Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Co.
Whitehill & Bordon Regenaration Company is a joint venture between regeneration specialists the Dorchester Group and property developer Taylor Wimpey. They won the tender to build the new town centre for Bordon in the Prince Philip Park area. At its heart they wanted a building dedicated to local business and independent retail. This building, now known as The Makers Market, will open in early 2020.
I was introduced to James Child and James Gross of W&B back in December 2015 by Emma Jones, director of Enterprise Nation
At that time the ‘other’ Emma was putting in a tender for the operation the Makers Market. At the time, as well as growing the Business Hubs I was working with Emma as her Small Business Champion for Surrey and Hampshire. When Emma explained that she needed a person on the ground in Bordon to oversee the development of the tender and eventually, if we were successful, its operation I was instantly interested. When I met James and James and was made aware of the scope and vision behind the project I was super keen to get involved. Their vision for a bottom up approach to the local economy and a town centre founded on the enterprises of local small business was extremely inspiring. The partnership between Your Business Hub and Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration company was born.
The W&B Regeneration Company have been working with me ever since to develop an engaged and cohesive business community in Bordon. We started the Bordon Business Exchange, a monthly networking meeting at The Royal Exchange in Lindford, back in 2016. In early 2018 we opened our coworking and enterprise centre SiGNAL and shortly afterwards the Bordon Business Hub was launched, providing expert help and peer to peer training for small businesses. W&B funded the renovation of Martinique House and the development of the SiGNAL brand and continue to support Bordon’s small business community through SiGNAL in every way they can.
I first came across Seats2Meet back in 2013 when I was just starting out building my small business hub and someone recommended I read ‘The Serendipity Machine’, which led me to Seats2Meet.
Seats2Meet is a Dutch coworking company who have a strong philosophy based on the value of social capital. Essentially they build business communities through the free sharing of resources – time, space and information. I followed their progress avidly online for years until, through partnership with a Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Co (see above), I had the chance to open a coworking space of my own. I immediately jumped on a train to Utrecht to meet Lenneke and Ronald of Seats2meet and discuss partnering with them.
Seats2Meet started in Utrecht in 2008 and have grown their network to over 200 locations globally over the last ten years. They share their considerable IP freely on the condition that all their locations give at least some of their space to small businesses for free. I love the value that S2M place on sharing – whether space, skill or information. Their approach is very in line with my own thinking. It sends a resounding message to local start-ups and small businesses – this space is genuinely here to support you and help develop your business and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got a penny to your company name yet. At SiGNAL we truly believe that nobody should have to build a business alone. By giving space away for free we can make sure that no one in Bordon has to. This straightforward free space approach makes it as easy as possible for early stage business to succeed. It’s long term thinking that will create value and regenerate the local economy.