambrook, the company’s CFO, explains: “We looked at different locations and one of the key considerations was that we were actually really anti going into the City, because that’s not really what we’re trying to be. We want to disrupt the industry, and if we joined the ranks in the City, we’re not really differentiating ourselves.” A former Marmite factory in SE11 is about as far removed as you can get from Threadneedle Street. In an area known for its nightclubs, its former Pleasure Gardens and the iconic MI6 building, Vox Studios is home to a diverse range of businesses. The perfect base for a company offering something a little outside the norm?
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
Tracy Sambrook thinks so. “We’ve got people from all sorts of backgrounds; we’re a real mix. We’re a tech business with financial-services experience. And what we’re trying to do is deliver something really different.” That difference, according to Tracy, is simplifying and democratising the wealthmanagement industry. “There’s a two-tier system in this country, almost, with people who – because of their professional or family background – know about wealth management, about investing,” she explains. “They know that one way of doing it is through an independent financial advisor and they know that you have to pay for that service. But there’s a huge percentage of the population who don’t know about it, or don’t feel comfortable, or don’t feel it’s “for them”. We want to offer a service to people who’d otherwise not have access to it.”
tech spec Chris Boultwood, Workspace’s Head of Client Connected Services, and Stuart Lancaster, Centre Manager for Pall Mall, Shaftesbury Centre and Grand Union Studios, talk about the tech that keeps Workspace customers connected Stuart: “Our meeting rooms are all designed
TOP Equipped with AV equipment and Wi-Fi to help you work smarter, meeting rooms can be booked online ABOVE The Vgreet screen at The Print Rooms
“Metal Box Factory has a 10Gb circuit going in” 30
by our partner company, Generate Studios. We put in the same AV [audiovisual] equipment, so you’ve got a TV, you’ve got ClickShare – which means you can project what’s on your laptop onto the screen wirelessly – and of course there’s Wi-Fi in there, which means you can make Skype calls if you want to. Some of the centres have video conference phones, too. “Certain centres also have Vgreets: these are really amazing touchscreens, like virtual receptionists, that you can use to find out about and connect with other customers in the building. There’s a map of the building on there, and you can read company profiles; you can even call those companies using the Vgreet. You can also see live social feeds so you can find out what’s going on at your local centre and in the surrounding area.”
Chris: “We’ve just agreed a new eight-year contract with Excell Group, who provide all the connected services for Workspace Group. It’s great news for customers, because it means there will continue to be huge investment in upgrades
to connectivity in all Workspace properties. The most exciting development we’ve got going on at the moment is the new Dot11 Wi-Fi network. All new buildings have it as standard, but we’re doing rollouts to legacy buildings as well; we’ve upgraded 10 locations so far. The problem up to now has been customers using their own routers in their offices or studios; these end up clashing with everyone else’s. The Dot11 network is building-wide, so speeds are much faster. Metal Box Factory has a 10Gb circuit, which is enormous, and on the back of that the access points we have within that building can offer 1.3Gb per device. “There are other advantages to Dot11, one of which is that it’s a managed service. So if the Wi-Fi isn’t running as it should be, there’s a technician on board who can repair it quickly. Plus, it’s a much more secure way of accessing your network. You can go downstairs and have a coffee, and still access your files. Even better, if you visit another Workspace location that has Dot11 – even if it’s on the opposite side of London – you can still access your servers. How cool is that?”
Nutmeg’s office breaks the corporate mould, with a pool table, and whiteboards featuring staff snaps and quotes from satisfied customers (below)
At Nutmeg the investment threshold starts as low as £500. Customers complete an online questionnaire about their goals and attitude to risk before their money is allocated, and can invest in a range of ways, through ISAs and Sipps. It’s obviously something the public has been waiting for, if Nutmeg’s figures are anything to go by. “In the last three or four months we’ve acquired 15 per cent of the ISA net flows in the marketplace,” says Tracy, “and we’ve more than doubled in size in two years, and now have 75 staff.” Unlike the new breed of fully automated “robo-advisors” soon to launch, Nutmeg’s USP is that the funds are still managed by experts rather than machines. And although you might not be able to meet those experts face to face, social media offers the next best thing. “Twitter works really well for us. It helps us to update customers and we encourage our customer base to ask questions to Shaun, our CIO,” says Tracy. “And Shaun does a monthly investment update video, which we send as a link to our customers, to let them know how their portfolios are doing, and what investment decisions we’re making and why. For those people who are less familiar with it, it can be reassuring to see that there’s still a human being making the decisions.” Nutmeg are all about doing away with the “opacity” that can dog the wealth-management industry. Everything is upfront and on show; the foyer of Nutmeg’s office even features a whiteboard, decorated with mugshots of every employee. “We’re
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
going to have everybody’s goals, and their three key priorities on there,” says Tracy. “The idea is that everyone can see how everyone’s priorities are interlinked, and so there’s real transparency, real engagement and a real understanding that we’re all stood behind consistent goals.” For now, Nutmeg are focused on continued growth. Attracting and retaining quality staff is key to that, according to Tracy, and the new company HQ clearly plays a big part in creating the right culture and environment to encourage “employee engagement and commitment”. “There’s always good comms about things that are going on in the building and we always share those with our team. We’re keen to encourage people to interact, we obviously use the facilities that are available, everybody uses the café to have meetings, the bike storage, the showers… It’s so much more than four walls and an office space.” www.nutmeg.com VOX STUDIOS 45 Durham Street, SE11 5JH; offices and studios from 140 to 10,000 sq ft GRAND UNION STUDIOS 332 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AS; offices and studios from 200 to 20,000 sq ft THE PRINT ROOMS 164–180 Union Street, SE1 0LH; offices and studios from 134 to 1,308 sq ft For viewings, call 020 7369 2390
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start me up the guide for brand new businesses
Page 34: Quick starts What’s trending at Club Workspace right now Page 36: The fast track Bite-size startup news and views
Page 39: “Collaborating is the way forward” Why three co-workers are pooling their skills Page 40: Gr8 expectations We meet visualised-data experts Infogr8 Page 48: Club together Workspace’s latest co-working venues
girl power female entrepreneurs…
…empowering business journeys
what’s trending at Club Workspace right now
Meet the neighbours
Having recently moved from Club to a dedicated Workspace office at Riverside in Wandsworth, Larder Fair is a flexible craftfood subscription service run by Tom Scully (left) and Ben Russell. Take a tour of what they have to offer at www.larderfair.com
picture this Origin of the startup species:
They’re fast, they’re indestructible and they can weather most things – be it radiation or financial storms. These are the companies that grow slowly and steadily. Tim McSweeney, a director at technologyfocused merchant bank Restoration Partners, puts it this way: “Unicorn, it’s a mythical beast, whereas a cockroach, it can survive a nuclear war.”
Are you looking to make a little extra cash? The sharing economy stretches its tentacles further into your free time with Amazon Flex, a new service that allows you to make £13–£15 an hour (including tips – yeah, right) by delivering Amazon packages. All you need is a vehicle, an Android phone and some free time. It’s being trialled in Birmingham at the moment but should be coming to London soon.
Joanne Pohl, based at Club Workspace Kennington, provides illustrations for books, brochures, marketing compaigns and strategy documents. See more of her work at www.joannepohl.com
“I may not be but I work goddam hard” Jay Z
Having trouble finding or selecting a soundtrack for your video and podcasts? London-based startup Jukedeck is an artificial-intelligence music-composition system, which allows users to make royaltyfree soundtracks – just select genre, mood and length of track. The company, founded by Cambridge music grad Ed Rex, recently closed a £2 million round of funding. www.jukedeck.com
of co-workers choose a co-working space to grow their network*
Grants up for grabs
Are you aged between 16 and 30, and have a smart and innovative idea that meets the energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population? Every month, the Smarter Future Programme awards a startup grant of £5,000 to one young entrepreneur who has a concept that addresses sustainable living challenges through smart innovation. Check out www.shell-livewire.org for details
How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz
Origin of the startup species:
Written by three partners at Google Ventures, Sprint lets you into the unique five-day process used at Google to solve tough problems quickly. It’s been proven at more than a hundred companies including Medium and Nest. “Sprint offers a transformative formula for testing ideas that works whether you’re at a startup or a large organisation. Within five days, you’ll move from idea to prototype to decision, saving you and your team countless hours and countless dollars. A must-read for entrepreneurs of all stripes.” — Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
“Without cunning, there is no innovation. Without ambition, there is no accomplishment” JK Rowling
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Doug Doan, founder of angel group Hivers and Strivers, puts it this way: “The most important quality of an entrepreneur is capacity for long, hard work and a ‘never quit’ attitude. No creature works harder than a woodpecker, which is known to peck at a tree 12,000 times a day. That kind of devotion and persistence can lead to success. The woodpecker, unlike many others, does not depend on the continued generosity of Samaritans who keep backyard feeders full for easy access. They are self-reliant and are happy to work hard for it, banging away at even the mightiest oaks.”
of co-workers would use a tool that connects them to other co-working space members around them or abroad*
We love keeping in touch so don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Clubworkspace. We’ll feed you relevant business news and practical tips – like how to stay motivated, and how to stop drowning in work!
I’m in Free access to a busy calendar of networking and business growth events... Just one of the benefits of Club membership. Find out more at www.workspace.co.uk/co-working
* Source: The Coworkers Survey 2016, www.coworkies.com
up and coming
Why we (still)love London Our cash goes nowhere and most of us live in shoeboxes – yet it’s still not enough to make us fall out of love with London. Hubbul’s Benedict Smith explains why Pints costing a fiver a pop, and £12 mashed avo on toast – yes, London is the sixth most expensive city in the world. On the face of it, our capital isn’t the best at selling itself to its loyal occupants. And that’s without even getting started on the madness of London Underground rush hour. Sadiq Khan’s got a bit of a job on his hands, hasn’t he? But there’s just something about this place… If you’re a real Londoner, you can’t help but love the city. It’s an attraction nobody can quite put their finger on, let alone articulate properly. But, if you ever need to justify London to anyone (including yourself), here’s why it’s not just one of the best cities to live, but to work, too. Choose the capital as your base and you’ll…
it, Londoners earn the most in the country, and £107.80 a week more than those living in the southeast, which sits second.
Seize opportunities London is ranked the second most economically powerful city in the world. It’s a megacity. Plainly speaking, with more business, trade and resources than almost anywhere else in the world, you don’t have to look far for jobs and opportunities.
Join communities Twenty-one per cent of the UK’s freelance workforce lives in Greater London. From Hackney to Harlesden, London is home to dozens of thriving freelancer communities. You’re in very good company.
places in the world to entertain. Whether you choose to take a friend or a client is up to you.
Work anywhere Pitch up at quirky coffee shops, your Workspace Club or, on the off-chance it’s not raining, take remote working to the next level at one of London’s hundreds of green spaces. Freelancers and remote workers are spoilt for choice.
Get inspired Cheesy, but true. For freelancers and the selfemployed, London is a gem. Get involved and benefit from its entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, disruptive nature and world-class business minds.
You can complain about it all you want. Hell, even threaten to leave. But deep down you just know, there’s nowhere quite like London…
London’s the UK’s most expensive city. No surprises there. And anyway, it shouldn’t all be about the money. But when it comes down to
Michelin-star restaurants, world-class sporting events, the West End and the ever-growing list of hipster hangouts make London one of the best
Benedict Smith is Head of Content at hubbul – freelancing, made simple. www.hubbul.com
fast track the
Tips and toolkits for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs
out of office – again
The image of the put-upon freelancer chained to his/her desk needs updating, it seems. A recent survey by People Per Hour shows that whereas 29 per cent of permanent staffers enjoyed two or more foreign trips in the past year, the figure rises to 35 per cent for the self-employed. What’s more, freelancers stay abroad for twice as long as permies, spending on average 21 nights away from home, compared to 10 nights for staffers. There’s a downside, of course – when they’re away, freelancers spend an average of half an hour per day checking their work emails, while permanent staff spend just half that time. Oh well, swings and roundabouts...
the big question We asked Club Workspace business owners: “What’s the best thing about co-working?”
“Overhearing other people’s business challenges and plans, and being reminded we’re all either ‘building the bridge as we go’, or ‘carving away bits of the rock that aren’t sculpture’. It’s a brain-ache, and it’s fascinating.”
Oliver Payne, founder of behavioural insight and communications agency The Hunting Dynasty (CW London Bridge)
“Working with others who really can understand and appreciate where you are coming from. Most of us will know that all companies have their ups and downs and it’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people who understand this. Collaboration and co-working make for an incredible combination. Also, it’s always great meeting new faces.”
Nigel Camp, founder of DevilBoy Productions and filmmaker, producer, international keynote speaker and tutor at General Assembly (CW Portobello)
“Co-working is not only a flexible and cost-effective solution for businesses and freelancers needing office space, it’s also a fantastic way to grow your network and meet likeminded people.”
Kelly Gilmour-Grassam, founder of Making You Content and winner of the IPSE Young Freelancer of the Year Award 2015 (CW Kennington)
“Meeting new people for sure! My business is all about building relationships, so making new contacts and connections is key.”
Ben Matthews, digital, social media and content marketing consultant and founder of content-marketing agency Montfort (CW Bethnal Green)
“It’s flexible and less expensive than a proper office, allows you to meet other like-minded companies/entrepreneurs and at the same time, with Workspace, you get state-of-the-art facilities.”
Jacopo Cordero di Vonzo, co-founder and MD of Remeo Gelato (CW Clerkenwell)
“making new contacts and connections is key”
*The Millennial Disruption Index
Millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what their bank has to say*
tech startup fair, autumn 2016
One of the world’s biggest tech startup fairs is coming back to London on 13 October. The event is run by TechMeetups, a 60,000-strong global network of tech communities stretching “from San Francisco to Sydney”, and aims to enable tech talent find jobs in startups, and help new companies find exactly the skills they’re looking for. Find out more at www.techmeetups.com
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up and coming
Want to boost your workplace wellbeing? There’s plenty you can do, from “walking meetings” to mindfulness exercises, says PsyT’s Head of Insight, Charles Fair
Work: we nearly all have to do it, but it brings its own stresses. A certain amount of pressure can be energising and create a feeling of achievement when challenges are overcome. But sustained pressure over a long period, coupled with inadequate support, will tip over into stress and “burnout” – which can be a particular challenge for business leaders and entrepreneurs.
So, as a manager, what can you do? * Know your people. Know something about their lives outside of work. They may be undergoing stressful events such as moving house, bereavement or relationship breakdown. If they feel supported through such events (by being given flexibility when needed) they’re far more likely to give their best at work.
* Encourage everyone to take responsibility. We all owe it to ourselves to get enough sleep, take exercise and eat healthily. At work, we can ensure that we take regular breaks to stretch our legs and change posture, as well as staying hydrated. Mindfulness exercises, such as the “Three Minute
female VCs wanted…
A lack of women investors is having serious repercussions for female-led startups. Is there a way to level the playing field?
According to Startup DNA, a research study carried out by Wayra UK, Telefónica Open Future’s digital startup accelerator, male entrepreneurs are 86 per cent more likely to be VC funded and 59 per cent more likely to secure angel investment than women.
“Poor wellbeing at work costs an estimated £25.9bn per year” Breathing Space”, can help us to improve our ability to concentrate and control our anxiety levels.
* Know your staff’s strengths, and use them wherever possible. What are they good at, and what do they want to achieve? Being a round peg in a square hole is stressful for all concerned.
at work. It’s your behaviours that ultimately set the tone of an organisation. By leading by example you can build a strong, supportive culture underpinned by values that help people to be the best that they can be.
* Dial down the pressure. Get outside for “walking meetings”, where you hold one-to-one or small group discussions while walking around a local park. Or issue email guidelines to limit the pernicious effect of an “always on” culture of responding to emails 24/7. For UK plc, poor wellbeing at work – expressed through absenteeism, staff turnover and burnout – costs an estimated £25.9 billion; that’s £820 per person employed, per year. Which makes it something none of us can afford to ignore.
business leader has a major impact on wellbeing
Based at Club Workspace Kennington, PsyT helps companies measure wellbeing – and individuals develop mindfulness techniques – via a mobile app. To find out more or to trial the app, contact email@example.com or visit www.psyt.co.uk
This in part can be explained by the fact there are fewer women working in tech startups (only nine per cent of entrepreneurs in tech are women) and fewer women in the science, tech, engineering and maths industries in general in the UK (they make up just 14.4 per cent of the STEM workforce). According to the WISE campaign (wisecampaign.org), even if its goal of getting one million more women to pursue science, technology and engineering careers is reached, the STEM workforce will still only be 30 per cent female. However, there are some positive signs; the Wayra UK research showed that compared to the United States, those working in UK startups were five times more likely to be female. Startups are 36 per cent more likely to have female leaders than FTSE100 companies. But how can the gap in funding be explained? The old boys’ network? A lack of role models? And how can such issues be tackled on a practical level? In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Sahil Raina, an Assistant Professor of Finance at Alberta School of Business, examined CrunchBase, a crowdsourced database on high-tech startups. He found out that “If you define success as an exit from venture capital financing via acquisition or an
IPO, female-led startups perform much worse than male-led startups. About 17 per cent of female-led startups successfully exit VC financing whereas 27 per cent of male-led startups do.” However, that gap closes when startups are financed by VCs with female partners. Raina concluded two things. First, something for female entrepreneurs to consider: “It’s important to know that securing financing from an all-male venture capital firm may drastically reduce their probability of a successful exit.” Second, venture capitalist firms need to recognise that “having female partners improves the chances of success for the female-led startups they finance.” Considering that a September 2014 report from Babson College in the US found that just six per cent of global VC partners were women, there’s still a long way to go. It’s hard to say exactly when female-run startups will get through the initial rounds with as much success as men, and receive the support they need to make a profitable exit. But working towards that goal makes financial sense. Research suggests raising the level of women’s employment to the same as men’s could lift GDP by 10 per cent by 2030, so promoting gender balance could hugely benefit the UK economy.
* Create a positive culture. Your style as a
“About 17 per cent of female-led startups successfully exit VC funding, whereas 27 per cent of male-led startups do” www.workspace.co.uk
“Collaborating is the way forward” Co-working doesn’t just mean a guaranteed social life. For companies at Club, working alongside other entrepreneurs and freelancers brings amazing business opportunities – as three Chiswick regulars explain Gordon Steward is the founder of Big Wave Marketing (www.big-wave.co.uk), a company that provides SMEs and corporates with a hands-on marketing director for part-time contracts, projects and consulting assignments. “Norman and I sat next to each other one day and discovered from hearing each other’s phone calls that we were doing similar things. Norman had the idea that we would offer management support to the other’s company if one of us had a prospective client that needed to be reassured that we had the required people to complete a specific project. A sort of ‘strength in numbers’ concept. “I needed an experienced creative person to work on elements of an assignment that I couldn’t fulfil myself, such as graphic and web design and development. A Workspace employee recommended Anne-Marie. I approached her; we had a quick chat and have been working together for almost a year on brand identity, marketing collateral, exhibition stand design – you name it.” Norman Liu runs Drunken Sailor Media (www.drunkensailormedia.co.uk), a marketing company for the IT and technology sectors. “The amount of talent at Workspace staggers me. I truly believe networking and helping each other
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with collaborative projects is the way forward. I have an ‘Everyday Everywhere’ membership, and I sometimes work at other Clubs to see who’s about and learn about what they do…
“The amount of talent at Workspace staggers me” “Anne-Marie is a brilliant graphic designer and understands what my clients need. The quality of her work, attention to detail and the timely manner in which it’s produced helps my business grow and keeps my customers happy. “I’ve been on a number of after-work drinks and pizzas with Gordon and Anne-Marie. Being opposite a pub, we don’t need too much encouragement, to be honest, and it’s always
pleasant to talk about topics other than work. It also helps our working relationship as we understand each other better.” Anne-Marie Bulpitt’s digital agency Kashoo (www.kashoo.co.uk) specialises in websites, branding and design. “I started out as an intern for a book designer, but in 2011 my brother and I joined forces to create Kashoo. I deal with the creative side and managing clients; he deals with the technical aspects. Our company has now expanded into a full-blown family business and my dad has also joined us as a developer. “I met Gordon initially at the launch of the West Chiswick Club Workspace in The Light Box. The next week he approached me for our web-design expertise and we have been working together ever since. He’s extremely organised and thorough and is very easy to work with. As for Norman, I think we met when we went out for one of our monthly Club Workspace drinks – it feels like we’ve known each other forever!” To find out more about Club and the different levels of memberships available, visit www.workspace.co.uk/co-working
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“Brands are shifting towards fast-moving, immersive formats. Connected content is a big area of focus right now” LEFT Richard Silvester, Infogr8’s founder BELOW “End of the Road”, a data visualisation featured by ESPN showing how Formula 1 safety has changed almost beyond recognition since the 1950s
Visual data is big business. Just ask Richard Silvester, whose agency Infogr8 has expanded from Club Workspace to Clerkenwell Workshops, and is expected to double in size in the next year
Why we all
The amount of our brain that’s dedicated to processing visual information
How many of us are visual learners, absorbing information best when it’s in a picture format
How long it takes our brain to make sense of a visual scene
By his own admission, Richard Silvester has had a colourful past. Birmingham-born, he started out as “a bit of a digital nomad, living and working abroad before settling in London”. In 2005, inspired by David Beckham’s purchase of a black standard-size Hummer H2, the entrepreneur launched HummerHummer, an agency that hired out a fleet of pimped-up pickup trucks with interactive screens to celebrities, brands and production companies. The highlights? “Having the Apprentice girls in for the day washing the Hummers, and touring with JLS for The X Factor final tour.” After a stint managing digital presence for a roster of global acts at Sony Music, Richard had witnessed his fair share of meetings, presentations
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and reports. “The record industry was a training ground to see how departments and people connect in a rapid environment – time was precious. I started distilling processes, presenting infographics and connecting content to insights to help get to what really matters. This made me curious – surely there’s an easier, more compelling way for large organisations to keep audiences informed?” This led Richard to start an agency devoted to visualised data. Illustrious pioneers of the infographic include Florence Nightingale, who represented the number and causes of deaths during each month of the Crimean War in a coxcomb chart (a combination of a bar chart and a pie chart), as part of an attempt to persuade Queen Victoria to improve conditions in military hospitals. Richard is doing much the same thing as
On average, how much we can recall three days after being given verbal information
How much we can recall if we also saw a relevant picture
The amount of the body’s sensory receptors that are in our eyes
Words: Fleur Macdonald. Data source: The Huffington Post
That’s how much colour visuals increase our willingness to read, according to research
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ABOVE Infogr8’s series of award-winning information posters presented at London’s City Hall
“Useful, informed content is booming” 42
Florence with Infogr8. “We’re a data-led content strategy agency that explains, entertains and inspires audiences through the use of succinct visuals,” he explains. The agency was launched in Club Workspace in the summer of 2012. The team was small, composed of Richard, plus a journalism graduate and an ex-Telegraph information designer. But business soon took off and now they are developing fast towards becoming a mid-sized agency. “Useful, informed content is booming, as brands are waking up to our content offering,” says Richard. “We’ve gone from strength to strength.” In search of more room, and a dedicated office space, the team moved into Clerkenwell Workshops two years ago. “We liked the flexibility Workspace gave us,” Richard explains, adding, “We love the fact we’re a one-minute walk from a melting pot of interesting architectural developments, and just around the corner from a slightly wilder Shoreditch scene.”
Growth forecast It’s likely that Infogr8 will be taking advantage of Workspace’s commitment to offer a variety of spaces to growing companies. Richard has plans to double the size of the team and “bolster the talent across data, creative and distribution” within the next year. In three years he expects to be running a large agency at the forefront of trends in the data industry. And what are those trends? “Brands are shifting towards fast-moving, immersive formats.
Connected content is a big area of focus right now and key to being able to stand out.” He also stresses the importance of understanding the data and how people are interacting with it. “Data journalism is going mainstream, proprietary content tools are growing but brands still can’t get to grips with how their content is actually performing on a more granular [detailed] level. It’s a transforming market and we’re keen to push at the forefront of it.” The variety of businesses that have called on Infogr8 for help with displaying their data in the most accessible and attractive way possible is quite amazing. As well as producing graphics for the Greater London Authority and London City Airport, Infogr8 recently helped produce a report for Sainsbury’s on the outlook for rosé; apparently it’s rosy, accounting for 10 per cent of all still wines sold at the supermarket, with a 12.4 per cent increase in sales in July. And while the West Midlands is one of the areas in the UK where rosé is most popular, Londoners, relatively, aren’t too keen on the tipple. But there’s one Workspace-based business in particular that Infogr8 would love to work with, Richard confesses: Citymapper, based at Cargo Works, “or any organisation for that matter who lead with data and are disruptive in the space.” Given Infogr8 have just been nominated twice in the Content Marketing Awards, it seems that description holds quite well for them too. www.infogr8.com
What would you give to fight hunger in London? How about an afternoon. www.fareshare.org.uk @FareShareUK
Registered charity number 1100051
Each year we redistribute 9,000 tonnes of surplus food to vulnerable people across the UK - thatâ€™s enough for 18.3 million meals. Volunteer just an afternoon of your time and help us get good food, which would otherwise go to waste, to the Londoners who need it most. We have volunteering opportunities for teams or individuals at our London warehouse all year round. Contact Katie Greaves on 020 7394 2469 or e-mail Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Workspace is looking for female entrepreneurs to share their stories and inspire the next generation of women in business. Club host Raissa (opposite), who’s spearheading the initiative, tells us more
One of the stalwarts of Club Workspace, Raissa has been a host for the last four years, working across eight Clubs including Farringdon and Old Street. In that time, she’s hosted hundreds of breakfast meetings, organised numerous networking sessions and climbed Mount Toubkal in Morocco. We’re not joking; last year she was part of a team that walked up to eight hours a day for four days scaling peaks in support of the amazing XLP, a charity working to create positive futures for young Londoners. We asked her about her day-to-day duties at Club and the work she’s doing to give female startups a boost.
When did you start working at Club?
Words: Fleur Macdonald
Just a little over four years ago, during my eighth month with Workspace, there was an expansion of our co-working business hubs from two to five. I was attracted to the role right from the moment I saw the job description – the word “entrepreneurial” simply jumped out at me. It’s fair to say that this challenge was definitely going to be an opportunity to learn first-hand all I need to know about business.
What’s your favourite thing about working with New and Growing Companies? I just love working with the people behind these businesses. There’s something so inspiring about seeing the growth of an idea into a new business. Each person is their own brand. They have such passion and dedication; they are never complacent.
“There’s something so inspiring about seeing the growth of an idea into a new business. Each person is their own brand”
What do you do after work in your favourite Club area? Over the years I’ve had the chance to manage different Clubs, from London Bridge to Chancery Lane, Farringdon and Southbank. So I know those areas well. I don’t want to name any favourites because they are all special in their own way and have different vibes. In Chancery Lane, I enjoy catching up with friends at Bounce and at The Fable, and if it’s date night then definitely Holborn Dining Room at the Rosewood London. The truffle fries are to die for. If I’m in Farringdon then anywhere on Exmouth market is always fun, although if it is cocktails after work then it has to be Granger & Co. Oh, and their shrimp burger is delicious. On the Southbank, you will certainly find me enjoying the view of the river from The Rumpus Room bar at the Mondrian. In London Bridge, the choices are endless, although I love nothing more than a Friday night Afro-beats shakedown at Southwark Rooms. The DJ just seems to anticipate my musical desires – it’s always a happy night.
Tell us about your new initiative for encouraging female entrepreneurs… My role at Club Workspace allows me to come across many entrepreneurs. Over the years I’ve admired many amazing individuals who are brave enough to dream big and have the courage to build those ideas into a business. I’ve observed that the majority of these brave souls are men, which is wonderful, but as a woman, I can’t help but want to
â€œThe goal is to inspire women from all walks of life to be empowered and consider starting their own businessesâ€? start me up
women inspiring women Does being a woman give you an edge in business? Do you have any advice for female would-be entrepreneurs? Fleur Macdonald puts the questions to our panel of Workspace movers and shakers
Emma Miles and Laura Hearn The Clerkenwell Kitchen, Clerkenwell Workshops
Tell us about your company… “We source locally, cook seasonally and use organic and free-range produce. “Every day we cook six daily lunch dishes and pudding and prepare a selection of freshly made sandwiches, tarts and soups to take away. We also bake our own cakes. We offer a full catering service for any occasion and the café is available for private hire. “We work closely with our producers who deliver directly to the café; suppliers are chosen because they offer the best quality and flavour as well as sharing our commitment to traditional farming methods and fair trade.”
How does being a female entrepreneur give you an edge? “Within our industry, the staff turnover is usually high but because we are understanding of the challenges that our employees face, we tend to hang on to them a little longer than most. As women, we thrive on being nurturing rather than being competitive.”
What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur? “Do it your own way, follow your own instinct. Try to create a different environment to what is already available. Be frugal. Work hard and do what you love. “Make sure your employees see you working, be prepared to do every single job in your company and give it 100 per cent. Don’t skimp on the business plan. Always research.”
The female entrepreneur who most inspires you? “We inspire each other because our business is a proper collaboration. We have become complementary over the year and it has grown organically.” www.theclerkenwellkitchen.co.uk
Portia Chivanga Rayman and Thomas, Kennington Park
Tell us about your company… “We are a recruitment agency for hiring support service staff for luxury hotels within central London.”
How does being a female entrepreneur give you an edge? “Being a female entrepreneur does give women an advantage as we are more organised and quite ambitious.”
What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur? “Stay focused, stick to something you believe in and it will work.”
The female entrepreneur who most inspires you? “It has to be Oprah Winfrey.”
Best resource for female entrepreneurs? “Find a great mentor in your field before you even start.” www.raymanandthomas.co.uk
Chantal Coady and respond to clients’ needs. For example, we started as an Instagram-focused ad-tech platform and after few months we’re introducing multiplatform offerings for our clients.”
What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur? “It’s like with (kite)surfing – whenever you find a good wave just make the most of it. Most of the times it’s not the highest one, it might not be the best one, but focusing on this dream wave that might never come narrows your perception. If there’s offshore in one place for sure there’s onshore in another!”
The female entrepreneur who most inspires you? “My business partner, Barbara Soltysinska.”
Best resource for female entrepreneurs? “For ladies who want to enter the world of startups, I would suggest having a look at some free courses from Stanford University, available on YouTube. It’s really true what they say there; it’s worth preparing yourself for all challenges and difficulties that you’ll encounter for sure.” www.indahash.com
Charlotte Dennis Curious Consultancy
indaHash, Club Workspace Farringdon
Tell us about your company… “IndaHash is a fully automated ad platform for agencies and brands to use on an everyday basis and connect with influencers across the globe. Our vision is to help advertisers bring back authenticity to their communication and let real consumers talk about the brands that they love.”
How does being a female entrepreneur give you an edge? “I hope in the future we won’t have to divide entrepreneurs by sex. But I think what gives ladies an edge is the ability to listen, and to understand
Tell us about your company… “Curious is a strategy and innovation consultancy.” [Charlotte also lectures at The Marketers’ Forum, who are based at Workspace Kennington Park.]
How does being a female entrepreneur give you an edge? “I never think about my gender as a dimension of importance when looking at entrepreneurship. The key components to being an entrepreneur are creativity, work ethic, networking and being humble. Taking the plunge into self-employment is one that many, including myself, were
Joanna Pawluk cautious about. The shackles of everyday living, in addition to the comfort of a monthly salary, bonuses and benefits makes it a tough decision. Especially in today’s competitive environment.”
about a different way of seeing the world and, I hope, a softer, more intuitive style. I think we should see ourselves as equal to and complementary to men.”
What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur?
What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur?
“Do your homework, assess your competitive environment, refine your offering and keep it simple – just some of the approaches I have used to develop my business and brand. To coin a phrase, just do it!”
“Build strong and united teams, and support them well – it’s not always about money but the other things you can do to take the stress out of their work-life balance. If they have kids, they will need time off for school stuff, so try to be flexible and you will have a loyal and devoted team member, who will go the extra mile for you when you need it. “Always get the best financial advice you can. A good financial director will pay for themselves, and up-to-the-minute financials are essential. If you can do this yourself, great. If not, buy in! Lead by example as much as you can, there should be no job that you’re not prepared to do yourself. “I have done every job in my business, from cleaning the loos to tackling the VAT returns.”
The female entrepreneur who most inspires you? “Coco Chanel: a remarkable woman from humble beginnings. Created the fashion brand we know today, in an environment that didn’t encourage female entrepreneurship, navigating her business through two world wars and liberating women from the constraints of corsets by creating a sporty, casual fashion line that is still used by designers today as inspiration, a trend called ‘athleisure’, which is seeing a real resurgence.” www.curiousconsultancy.com
Chantal Coady OBE Rococo Chocolates, Parkhall Business Centre
Tell us about your company… “We’re a luxury chocolatier and cocoa grower.”
How does being a female entrepreneur give you an edge? “I’m not sure I would really regard being female as giving someone an edge, it’s more
The female entrepreneur who most inspires you? “The late Anita Roddick was a trailblazer. Others names to mention would be Jo Malone, Liz Earle, Laura Tenison of JoJo Maman Bebe, Martha Lane Fox...”
Best resource for female entrepreneurs? “It’s not specifically for female entrepreneurs, but www.e2exchange.com [a site that connects entrepreneurs] was started by an amazing woman, Shalini Khemka.” www.rococochocolates.com
Raissa will be organising a series of events to inspire and connect female entrepreneurs and business owners based at Workspace over the autumn months.
Please email email@example.com for more details start me up
see more women expand their ideas into realities, too. I believe that by sharing the different paths to success that have been walked, it will inspire someone somewhere to create their own path. So the aim with this initiative is to showcase the many amazing ladies within our network who I consider trailblazers in business. I’m very glad to have been given this opportunity and grateful that they want to share their journeys. The goal is to inspire women from all walks of life to be empowered and consider starting their own businesses.
What have you learnt? I’ve learnt that it’s okay not to know everything before you set off on any business journey. A lot of stuff you try might not work, but by staying resilient and adopting a determined attitude, you turn what may be considered a failure into a lesson that elevates you to the next level. Ideas are worthless without execution and you can be sure it will be challenging to make those ideas happen, especially when there are people telling you it will never happen. However, when you have focus and a clear vision of what you wish to achieve, it’s easier to create nothing into something. Most importantly, you have to love what you’re doing; passion is key.
Any good resources for new female entrepreneurs? I recently had the pleasure of meeting Cherie Blair, who is a wonderful advocate of empowering women, and of hearing her views on the importance of diversity in business. Her Cherie Blair Foundation offers an exclusive online platform that makes it possible for business mentees and mentors from around the world to connect, access training and resources, share ideas, build their networks and support one another. As entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, the online community offers a critical support system. I would encourage women entrepreneurs to be part of this interactive forum where participants are able to work together on solutions to challenges and forge connections over thousands of miles. www.cherieblairfoundation.org/programmmes/ mentoring
lub C together
Business-grade Wi-Fi, free events, the chance to meet other entrepreneurs, plus state-ofthe-art design... We find out what else Workspace’s newest Clubs have to offer
“The tech is important, but so is the atmosphere.” So says Alexandra Witney, Workspace’s head of operations for Club, when asked why freelancers and entrepreneurs are flocking to join what is fast becoming the UK’s largest network of co-working spaces. Designed for businesses that don’t want, or need, the commitment of a dedicated office space, Workspace’s Clubs offer opportunities for flexible working, in spaces specially designed to encourage “ideas to grow into long-term successful business models”. Two of the latest Clubs to join the family are Club Workspace Vauxhall (at the recently opened Vox
Studios) and CW Southwark (The Print Rooms in SE1). Both feature stylish decor that’s in keeping with the design of the main building, as well as “seamless functionality. It’s a key design element built into all Clubs,” according to Alexandra. Hence there are larger tables for group working, small tables for independent work, sofas (even hammocks) for when you need to break away completely. Team Rooms – private enclosed spaces – provide a solution for more established companies. “We often see customers who’ve joined on their own, expanded their business, moved into a Team Room and eventually into a Workspace office,” says Alexandra. Now that is seamless.
The co-working areas at Club Vauxhall (left) and Club Southwark sit within the main entrance of the building, next to the café, to make the most of natural light
“The tech is important, but so is the atmosphere” Team Rooms, like this one at Canterbury Court, are a great way to expand your company as it becomes more established
Work the way YOU want With four great Club Workspace membership packages available, you can find the ideal match for you and your business.
Everyday Everywhere: Access any Club Workspace across the capital, Monday to Friday Three Days One Club: Full access to one home location, three days a week Your Desk at Club: Your own private workstation at your home Club, including a lockable desk Team Room: A lockable, private room, seating up to eight people, for the exclusive use of you and your team
Find out more at www.workspace.co.uk/ co-working
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the long read Our regular in-depth read examines a key factor affecting British business. For this issue, technology journalist Kate O’Flaherty takes a look at the state of broadband provision in London: how it compares with the rest of the world and how a series of company and government initiatives are hoping to change the city’s digital landscape. In short…
how connected is our capital? the discrepancy between boroughs – the government’s broadband targets – fast vs superfast – Sadiq Khan’s “tech hub” plans – what Brexit might bring – how London’s SMEs fare – why fibre beats copper – what does the future hold?
When it comes to network connectivity, London has been playing catch-up with the rest of the world. Old-fashioned copper cabling, planning restrictions and a lack of funding have all conspired to keep broadband speeds low, while other capital cities steam ahead with superfast access. Could a new raft of initiatives and tech breakthroughs turn our capital into...
gigabyte c “We need to change the ‘bank first’ mentality”
city? the long read
“Figures show that improved broadband connectivity would give the capital a major economic boost” 54
Question: What does Seoul have that London doesn’t? Okay, lots of things, admittedly – Gyeongbokgung Palace, some incredible street food, Psy… But where the Southeast Asian capital beats London – thrashes it into the ground, in fact – is in its broadband provision. South Korea already has the fastest broadband in the world, and commercial 5G connections are predicted within the next four years. All of which makes its capital city something of a commercial powerhouse and a magnet for enterprise.
Here on the other side of the world, London, too, boasts a world-class reputation as a global business centre and as an attractive location for startups. But while some areas of the city enjoy superfast connectivity, many others continue to suffer from slow and unreliable broadband. Which prompts another question: why? Frustratingly, the technology is already available, but several issues are responsible for London’s connectivity falling below the expected standard. Part of the blame can be laid at the feet
of the telephony network that supplies most of the capital. Consisting mainly of copper wires, it’s not fit for purpose and is inefficiently laid in some areas. Such varying levels of connectivity have resulted in a discrepancy between boroughs (see chart on page 60). While some areas in the City obtain fast connections, parts of east London suffer from poor speeds, or even “not spots” where no network is available at all. Ken Eastwood, director of Digital Nomads, a consultancy advising companies and public bodies on flexible working and digital innovation, believes the problems stem from the fact that the UK is trying to build a 21st-century broadband network on top of 19th-century telephony technology. According to Eastwood, the nature of copper wires leaves them unable to comply with the standards needed for today’s broadband. “The ability of copper to transmit signal reduces with distance, so if you are long way from the exchange, you see a dip in performance,” he explains. Another problem is posed by government targets, which label 24 Megabits per second (Mbps) as “superfast”, when this speed is actually quite slow by today’s standards (Ofcom’s
OPPOSITE Seoul is the world’s number one city for broadband speeds BELOW London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has stated his desire to “deliver the improved digital infrastructure we need to keep pace with our competitors”
definition of superfast is 30Mbps). This lowers the bar when it comes to many of the broadband packages offered to businesses.
Targets and take-up The government, at least, recognises the pressing need for investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure. A report published on 13 July by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee admits that “a sizeable number” of UK businesses lack access to “good, reliable and affordable broadband communications”. The report says: “The UK is a laggard by international standards in providing fibre connectivity. This could result in a widening, not a narrowing, of the digital divide; especially as demand for faster services escalates after 2020.” But according to the report, there are some positives: so far the UK has done well compared to other EU countries on the provision of superfast broadband services in terms of geographic coverage, take-up and lower prices. In addition, over £1.7 billion of public money is expected to be invested in closing the digital divide, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee
the long read
“£1.7bn of public money is to be invested in closing the digital divide”
points out. The government is extending superfast broadband coverage further through its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and is on track to deliver superfast services to 95 per cent of premises by the end of 2017. In addition, last year the government confirmed a new Universal Service Obligation (USO) as part of its Digital Economy Bill. This gives consumers and businesses the legal right to request a broadband connection capable of delivering a minimum speed of 10Mbps by 2020. The government is also implementing a range of measures to facilitate private investment in digital infrastructure, by helping speed up broadband deployment and reduce the cost.
London vs the UK However, as UK internet traffic grows dramatically across coming decades – Ofcom’s estimates of future demand for mobile data alone suggest a 45- to 80-fold increase by 2030 – there is a “serious public concern that the UK is not adequately investing in critical telecoms infrastructure”. It seems ironic that it’s not rural areas but inner cities that fare worse when it comes to superfast broadband. London (along with Hull) continued on page 60
* Source: Office for National Statistics
~ There were 5.8 million incidents of cyber crime in 2015â€“16 ~ The figure includes two million computer-misuse offences, including 1.4 million virus attacks ~ Fraud now costs the UK an estimated ÂŁ193 billion a year ~ Half of all crimes against UK individuals and businesses are committed from abroad*
Black Hats Zombies Evil Twins
They sound like something from a horror film, but they’re real and they’re after your data… Mark Murphy, CTO of Workspace’s connected services provider Excell Group, explains what the company is doing to stop cyber attacks and what you can do to prevent your business becoming a target Mark Murphy is a White Hat. In IT parlance, that means he’s one of the good guys. On a daily basis he patrols the entire Workspace network looking out for attempts by Black Hats – cyber criminals – to attack customers’ businesses. “I stop you being a party to an attack, I try to stop you being attacked, and I try to stop you being collateral damage in an attack on someone else,” explains Mark. “I scan the networks nine times every day, and I think we’re unique in that. I don’t think any of our peers go to that level.” The reason for Mark’s vigilance is simple. Cyber attacks against small businesses are on the rise – almost half of the global attacks logged during 2015 were against companies with fewer than 250 staff. “We used to see attacks against small business a couple of times a year, but now we’re seeing them weekly,” says Mark. “They’re not daily yet, but that will come.” The problem is that small businesses are now regarded by cyber criminals as “low-hanging fruit”. Most large corporations have bolstered their defences in recent years and usually have whole teams dedicated to keeping their IT secure. “But if you’re a two- or three-man band, you don’t have that same level of resources, or
HOME TO NEW AND GROWING COMPANIES
training, or, let’s be honest, interest,” says Mark. “A lot of people just want to come into the office, work and then walk away.” One weakness in your system – be it an easyto-guess password or giving too much information to a third party – and you become a target for Black Hats. “These guys scan the internet looking for open windows,” explains Mark. “Once they find one, they’ll watch you, they’ll research you. The people who are doing this are much, much cleverer than you and me. They’re very motivated, they train and study a lot, because there’s a lot of money to be made.”
Don’t take the bait Attacks can take various forms. Most of us are familiar with “phishing” – email attempts to solicit passwords or bank account information – but are less clued up about, say, “evil twins”. “It’s an easy thing to do,” claims Mark. “You have a router at home. Your network name is broadcast so I could park outside your house, look at my iPhone and see what your network’s called. And I could then get my own wireless access point and I could set it up so it looks like it’s got the same name as your access point. Now, I’ve got two: one good and one evil twin. Next time you come home, your iPhone, for example, sees
“The problem is that small businesses are now regarded by cyber criminals as ‘lowhanging fruit’” 57
pieces of White Hat wisdom
Mark’s top tips for safeguarding your system 1. Change your password “Fifty per cent of us have passwords that are made up of somebody’s name, and two or three digits. A cyber criminal could crack that in seconds. It’s better to pick three random words, like ‘elephant window spiral’, or a phrase, such as ‘I like working’, but then make it even stronger by changing some of the letters to numbers.”
2. Use lots of passwords “Have tiers of them if you can. For example, ‘I l1ke w0rk1ng’ could be my top-level password, for my banking, but I could adapt that password and put extra letters or digits into it depending on what I’m using it for – for example, ‘I l1ke sh0pp1ng at N8xt’.”
3. Store them securely “There’s some great free software you can use. I use Lastpass, it’s a password vault, for keeping all my passwords in one place. You only need one master password to get into it, but make sure it’s a really strong one, and never share it or reuse it elsewhere.”
4. Train your staff… “… or at least talk to them about cyber security. It really should be a priority for all small businesses.”
5. Be vigilant… “…even when you’re not at your desk. On the train recently I overheard a lawyer speaking on her phone about a case. Her phone kept cutting out so she kept reading out her number to the other person, then she took down their number and read it out loud. Right there, you’d have enough information to launch a social-engineering attack.” Mark Murphy of Excell Group: “one of the good guys”
“Just be aware of cyber crime. It’s now and it’s real” your your evil twin, and says, Oh, there’s my network! And it sends it its user name and password. And the best place to do this? Outside a business centre. Because there are hundreds of SSIDs in there.” Watch out, too, for the undead. A “zombie” PC is one that’s been infected by a virus, and is now working for somebody else – a “zombie herder”. Mark explains: “As a herder, what might I get that zombie to do? It might just send small requests to a PC, but if I get lots of my zombies to do that and overwhelm your system, I can prevent you getting on the internet – that’s what’s called a ‘denial of service [DoS]’ attack.” Mark has a chilling tale to tell about a small firm who lost half a million pounds this way – and yet the attack couldn’t have happened without an initial “open window” caused by human error. “Somebody rang up pretending to be from the bank,” explains Mark. “They had lots of information about a certain member of staff because they’d Googled her; she was reassured, and ended up giving away her password.” The DoS attack was launched to prevent her accessing her online banking, during which time the gang transferred the money, in small chunks labelled “Wages”, to UK clearing banks and from there, out of the country. While we might think of our computers as being at risk from automated robo-viruses, few of us expect a cyber attack to come from someone claiming to be Darren from Accounts. “It’s what we call ‘social engineering’,” says Mark. “We all want to be friendly and helpful, so when someone phones up and has information about you, you might end up giving them just a little bit more, and then they can use that information to get even more of a foot in the door.”
Scared yet? You should be. So what can a small company do, without spending thousands, to safeguard against cyber attacks? “I’m your first line of defence,” says Mark. “I use the very same methods that hackers use to look for weaknesses – open windows, holes in the wall, missing roof tiles, anywhere a Black Hat could get in. But on top of that, there are lots of things you can do yourself that won’t cost you a penny.” [See Mark’s tips, left.]
Safer surfing The good news – for Workspace customers at least – is that Excell Group and Workspace have just launched a new eight-year partnership. It will see both firms investing hugely in connected services across the whole Workspace portfolio, to make sure companies have the top-of-the-range business-grade Wi-Fi and voice solutions they need to grow. For example, the new Dot11 wireless network, which comes as standard in all new Workspace developments and is being retrofitted across the whole portfolio, will beef up network security to unprecedented levels. “It automatically looks for evil twins, and if it finds one, it recognises it, and it will prevent you from associating with it,” explains Mark. “Plus, if you buy your own router for your office, it’s unlikely you’d put any security on it, and all the data will be sent in clear text. With Dot11, data is encrypted from your laptop all the way up to the network. It’s much safer.” One thing is clear: the Black Hats aren’t going to go away. “We can’t destroy them,” admits Mark, “but we can lessen their impact. If I find a problem I’ll contact you and fix it for you, or advise you how to fix it. But just be aware of cyber crime. It’s now and it’s real.”
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Thinkbroadband.com’s Andrew Ferguson says: “The City of London does surprisingly well given the low coverage of superfast broadband in the area. This is because of the small size of the area and the dominance of SME business connections from some firms. “The speeds may seem low when you consider the high levels of coverage in some boroughs, but this is common as people are often not upgraded automatically and the faster services will often command a higher price. So at a time when many are still watching the cost of utility bills, if their broadband is okay, upgrading to the fastest available often does not happen.”
“The City of London does surprisingly well given the low coverage of superfast broadband in the area”
Broadband speeds vary widely across the capital, but the reasons are complex
Mean download speeds by area Q2 2016 Source: thinkbroadband.com
City and County of the City of London Sutton Hounslow Harrow London Waltham Forest London Croydon Merton London Richmond upon Thames Redbridge Islington Bromley Camden Hillingdon London Barking and Dagenham Enfield Bexley Kingston upon Thames Havering Greenwich Newham Haringey Kensington and Chelsea Lewisham Ealing Brent Southwark Hackney Barnet Lambeth City of Westminster Hammersmith and Fulham Wandsworth Tower Hamlets
43.7 Mbps 33.6 Mbps 33.5 Mbps 31.3 Mbps 30.9 Mbps 30.5 Mbps 30.4 Mbps 30.4 Mbps 30 Mbps 29.8 Mbps 29.7 Mbps 29.7 Mbps 29.5 Mbps 28.9 Mbps 28 Mbps 28 Mbps 27.7 Mbps 27.4 Mbps 27 Mbps 26.2 Mbps 25.9 Mbps 25.6 Mbps 25.4 Mbps 25.1 Mbps 25 Mbps 24.7 Mbps 24.5 Mbps 24 Mbps 23.9 Mbps 23.7 Mbps 22.7 Mbps 22.7 Mbps 21.7 Mbps
“Khan wants 99 per cent of properties to have access to superfast connections by 2018”
copper vs fibre
languishes at the bottom of UK broadband league tables, with seven London constituencies – the Cities of London and Westminster, Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Bethnal Green and Bow, Poplar and Limehouse and Westminster North – expected to have superfast penetration of just 76 per cent once works are complete. One particular challenge facing the capital is that owing to London’s large number of local authorities, different planning restrictions operate in different parts of the city. It’s something that broadband operators find particularly frustrating, according to Matthew Evans, CEO of The Broadband Stakeholder Group, the UK government’s advisory forum for telecoms policy. “There are reasons some take longer with planning processes – for example, main roads will slow things down.” However, initiatives are already trying to resolve this. For example, says Evans, a directive from Europe is being written into law to help the coordination of works. Evans explains: “If you’re digging for a water main, it would make sense to coordinate with the telcos.”
Speed = growth Figures show that improved broadband connectivity would give the capital a major economic boost. The London mayor’s office believes that moving from basic to superfast broadband could boost London’s economy by around £4 billion by 2024. Businesses, though, don’t always realise the benefits of opting for better speeds – which can
the long read
be seen as an unwanted expense. The regulator Ofcom estimates 89 per cent of London’s businesses and households can obtain superfast connections through fibre broadband, but only 25 per cent opt for the faster link. There are also an estimated 6,500 properties in “not spot” areas, where internet speeds run 10 times slower than the average across the capital. With this in mind, recently appointed Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has recognised the need for investment. He has already announced plans for London to become a “world-leading tech hub”. As part of this, Khan wants to address the skill, infrastructure and business issues currently holding London back. The initiative will be overseen by the appointment of a Chief Digital Officer. Khan also wants 99 per cent of properties in the capital to have access to affordable superfast connections by 2018. To that end, he has established a connectivity advisory group to encourage London’s internet service providers to work with City Hall to improve connectivity and deliver fast and universal access to the internet. Meanwhile, under the City of London Corporation’s Superfast City programme, businesses on Golden Lane Estate in EC1 can access speeds of up to 80Mbps. The programme is also looking at how to better serve SMEs. Among recent initiatives to improve London’s coverage and speeds, there have been projects including free Wi-Fi in Hackney and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, and cellular radio sites in Southwark. In addition, service providers have been investing heavily in
According to Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, in order to deliver superfast broadband, providers need to install fibre optic cabling. Fibre optic cables have a higher bandwidth and can support higher speeds than the copper cables used in traditional networks, and also tend to be more robust; when travelling over long distances, they experience less signal loss than copper wires – something known as “low attenuation”. The current generation of superfast broadband is typically delivered by replacing the copper cable between the local exchange and the street cabinet with a fibre optic one, enabling far higher speeds for the consumer. The cable between the street cabinet and the consumer’s home or business is often, depending on the supplier, made of copper, as it can be incredibly expensive and disruptive to run fibre optic cables directly into a building. However, FTTP (“fibre to the premises”) is increasingly used by businesses in particular and can offer speeds that are even higher than superfast: ultrafast broadband.
“Fibre is the future”
underground revolution Despite being the main transport system for one of the world’s busiest and most populous capitals, London’s Underground is a big black “not spot” for mobile users. It’s a big challenge to fix. Probably the largest “not spot” in the UK is the London Underground, according to a report published by the UK government’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee. This is despite Wi-Fi connectivity on the underground in other major cities. Barcelona has full 3G coverage in all of its subway stations, and between 50 to 75 per cent of tunnels. Seoul has had LTE in all its subway system and trains since 2013, and Tokyo has had 3G service since the same year over almost all of its metro system. Melbourne offers passengers full unbroken 3G voice and 4G data coverage throughout its 12km stretch of train tunnels. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee says: “London is the only one of the top 10 metro systems in the world that does not have a mobile infrastructure. While passengers are
able to use Wi-Fi at tube stations, there are challenges to providing connectivity throughout the underground network.” Since 2005, Transport for London (TfL) has been running a number of projects to investigate connectivity throughout the network but the cost of installation in a tunnel environment has proved to be a barrier. However, TfL is now looking at whether rollout could occur alongside the Home Office’s upgrade of its national mobile communications system for the emergency services. In parallel, TfL is also assessing the feasibility of building the infrastructure with partners to enable mobile network operators such as EE and O2 to offer connectivity underground. This has already been done successfully in a number of cities, including New York.
“London is the only one of the top 10 metro systems in the world that does not have a mobile infrastructure”
4Mbps: the download speed in Seoul’s subway tunnels
their networks to support higher speeds. This is resulting in a range of new services enabled by technology, such as fibre optic networks connecting premises directly to local exchanges – which takes away the need for slower, copperbased cabling. Another solution, G.fast, is an emerging technology capable of delivering speeds in excess of 100Mbps (1Gbps). Seen by some experts as “an intelligent interim solution” until fibre has the same coverage as copper does today, it works by taking high-speed fibre connections closer to the premises, using a short copper cable to complete the link. Meanwhile, a government-backed connection voucher scheme operating in London and other UK cities has recently come to a close. It allowed small and medium-sized businesses to claim up to £3,000 to cover the cost of connecting or upgrading to superfast broadband. This particular initiative was a huge success in London, according to Craig Melson, Communications Officer at ISPA UK (The Internet Services Providers’ Association). Melson says: “It was up to local authorities to push it – and areas including Hackney and Southwark got a great response.”
key words Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC):
This refers to a superfast broadband connection that uses a fibre optic connection from the exchange to the street cabinet and a copper cable to connect the cabinet to the home or office.
Headline speeds: Theoretical maximum speeds that are often not achieved in practice. Cable: This is a similar concept to FTTC, but the connection between the cabinet and the home or office is made of a particular type of copper cable that can offer very high speeds.
Fibre to the premises (FTTP): A service that uses fibre from the exchange directly to the consumer’s home or office. FTTP can deliver superfast or ultrafast speeds.
Wireless: This describes a service that uses a
wireless connection between the consumer’s home or office and the provider’s network. This kind of service is often based on similar technologies to those used in mobile networks and can deliver superfast speeds.
LTE: Long Term Evolution, a 4G mobile data standard.
5G: The next generation of mobile technology. Although 5G is currently still in development, the plan is to build a network that can easily support the growing demands of the internet of things (IoT), with speeds of around 10Gbps. Rollout of a 5G network is unlikely to take place in the UK until the early 2020s.
London vs the world So how does London compare to other capital cities? The short answer is “not brilliantly”. In Nesta’s European Digital City Index 2015, London was ranked 12th out of 35 European major cities surveyed for digital infrastructure – based on internet download/upload speeds, cost of broadband, mobile internet speed and availability of fibre internet. However, when rated for download/upload speeds alone, it ranked just 26th (Paris took the top spot). When it comes to fast broadband, cities with agile infrastructure have the edge. According to Ken Eastwood of Digital Nomads: “Other countries are developing 1Gbps and they do that by taking fibre into the business premises. South Korea is the leader in this – they have chosen to invest in infrastructure and have widely developed public-access Wi-Fi networks.” Given that London faces a specific challenge, the city fares quite well, says The Broadband Stakeholder Group’s Matthew Evans. At the same time, he agrees with Eastwood that South Korea is getting it right. “Seoul in particular has lots of flats so fibre is more cost-effective to deploy to certain areas. And once you have the infrastructure, you can use it to connect SMEs.”
the long read
Meanwhile, says Eastwood, Japan and parts of Sweden and Denmark can also point to efficient broadband. In addition, in cities such as Helsinki, local councils own some infrastructure, which allows them to set up their own fibre links that operators can rent, says Evans. A similar idea is being mooted in the UK. According to the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee: “Many councils and housing associations own ducts and fibre for connectivity, CCTV and other networks. If these were opened up to third-party providers it could transform the digital connectivity for citizens and businesses and generate very useful revenue to fund hard-pressed public services.” Some local authorities are already going down this route; Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council, for example, has opened up its fibre network to a concession agreement. This gives commercial providers access to existing duct and fibre networks, reducing cost and disruption. At the same time, the local authority gains revenue and helps get high-speed digital connectivity to more local people. However, London is hard to compare with other capital cities because of the number of variables involved, says Andrew Ferguson, Editor
“G.fast is an emerging technology capable of speeds in excess of 1Gbps”
brexit life after
speedy take-up for SMEs According to Ofcom’s “Connected Nations” report, overall broadband take-up grew from 73 per cent to 78 per cent in the 12 months leading up to December 2015. Superfast broadband offering download speeds of 30Mbps or more is now available to around 24 million, or 83 per cent, of UK premises, up from 75 per cent in 2014, the report found. This type of broadband has been taken up by almost eight million, or 27 per cent of all premises in the UK, up from 21 per cent in 2014. As a result, the average download speed is now 28Mbps, up from 23Mbps in 2014, an increase of 22 per cent. Ofcom estimates that by 2017, when 95 per cent of all UK premises are supposed to have superfast broadband, around 18 per cent of SMEs will be without it. The regulator notes that some SMEs may have access to alternative sources of connectivity, such as shared facilities within incubator centres. Yet many consumers and businesses have not seen improvements to connectivity. Around 2.4 million, or eight per cent, of premises in the UK are connected by lines that are unable to receive broadband speeds above 10Mbps. At the same time, superfast coverage for SMEs has increased to around 68 per cent of premises, up from 56 per cent in 2014. Even so, SMEs still experience poorer broadband coverage compared to consumers as whole. In addition, over 400,000 SMEs lack any access to superfast broadband. Slow broadband is a “significant problem” for many smaller businesses across the UK, Ofcom says.
“Many consumers and businesses have not seen improvements to connectivity” 64
Britain’s departure from the EU is imminent. How will severing our ties with Europe affect London’s network connectivity? Experts seem to agree that the impact of Brexit, at least at present, will be fairly small. However, there are some implications for the capital’s connectivity. For example, the EU and the UK have different definitions of “superfast” – 30Mbps and 24Mbps respectively. In addition, government-funded rollout schemes previously had to be approved by the EU, according to Craig Melson of the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK). This means there could be a positive side to Brexit, he says. “Decisions such as future government investment will be quicker as you won’t have to go to Brussels.” But on the other hand, Ken Eastwood, director of Digital Nomads, suggests Brexit could also impact how attractive it is to invest in the UK. “Increasingly, broadband is
important to business. If you want to compete, you need the tools to be able to do it. People think broadband is a media business – but it’s important to many industries. “Competing within Europe or globally, you need to make the best use of technology. If you can’t get online or it’s a bad experience, it would be a consideration.” In truth, only time will tell the impact on London’s connectivity problem. Matthew Evans, CEO of The Broadband Stakeholder Group, says: “I don’t think, to be frank, we know what the impact will be yet. The telecoms market is governed by regulatory framework from the EU so the toolkit Ofcom uses is derived from a European level. It will be interesting as negotiations progress, but I think it’s too early to tell.”
“Decisions such as future government investment will be quicker, as you won’t have to go to Brussels” 26th: London’s ranking for broadband speeds in a survey of 35 major European cities Source: Nesta’s European Digital City Index 2015
connecting you faster When it comes to Wi-Fi, Workspace is officially top of the league: Metal Box Factory has recently been given Platinum status – the highest award possible – by WiredScore, the independent digital infrastructure assessment scheme. “The circuit in Metal Box Factory is 10Gbps,” says Mark Murphy, CTO of Workspace’s connected services provider Excell, “which means upload and download speeds of 120Mbps to each and every device. There are only four other buildings in London that fast.” All Workspace buildings have FTTP (fibre to the premises). “We’d never use copper wire into the building, it’s not fast enough,” explains Mark, “plus, we don’t use just one
cable, we use two, for strength and resilience; one goes north to south across our network, and the other runs east to west. We connect one building to another building, so each is the other’s backup.” The fact that Excell owns its own network gives the company far greater control over Wi-Fi speeds, as well as maintenance and security. As Mark says: “What we do isn’t ‘broadband’ – it’s wider than that. It’s ‘direct fibre connectivity’, plugged into our own ‘dark fibre’ network. What that means is that we’re in charge of it, and if anything goes wrong we’re not beholden to anyone else. We can fix it ourselves.”
1993 Introduction of the World Wide Web. The top dial-up internet access speed is around 56Kbps – one-twentieth of the slowest broadband speed recognised today. 1999 A wireless technology called 802.11b, more commonly known as Wi-Fi, is standardised, allowing a maximum data transmission rate of 2Mbps. 2000 Telewest launches ADSL – asymmetric digital subscriber line – in the UK. Max speed is 512Kbps.
“The problem isn’t about lack of investment in fibre, it’s how we access it” at thinkbroadband.com. He explains: “London as an area is much larger than other EU capitals that fare better speed-wise. Our love of low-rise and suburban living makes fibre to the building harder to deploy compared to some capitals.” Therefore, says Matthew Evans, the problem in London isn’t about lack of investment in fibre: “It’s how we access it that’s an issue.” He explains: “Many problems are centred around the last metre: getting connectivity from the pipe into the building. That’s why we have seen a focus among councils on the standard Wayleave contract – the agreement between the building owner and operator.” Wayleave contracts are a major barrier to broadband connectivity, says ISPA’s Craig Melson. “To get your fibre across the road, through the courtyard and into a building you may need to seek permission from several people,” he says, “and they might all have different requirements.” Mayor Sadiq Khan is therefore looking to simplify this. Rather than having to go to numerous parties and jump through several hoops, there will be one Wayleave contract with standard terms and costs. Taking this into account, there is no need for technical innovations: the technology to take London from 94 per cent coverage at 30Mbps to 100 per cent already exists, says thinkbroadband’s Andrew Ferguson. The barrier now is “just the willingness to spend money to get there”, he says. With this in mind, what will the broadband
the long read
landscape look like in London? With Brexit imminent (see box, left), investment could be cut – although this looks unlikely given the promises made by Sadiq Khan.
A brighter future Experts agree that speeds will improve over time, and connectivity will be enabled by a mix of technologies. According to Melson, fibre is the future, while in central London the gaps will be covered using 4G mobile services. Evans agrees the future will be a mix of technologies: “We have good 4G connectivity across London and we will take advantage of nextgeneration 5G when it comes along.” Evans predicts a near-future mix of Wi-Fi, 4GLTE and 5G technology. However, he cautions: “We will need to integrate more fibre into the network – we will also need more infrastructure such as [access nodes called] small cells.” Speed and ubiquity could be better, so poor broadband continues to affect London’s smaller firms. It is clear much of the problem is based on complexity – but the myriad projects from government and industry are at least partially relieving the pressure. As a result, the future looks fairly positive: despite the issues, London will continue to be a hub for startups and growing businesses. However, those involved need to ensure projects are rolled out quickly to avoid the UK’s capital being left behind the rest of the world. n
2001 Only nine per cent of UK households have broadband, compared with 39 per cent in Germany. 2002 Non-BT telecoms companies are granted permission to use connections from the telephone exchange to customers’ premises, known as “local loop unbundling”. 2003 Nearly half of UK homes (47 per cent) have internet access. Of those online, 15 per cent use broadband. 2004 Apple launches its iTunes music store in the UK; students in the US start using Facebook; Flickr is born. 2005 The introduction of two Megabit broadband. YouTube launches. 2006 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) starts using broadband penetration as one of its indicators of a nation’s development. 2008 Launch of Spotify. Virgin Media introduces 50Mbps broadband in the UK. 2009: Fifty per cent of UK households are connected to broadband. 2011 At the SuperComputing Conference, scientists set a record for internet speed by transferring data at 186 gigabytes per second. 2012 Launch of the UK’s first 4G network. 2015 Superfast broadband reaches 82 per cent of UK premises. UK take-up of superfast is three times that of France, and 80 per cent higher than Germany.
HomeWork, issue #2, Autumn/Winter 2016 Editor/Features writer Tessa Clayton Art etc Dom Salmon Contributing editor Fleur Macdonald Original photography/Cover illustration Dom Salmon Sub-editor Vanessa Harriss Publisher/Advertising Dan Reeves, email@example.com HomeWork is published by TRUE 212; true212.com The magazine is printed by Alban House Print, 105 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BU At the time of print every effort was made to ensure the information contained in the magazine was correct.
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