Tauranga's Venture Centre is launching a New Zealand first event in the coworking space, the CoWork Hui, on 29-30 October.
Organisers say there has been a growth in the number of coworking spaces in the Bay of Plenty, driven in part by increased numbers of new arrivals turning their back on corporate life to strike out on their own.
There were now at least nine cowork spaces in the sub-region, including eight in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty and one in Rotorua, with another new one expected to launch soon in Rotorua.
"Coworking has become an important component of a connected and collaborative business landscape in towns and cities across New Zealand," said Venture Centre's Pascale Hyboud-Peron.
The objective of the CoWork Hui was to create an opportunity to understand the coworking needs of freelancers, remote workers, small and medium-sized business owners, start-up founders and their teams, said Venture Centre's Steven Vincent. Venture Centre owns cowork space Basestation, which would host the event.
"Our aim is to discover community solutions to co-work challenges, leverage the competitive advantages these spaces provide to their business communities, and explore the potential of closer networking to support each other," he said.
Cowork space organisers from Westport to Whangarei had already signed up for the event, which was supported by Priority One. Bay of Plenty MP Todd Mueller and Callaghan Innovation start-up manager Elena Higgison are among the guests who had confirmed they will take part.
"This will be a fantastic opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge with other like-minded people, and to explore how the coworking global movement can better support the next generation of businesses and innovation for the regions," said Kayla Tattley, community activator for Whangarei's recently formed The Orchard Work and Event Hub.
The Venture Centre's Jo Allum said Priority One's support allowed the event to be run at almost no cost to participants.
"It's great Priority One has recognised the key role these community spaces and their leaders play in doing hands-on, grass roots entrepreneurial ecosystem development work required for entrepreneurs to flourish," said Ms Allum.
"Often these cowork leaders have taken all the commercial risk on spaces to support their community and are working hard to make a financial return to go alongside the social capital and community-building returns they enjoy."
Susanne Irwin, community manager for Priority One-supported Ignition, said there were a raft of reasons interest in coworking was growing, including the increase in population in Tauranga and Rotorua.
"We are finding so many people coming from Auckland that turn their backs on the big corporates and go off on their own," she said.
"They find coworking spaces very suitable to start their businesses and get their feet on the ground in a new environment. They need connections, and coworking spaces are ideal for that."
Bay of Plenty Coworking spaces include:
• 64 Bit
• The Incubator
• The Junction