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

Coworking Space Community in Southsea

Business support to help your company grow

We started our business support programme in September 2014 and have run over 100 one-to-ones, workshops, networking events and conferences for start-ups and small companies. Since January 2016 we’ve had over 700 different people register to attend our events. We’re committed to continuing these and providing startups/small businesses somewhere to go in Portsmouth where they can get the support they need to run their business.


We know it’s tough to start your own business. Being expected to know everything about everything puts enormous pressure on business owners. We do what we do because we want to help people. Help those who have an idea or a hobby that they want to turn into a dream in becoming a reality. Our events are a proven way to help you do that.


How do people find out about our events?

Most people who sign up to our events hear about them through our newsletter which you can sign up to by going to the Contact Us page and submitting a request. You can also keep an eye on our Business Support pages or Eventbrite Page to see when we add new events to our calendar. We’re just planning our new series now, so be sure to keep checking back.


How do people rate our events and the presenters?

Making sure that our events are of a good quality with presenters who engage attendees is vital. We’ve worked hard to make sure that businesses get access to the right content, delivered by the right person. Our events are rated as Good and Excellent over 85% of the time, with our presenters scoring 88% in the same categories. We think we’re doing something right!


Are businesses getting the right information at our events?

As much as it’s about the quality of the event (venue, display, comfort, communication etc) and the presenter, it’s about the information businesses leave with that we’re interested in. 90% told us that they received the information their business needed by attending one of our sessions and 80% that it was pitched at just the right level. We recognise the old saying ‘you can keep some of the people happy all of the time…’ probably rings true, but 4 out of 5 isn’t bad!


But would they recommend us to others?

This is the biggest victory for us. Despite everything else suggesting a positive result, we believe in getting a direct answer. And direct we got. 97% of attendees would recommend our event to other startups and small businesses.
This makes us incredibly proud and doesn’t even start to express our gratitude for the presenters who take time out of their day to come and help teach new businesses the skills they need that can make a positive impact on their venture.
If you’re a small business, don’t just believe us when we say that we can help, believe the hundreds of people who have attended before and had a positive experience.


What else do people say?

“Myself and my partner were very impressed with the information we received during the event. Not only did we learn a lot from it, we are also going to enlist the services of the presenter to help with our business. All in all a great event. Keep up the good work!”
Jason Meads, Creative Element
“Thank you so much for organising another useful event. It is such a great help to listen to experienced entrepreneurs share their best practices and tips. It also gives one more confidence knowing that other people have gone the same route and they have succeeded.“
Natalia Michalska, Meehalska
“I liked the short concise information, it was a good over view of what we needed to consider when we recruit staff etc. Very useful!”
Graeme Robertson
Innovation Space Co-Working

Seven reasons why co-working space is a better option than running your business from home

When you’re first starting your business, keeping outgoing costs down is vital. Working from home can have its advantages, but it might also be a hindrance to the growth of your company. Sometimes moving into co-working spaces can help you be more efficient and make money, quicker. Here’s our thoughts on why:


  1. Getting up and getting out of the house

There’s a lot to be said for human behaviour and being creatures of habit. Including the washing up, vacuuming and watching Jeremy Kyle/Homes Under the Hammer (you know who you are!) around making phone calls, answering e-mails and placing orders, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the most efficient you can be. Getting in to co-working space can give you the mindset you need to concentrate on your business.


Moving to co-working space can help you be more effective with fewer distractions around you. Even if it’s only a case of going in for the time you need to, which might just be a few hours a day, you’ll get your work done quicker and have the time you need to focus.

  1. Meet new people, network and gain clients

As the saying goes “People do business with people” and in a co-working environment you’re maximizing your chance to do business. From day one you will be in and around new people, accessing new networks and the chance to offer your services to a previously untapped market.


Open-plan working is different from what you might be used to, and it’s not necessarily suitable for everyone, but if you’re looking to escape the monotony of talking to the dog (or yelling at inanimate objects) people are there to listen, help, and have a laugh with.

  1. Get all your facilities (and costs) in one place

Gas, electric, water, internet, printing, phone line, meeting room hire, tea, coffee, biscuits etc. A lot of the extra costs associated with working from home can be combined in co-working space fees. This makes it a lot easier to track how much you’re paying compared to a series of individual bills.


There’s no getting around the fact that co-working spaces incur a cost but you might be surprised at how little it can be and what else you can get access to. When you factor in all the services that are on offer, it might be that you’re better off making the investment and you start saving money.

  1. Develop ideas, get feedback and launch new products/services

One of the best things about co-working space is the opportunity to get practical feedback on new ideas, products and services. Working with business owners, who look at things objectively, you’ll soon hear if you are spending too much time on something that isn’t worth it.


Alternatively, if the feedback you get from those around you is positive, you have the first users to test your product. Getting feedback that helps develop your offering to market-readiness shows that you have something tangible. Your first clients and testimonials are there waiting to be snapped up.

  1. Collaborate and skills swap

Serendipity is one of the best ways to start a collaboration. You will have knowledge and skills that others will be interested in. They will have skills and knowledge you might need to develop something new. Venturing into a co-working space could be the key to starting something exciting.


When it’s not always possible to collaborate, it might be that there’s still a deal to be done. A lot of businesses are now using skills swap to barter for products/services. If you’re just starting out as an accountant and you meet someone just setting up a marketing company, there’s almost certainly something to be done that can help both parties.

  1. Access to events that can help your business grow

It’s not uncommon for co-working spaces to run events, seminars and workshops that can help develop your knowledge and skills in particular topics. Finding spaces that offer these, at no extra cost, can be invaluable to your business.


When you’re first starting out you are expected to be an expert in nearly all areas of your business. Attending free events that give you new expertise around marketing, sales, social media etc., can be a cost effective way of not having to pay other people to do it for you.

  1. Get the support and inspiration running your own business needs

Running a business is hard work. Family and friends will always support you but, unless they know the stress associated with going it alone, they may not always understand the pain you’re going through.


Working with like-minded business owners gives you connections to the kind of empathy and support that you need. There’s also a great opportunity to access a much under-valued resource in peer-to-peer learning. Having the opportunity to hear other people’s successes and failures could help you be more resilient and learn quicker.

This piece of shameless self-promotion was bought to you by Innovation Space.


If you would like to book a tour or join Innovation Space, click here.