After the sudden and unexpected demise of Vancouver’s Workspace, many people sprung into action. There was discussion at BarCamp, there was a meeting in Chinatown, there are efforts underway to expand the Network Hub or for businesses and organizations to let people use their space on an adhoc basis, all in an effort to offset the loss of Vancouver’s first and most famous coworking space.
So I thought, what about BOB?
It had always been in our plans to make available for use by others our main floor at 163 East Pender, but the brain trust was thinking along the lines of event and meeting space. I proposed making the space also available to coworkers, many of whom were now homeless after the closure of Workspace. After creating a drawing of our space and writing a vision document, we achieved ‘buy in’ internally and set about seeing what the costs would be.
Building Opportunities with Business (BOB) is a non-profit organization that is championing an inclusive revitalization process for the inner-city that values existing businesses and residents. BOB is a connector, a resource and a facilitator working to: strengthen the inner-city’s community capacity; identify and build on untapped business opportunities; improve employment opportunities and retention; and increase investment in Vancouver’s inner-city.
To further our mission we would like to make available to select partners, individuals, and businesses the main floor of 163 East Pender Street. We hope that this open shared work space can contribute to the revitalization of the inner-city by providing a space for creative professionals to flourish, for ideas to peculate, to cross pollinate, for businesses to grow, a place where stuff gets done.
What we’re offering is a work surface, be it a desk, a chair, a table, a couch, or the bay window, wherever you’re most comfortable. Of course we’ll offer wi-fi and other niceties such as an electronic white board and a projector to facilitate discussion and creative thinking. There’s a fridge for your food, a microwave, filtered water cooler, and secure storage for your bike. The room will be decorated with ever changing art from inner-city artists and galleries plus historic Chinatown is just outside the door to provide inspiration.
We’re looking for creative professionals, progressive thinkers, the socially responsible and ecologically conscious who want to be surrounded by others of like mind. Folks who want more than a cubicle and a 9 to 5 and dream of bigger things and a better Vancouver to call home. People who want to support BOB, to see our vision become a reality.
Shared Work Environment
BOB will offer our partners a clean, safe, productive, professional environment in the heart of Chinatown, filled with kindred spirits, and empower them to make an impact.
Individuals, known as associates, will have their own electronic fob to come and go as they please Monday to Friday. BOB staff will make the space available and provide support between 9 and 5. The coworking hours are 9 AM until at least 8 PM on weekdays, subject to the availability of an approved caretaker and not withstanding any exclusive event bookings. Our intention is to provide at least eight consecutive hours of access daily. After 5pm a caretaker will be on hand to ensure a professional and productive environment is maintained and the shared workspace is secured fully at the end of the day. 24 hour access and regular weekend hours are not being offered at this time.
163 East Pender is also a space to hold gatherings, meetings of ten to twenty can take place around the central table, and larger gatherings of over a hundred have also been successful. Inquire at [email protected] to reserve the main floor for your next AGM or networking event.
BOB needs to use the main floor from time to time for our business development seminars, employer breakfasts, and job fairs. Best efforts will be made to schedule these events between 8am-12pm Tuesdays and Thursdays allowing the space to be used Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings by others. Weekend and evening events are also possible and will be examined on a case by case basis.
Enough of the marketing speak, where is this idea at?
We have desks, WiFi, and fobs so people can start working out of [email protected] now if they like. We are charging a flat $200 per month, plus GST of course. Some of the furniture and upgrades to the facilities are not completed, such as tiling in the bathroom. Tilers in Vancouver are busy people it seems. BOB has already had many events and meetings in the space, we’ll be having our Christmas Open House there on December 16th so anyone who wants to see the space or learn more should contact [email protected]. I also set up a special Twitter account just for letting associates know what is going on at the space and am also working on getting Divvy up and running.
Thanks for all the help of the coworking community in getting our space to this state, now all we need is some coworkers, so if you know anyone looking for a cheap but professional place to work out of, send them my way. More pictures of the space as it takes shape available on Flickr.