The coworking space has hosted almost 50 unique startup businesses over the past year. People have used the Foundry as a permanent base, a weekend office and as a temporary home for businesses who are waiting on fully serviced office space. The flexible, rolling contract ensures no one is trapped into a direct debit they can’t break from and as an incubation space we encourage our coworkers to strive for a private office as their business grows. The brand has attracted both young tech entrepreneurs and established self-employed businesses.
We solve a real problem of people working alone in providing a support network and quality business service. As one of the first true coworking spaces in Northern Ireland, and seeing more and more spaces enter development every day, we are confident we are at the forefront of what is soon to be as big a business here as it is in the rest of Europe. But more importantly, we care about our foundry members. We want to see their businesses grow and aim to help them reach their goals in any way we can.
The Foundry has allowed East Belfast Enterprise to reposition itself as a modern, entrepreneurial centre which is actively engaging with the needs of the local business community. As a coworking space, The Foundry bridges the previous gap between pre-start program participants and private office tenants. The inexpensive and flexible workspace to house these early stage start-ups, providing a professional environment that has seen their businesses grow exponentially due to the supportive community and added value of business services the centre offers them.
The Foundry brand has also given us an opportunity to reengage past program participants. We set up a fortnightly workshop schedule, and have attracted almost 200 unique people to these sessions. Both past clients and new people alike have attended, allowing us to reengage and broaden our reach in the local community. These events cover everything from tax to wellbeing for entrepreneurs, and more recently lifestyle based classes such as yoga.
The benefits of this is that the pro-bono speaker gets the opportunity to promote their services, the attendees get to network and learn from an expert and the centre benefits from a wide audience regularly coming into the centre, building a network of local businesses.
The Foundry initiative has reinvigorated East Belfast Enterprise both for our clients in providing them a user centric commodity, and has acted as a gateway for new and past clients who would otherwise have had no use for our services or thought that there was nothing we could offer them. As an enterprise centre our mission statement is to be at the forefront of business development in the local area and The Foundry has certainly helped us achieve this goal.