Hub has room for creatives

Miriam White and Sharon Albrechtsen have set up a new bussiness called Creative Focus in an empty WITT block.
Miriam White and Sharon Albrechtsen have set up a new bussiness called Creative Focus in an empty WITT block.

An incubation hub for creative Taranaki start-ups has launched in a previously vacant Witt classroom block.

Creative Focus, which launched last week, is a centre for creative businesses to start up and get any development support they may need.

It is also a space for established small creative businesses or therapeutic businesses to rent.

Located in the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki C Block, Creative Focus already has seven business owners signed up to use the 400 square metre space.

And there's plenty of room for more, says Creative Focus director Miriam White.

While the space was intended for creative businesses or therapeutic small businesses, it was open to anyone, she said.

"We'll pretty much consider anything," White said.

Weekly rent of $120 gives a business office space, meeting rooms, power, wi-fi internet, phone connection, an office manager, receptionist services, and cleaning.

The centre also includes a copier, scanner and photography equipment.

White said business incubators helped nurture young businesses during the start-up period when they were most vulnerable.

"Having your business incubated really raises your chances of success, but it doesn't guarantee it."

The Creative Focus incubator provides management assistance and financing advice with business manager and mentor Sharon Albrechtsen offering support and guidance where needed.

"People who go into creative things tend not to have a business side," White said.

The benefits of an incubation hub included keeping overheads down, inter-business co-operation, and idea generation, she said.

"Our first emphasis is on creating, our second emphasis is community in a business sense."

The space included three large rooms which could fit "cluster businesses" such as a design team or a fitness collective, she said.

Creative Focus has a five-year lease on the premises, she said.

White said many of Witt's tutors had expressed interest in working with the hub.

"It's absolutely fantastic having the link with Witt - better than I imagined.

"We want this to be a place where our clients can come in and relax and feel good."

The Creative Focus office manager takes care of bookings, filing, invoicing, book-keeping and keeping things in check with the Inland Revenue Department.

White said many of the business owners already signed up had been operating out of various locations and running creative workshops for a very long time.

Paying rent for a private business space could be expensive and working alone isolating, she said.

SIGNED UP Businesses signed up to Creative Focus:

Quirky Ltd - creative workshops

Manali Henna - henna body art and supplies

Jenny's Sewing School

Richard Grevers' Dramatic Design - websites

Lyndal Henry's DaySTAR Occupational Therapy

Victoria Perkins' Little Bird Management - event, administration and project management

Joe Smither Music School - tuition and holiday programmes

Taranaki Daily News