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The Factory: A new kind of workspace opens in Cobourg

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

Robert Scozzari of Inspiring Design Company gets set up in The Factory's communal work space Thursday at 600 William St., Cobourg. The new facility, which had its official opening Thursday, was developed through Northumberland County's Business and Entrepreneurship Centre.VALERIE MACDONALD /NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY

Robert Scozzari of Inspiring Design Company gets set up in The Factory's communal work space Thursday at 600 William St., Cobourg. The new facility, which had its official opening Thursday, was developed through Northumberland County's Business and Entrepreneurship Centre.VALERIE MACDONALD /NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY

NORTHUMBERLAND -- A mixed-use, co-working location called "The Factory" opened Thursday with some clients already signed up to use the newly created space at 600 William St., Cobourg.

"We are celebrating this milestone today," Warden Mark Walas told a group of people at the official opening awaiting a peek at the new space.

For just under $68 per year, including tax, an entrepreneur can be a member, able to use the large, open office with internet, plus coffee bar and other amenities.

One of the newest members of The Factory - named because the building was previously part of the former Kraft plant - is Robert Scozzari of Inspiring Design Company of Trent Hills. He told the group he has already used the space for various reasons including a meeting a Cobourg/Port Hope-area client.

The county's economic development director, Dan Borowec, says communal office space like this are a concept that is growing globally.

"It minimizes operating expenses and provides exposure to other professionals," Borowec said.

"As you saw recently, we have converted a section of our 600 William St., Cobourg location to create The Factory: 1,000-plus square feet of indoor/outdoor space dedicated to helping entrepreneurs - particularly work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, and people who may work in relative isolation - connect, grow and prosper," county spokesperson Kate Campbell stated in an e-mail interview.

"This co-working space is based on the newest thinking for workspace design, offering:
 

  • Flexible workspaces: hot desks, meeting areas, planning and idea-generating space, collaboration corners;
  • An enclosed outdoor sun quad;
  • A workshop/training/conference room;
  • High speed internet and WiFi; parking;
  • A coffee bar; and
  • Regular access to programs and services (seminars, coaching, etc.) available through the (on-site) Business & Entrepreneurship Centre."


The communal office can accommodate up to 44 individual and seasonal spaces and there are currently 21 members signed up, Campbell said.

(There are 30 individual spaces and 14 seasonal.)

"Co-working spaces are membership-based workspaces where professionals with diverse employment backgrounds - often independent businesses owners - leverage the resources of a communal office setting; typically a vibrant work space where members have access to amenities beyond those of a typical home office environment," Campbell explained.

"This model minimizes operational costs for members, while exposing them to a network of professionals with whom to share knowledge and ideas to help grow their business."

Some members are expected to use the self-serve facilities on a drop-in basis while others could be there from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday which is when the facility is open.

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