A NEW co-working space has now officially opened in Basingstoke, offering a stylish and fun office and enterprise hub for small businesses and start-ups in the area.

Following the success of the IncuHive business incubator and co-working space in Chandlers Ford, the company has opened its second site at the Top of the Town, in Church Street, thanks to £160,000 worth of financial support from the borough council.

The new space has been transformed offering a range of services including hot desking spaces for people to work, virtual offices with mailboxes, mentoring, networking, training and workshops for local businesses.

The company was launched three years ago by University of Winchester lecturer Steven Northam, and owner of engineering company The Worley Group, Mike Worley.

Both are passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses by supporting them to navigate their way to profitability with as few mistakes and wasting as little time and money as possible.

Mr Northam said: “Far too many start-ups waste too much time and money learning from their mistakes. The fun community we create in our co-working spaces lead to the residents sharing ideas and solutions to problems as well as a collaborative environment to thrive with access to mentors, networking events and training workshops. We have had a number of business who have accelerated their growth since taking up space in our incubator having struggled trying to launch a business without support.”

The new space in Basingstoke with be run by George Scott-Welsh who explained concept: “Basingstoke has a thriving business community looking for different ways to go about launching and running their businesses. With the huge advances in technology, working in a conventional office is no longer the norm. Starting a business can be hugely expensive and there are many barriers to entry. IncuHive offers solutions to the problems start-ups face by helping reduce wastage, loss of time, going off in the wrong direction and the daunting prospect of working on your own.

“Our fun co-working space in the Top of the Town is an excellent place to start whether a business is looking for meeting space, desk rental, access to investment, mentoring or networking, it’s a one-stop-shop for start-ups and small businesses.”

IncuHive in Basingstoke has already signed up half a dozen start-ups in wide ranging industries, from a personal trainer looking to launch his own brand of protein shakes to a subscription children’s shoe business.

Will Bailey from Swapshoe said: “Having worked from home for the last six months trying to launch my business I really needed an environment where I could share my ideas and ensure I am on the right track. Moving into IncuHive will provide me the perfect platform to get access to the right support and more importantly access to investment and a mentor to guide me though the pitfalls of starting a business.

The company has completely transformed the new office space and added in some quirky details to inspire those who come inside, such as a yellow phone box which has come all the way from China to match IncuHive’s distinctive colour, a life-sized cow and a beehive which will be used as a meeting pod.

The borough council is financially supporting IncuHive over a three-year period, with the funding helping the hub become self-financing to ensure long lasting support for enterprise in the borough.

The borough council’s leader Councillor Clive Sanders said: “The new enterprise hub at the Top of the Town demonstrates our commitment to support the development of new businesses and the town centre by bringing back into use this empty council-owned retail unit.”