Innovation Connect: The Benefits of Connecting with us

Did you know, when you become a member of Innovation Connect you are automatically signed up to a range of benefits and discounts? This is something that Innovation Connect Director, Chris Worrall, was very excited to find out about.

NUS (now TOTUM) Card

Upon receiving his NUS (now TOTUM) card, Chris was delighted to find that he received not only 10% off his lunchtime shop at Co-op but also discounts on eating out (including Pizza Express and Zizi), socialising and even travel essentials such as airport parking.

University Library

Chris also found that he had unlimited access to the University library which is open 24/7 during term time. All Innovation Connect members will be issued with a card to use for access to buildings and this also allows access to free transport around the city on the University of Portsmouth’s bus service.

Tea and Coffee

There is free tea and coffee available in the Innovation Connect buildings as well as a coffee club where you earn points with each hot drink purchase in a University of Portsmouth Café, which will eventually lead to a free drink.

Gym Membership

To counteract this lunching and lack of movement, Chris was pleased to discover that he is also entitled to discounted rates at the University of Portsmouth’s gym, including membership from as little as £13.99 per month.

Business Startup

Starting up a business requires support and guidance through each step, especially if this is a completely new venture. Innovation Connect membership gives you access to a range of support and introductory guidance, such as a registered business address, free use of meeting rooms, opportunities to promote your business via a range of channels including a feature in the Innovation Connect Newsletter, speaking at business events and promoting your business through other local businesses.

Business Base

Basing your business at Innovation Connect puts you in close proximity to other like-minded individuals and groups who may be able to assist you with your business needs and may also provide you with business opportunities to assist them with theirs.

Why Coworking increases the development of your business

As a new blogger, I would like to say hello and introduce myself; I started my career as a Graphic Design and French Language teacher, and followed my passion for Marketing and Social Media while keeping in touch with the design world. My moto is that you never stop learning. Especially within the fast pace growing of the digital world (which in 10 years’ time, my son will probably be laughing at!)

I believe that Coworking and shared office space is a big plus for the development of your business.

For many of us, the distractions of working at home and in a coffee shop is not ideal for work.  I recently started working at Innovation space and the atmosphere is very relaxed with a pleasant environment.

Surrounded with like-minded people who want to succeed in their business and help others to do so, you can feel a genuine sense of community in the modern open plan office spaces.

It is great working in an environment where people possess transferable skills just like myself. Also there is a culture where it is the norm to help each other out, and there are many opportunities to do so; the variety of workers in the space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members.

I wanted to share what makes coworking spaces – defined as membership-based work spaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting – so effective.

To find out, we asked Team Locals to interview a member from Forge Special Projects where Davy explains the clear benefits of working at Innovation Space; such as Home/work life balance, networking and much more..

People who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful. Aside from the type of work they’re doing – freelancers choosing projects they care about, for example — the members we talked to said they enjoy coming to work with a sense of belonging. They’re able to do this in a few ways.

First, unlike a traditional office, co working spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies and projects. Because there is little direct competition , they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger.

On an interesting note socializing isn’t compulsory. Members can choose when and how to interact with others. They are more likely to enjoy discussions over coffee in a café and when they want to work alone elsewhere in the building, they are able to do so. Finally, I would say that co working spaces can generate new ideas whether you are from a graphic designer, management consultant, marketing agency or educational business.



News from Innovation Space

The clocks have changed and depressingly it’s dark by 5pm. However, that’s not the only change at Innovation Space in recent weeks. We’ve sadly had to say goodbye to our Innovation Space Manager – Andy Mew, who has run away to the other side of the world and moved to New Zealand. We of course wish him the best of luck with his new adventure and know all members and staff will miss him.

Filling Andy’s shoes is the new Interim Manager of Innovation Space, Sohaila Hosseini. Many of you will know Sohaila from her three years working as Innovation Space Officer, she is now very excited to be stepping up to work with all of our partners in Innovation Space.


Sohaila’s change of role has left us with yet another gap, so to work alongside the team we’ve welcomed Tasleem Bungshy to the team. Tas has a masters in digital marketing and previously worked for Student Housing, so she knows the university and the business world very well and has already brought new ideas to our little family.



We have also recently made some changes to make Innovation Space a little more welcoming.. We’ve introduced our new members library on the third floor, next to the comfy seats, for all those bookworms who want to take a break during the working day

Innovation Space Portsmouth books for entrepreneurs

Our new phone/Skype room has also been set up, perfectly formed for last minute meetings and a fantastic use of space for small businesses and their operational needs. This was a fab suggestion by our wonderful members so thank you all those who raised it as an idea.

Innovation Space skype room for small businesses

Innovation Space celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

On Tuesday we celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week by attending and exhibiting at the BIG Networking Night ran by Amy Doyle of the University of Portsmouth.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a week-long celebration of start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs. Every year, during one week in November, GEW inspires people everywhere through a range of local and global activities to explore the idea of self-starting. A range of events have been running this week in Portsmouth and the BIG Networking Night was a true celebration of both entrepreneurship and collaboration.

Doors opened to start the celebration at Portsmouth Business School. Sarah Duckering, Director of Research and Innovation Services within the University of Portsmouth, opened the evening and introduced the evenings guest speaker – Rachel Lowe, MBE. Sarah spoke about the Universities commitment to “being a proud part of Portsmouth and our region, working in partnership to support and influence the economic, educational and cultural life of the City”. In keeping with the spirit of entrepreneurship she spoke of the four Innovation Centres located within the city that encourage and provide working environments for a range of individuals and businesses.

We then heard an inspiring talk from Rachel Lowe about her roller-coaster journey through entrepreneurship. Rachel’s talk was titled “Never give up…nothing is impossible” and she clearly demonstrated some of the obstacles she has overcome within business, through detailing to the audience her journey which started as a taxi driver around Portsmouth, led to creating a board game called Destination which was launched in Hamley’s toy store and became their top selling game! She then in her own words “lost it all” during the financial crisis in 2008 and Rachel went into great depth about her personal journey about how she overcame this and shared a fascinating story of courage and determination to ultimately succeed.

The evening concluded with refreshments and networking, over 100 people attended and many new business connections made. There was a great buzz within the Business School and many people stayed right until the end!

We had a lot of interest on our Innovation Space stand and as always, it was brilliant to meet lots of new people as well to see and catch up with lots of familiar faces!

A wonderful evening and celebration had by all.



Written by Sohaila Hosseini

Changing from personal to business use of social media

Before I started working at Innovation Space, the only time I ever used social media was for personal reasons – keeping in touch with friends, catching up with family and organising my social calendar. Over the last 12 months I have been on a journey of discovery, which hasn’t always been easy!

For me the biggest challenge, was how to write a post on any social media platform that people would actually want to read. I have spent hours writing various content before sending them, tweaking and amending to try and make it sound better. What I have learnt is to just be myself and not worry about how it sounds. So my new tactic is to be me and not be scared of it.

I have found social media can be very time intensive so having a marketing plan in place to fall back on is also important for getting a consistent message out to the world. Before working on my own marketing plan I had fallen into the trap of being consumed by social media and I’ve learnt it’s ok to take a step back.

I found that a system like Hootsuite has been a huge help to me. I have used the analytical tools on our various social media sites to see when people are most likely to see and engage with our posts. By using a system like Hootsuite I can schedule Facebook and Twitter posts to engage with a bigger audience and make sure I take advantage of all of this information.

There have been times when I have been scrolling through Twitter and I’ve been tempted to retweet everything just to gain more followers (I should add I keep a running total of the number of followers, I’m more than a little obsessed!)  However I have learnt very quickly it was more important to post about things which are relevant to our audience as people will just unfollow you if your content isn’t relevant

What I have learnt from Twitter, is that it’s very much about the here and now, so it’s essential to keep posts topical and varied.With Facebook, be careful which Portsmouth you select when running a campaign – turns out there is one in Yorkshire, not the best use of your advertising budget. People love images, videos and other visual content so make sure as many of your posts include these.

Social media can be very powerful and when managed in the right way can have a massive impact for a business. The biggest thing to bear in mind is to know when to ask for help – friends, family, co-workers, managers and even customers can give a different perspective and make your posts authentic and relevant.

So here are my top tips:

  1. Be yourself and use your own voice to communicate
  2. Take a step back and write a marketing plan
  3. Post relevant and easy to understand content
  4. Use visual cues to present the topic you’re promoting
  5. Ask for help from professionals if you need it

This article from Business News Daily talks about social media for businesses and has been a really useful guide to getting me started on this journey.

I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’ve come a long way and hope that I’ll continue to get better as time goes on!

 Written by Emma Jones

Portsmouth based Office Space

Supporting Creative Businesses in the Solent

New initiative to support the Solent’s creative enterprises

Join Creative Network South and Creative Industry Finance at the University of Portsmouth to celebrate the launch of an exciting new initiative offering free business support and access to finance for creative and cultural enterprises who are looking to scale up and grow.

On the day you can expect to:

  • Find out more about the Creative Network South initiative
  • Meet the Creative Industry Finance team and discover how the initiative can support your business
  • Take a tour of the cutting edge facilities at the Faculty for Creative and Cultural Industries within the University led by their Associate Dean Simon Brookes.
  • Talk and network with Creative Industry Finance business advisors

Event details:

18:00 – Registrations

18:30 – Welcome (Stewart Dunn, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce)

18:35 – Arts Council England (Phil Gibby)

18:40 – TBC

18:50 – Where Creative Industries and Business Meet (Laura Doye, Creative Producer – University of Portsmouth and New Theatre Royal)

19:00 – Introduction to the Creative Industry Finance programme

19:20 – Meet the advisors with networking and the option of a tour of the faculty’s facilities

Refreshments provided throughout

About Creative Industry Finance

Creative Industry Finance is led and managed by Creative United, with funding from Arts Council England. The programme is designed to support creative and cultural businesses across England to become self-sufficient and achieve their ambitions.

Since launching across England in 2014, the programme has supported over 200 creative and cultural enterprises to scale up by delivering free 1-to-1 business advice and finance guidance; so far 20 of these supported business have accessed finance totaling nearly £350,000 from the programme’s Lending Partners.

Find out more at


To register, please click here.

Creative Industry Finance Event Supporting StartUps