One of the perils of being a freelancer is finding the perfect workplace. Your home is nice and cosy, but it can get pretty lonely. The café or pub is friendly and crowded, but you can’t always afford eating out or having a cuppa. Plus, things may get hella distracting if you end up developing a crush on the barista – as you do.
Enter co-working spaces: the ultimate solution. A home office away from home… office. The opportunity to be your own boss and still have water-cooler moments with someone besides your cat, your mum on the phone and your sorry old self. There’s freedom, plenty of room, networking and friendship possibilities, coffee, tea, Internet, and the perfect excuse to leave your house and enjoy some well-needed fresh air like your 9-to-5 buddies do when they go to their company jobs.
Incubate Leicester is all about this and much, much more. I had the opportunity to visit them a couple of Wednesdays ago, as they hosted the latest Leicester Tech Startups Open Coffee. Albeit I was too late for the meeting, I still had a few projects to finish, so I stayed the whole afternoon.
The building is pretty centric, right on Granby street, about a couple of blocks away from the railway station and the Post Office. It has several floors with plenty of desks and rooms for individual and collective startups. The walls are covered in fresh and colourful doodles, sprayed by a group of street artists in one single afternoon. They still needed to finish some details, but the place was pretty alive already.
The founders are Dr Constantina Katsari-Muston and Harun Master, two of Leicester’s most dedicated and vibrant entrepreneurs – although Constantina is from Greece and Harun is from Bolton, but this diversity is one of the things that make our city so unique.
Constantina and Harun are not only letting us stay at their place to work, but are willing to help us work so much better and reach all our goals. Along with office space, they are offering business support to young web-based startups in the Midlands. You will get access to exclusive workshops, special events, software products, access to funding, and the opportunity to get mentorship from the greatest minds in and out of the region.
Another great – and mysterious service is the acceleration programme. They have been very secretive about it online, but all we know is that it’s a six-month part-time scheme that will prepare aspiring entrepreneurs get quick and solid results.
So, what if you are just like me and you can’t guarantee you will drop by every single day and you are just looking for somewhere to work and hang out near the city centre once every week or two? Well, you can! Just arrive, pay a tenner and you’re sorted for the day. And what if you’re just looking for an address on LE1 where you can receive your mail – and even get it redelivered to your home address? You got it here too.
Incubate Leicester is officially opening this month, and the Accelerator programme will start recruiting new members in June. Also, on the 27th of June, they will be hosting the second edition of Startdom Weekend, where you will get all the help you’ll need – and more – to get your startup up and running.
For more information, latest news and the full address, visit Incubate Leicester’s official website.