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SMEs focus on collaboration to boost entrepreneurship

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The vast majority of small company owners in the UK believe that collaborative work environments, where many firms co-locate, are better for business than traditional leased premises.

The 2,600-strong poll, published by flexible workspace provider Regus ahead of Global Entrepreneurship Week, shows that small firms report that collaborative workplaces provide better value for money (91 per cent), help them scale their businesses rapidly (82 per cent) and create valuable business connections (75 per cent). Three-fifths believe co-location inspires entrepreneurial thinking (61 per cent) and innovation (60 per cent).

“Deciding where to work is a fundamental question facing every small business. The ideal workplace should enable each member of the workforce to get their job done in the most productive way possible, working where, when and how it suits them,” says Richard Morris, UK CEO at Regus comments. “Fortunately, today’s business owners have a multitude of practical options available to them, in stark contrast to previous generations.”

Start-ups in particular are, of course, reaping the benefits of collaboration as a more practical alternative to the traditional option of working from home.

One such business is Concrete Consulting. After ten years working for blue-chip employers, North London’s Hari Prakash set up his own recruitment consultancy last year, Concrete Consulting, specialising in corporate facilities management.

“As a start-up, my primary concern was to keep costs down while maintaining a professional image, so that immediately ruled out working from home,” he explains. 

Instead, he chose to base his business in a collaborative workspace in London, paying for a permanent desk in a shared, open-plan environment with other SMEs. 

“Co-locating with other businesses is an increasingly popular solution and our research highlights that cost reduction and scalability are the primary drivers, but the secondary benefits are proving equally compelling,” adds Morris. “This corroborates our own customer feedback – that that working under the same roof (or even in the same office) as other firms breeds dynamism, entrepreneurship and valuable opportunities to learn from others.”

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