Partners involved in: Pacificstream

In building the dedicated AYCH creative business hub it was important that we built it next to the coffee shop. I have spoken elsewhere about the example in Aarhus Denmark where a creative quarter was established around a coffee shop (selling the best coffee in town).

Going back to 17th century London, the intellectual discourse was in coffee shops, albeit a male orientated one.

Platform, our AYCH creative hub was designed to be a drop-in centre where people could come along and feel easy about working in there for half an hour, half a day, a couple of days, as was needed. This is very much the way in which people use coffee shops by drinking coffee with their laptops. 

Having a large glass door between the coffee shop and Platform hopefully encouraged young creatives not to see the join between the two venues and feel they could pick up a coffee and walking in for advice or somewhere to work and somewhere to meet people in a more business-like environment but still having that similar ambiance to the coffee shop. The incubator hub we created didn’t look like an office or a traditional design studio. For example we had bespoke furniture designed and made by a local company that was in keeping with the kind of atmosphere we wanted to create. 

Our networking evenings were held between the coffee shop and Platform further encouraging people not to see the division between the two and encouraging them to work between the two places. Having an anchor tenant based in Platform ensured that there was a working buzz but they also acted as a resource by having experienced designers that would act in an advisory capacity for start-up creatives. 

People coming into Platform had advice available from practising creatives, had advice from people like ourselves who have been business advisors in the creative industries for many years, somewhere to sit and discuss things with their colleagues or people they were inviting in for business meetings. They could also work at one of the workstations available to them. Hopefully by coming into Platform they will also see themselves as part of the Liverpool Baltic creative quarter, sitting with other creative people around them and meeting people involved within the creative industries. This helped to extend their own networks with many of the people that were our advisors and experts, ones we have used to support young businesses over the years.

Encouraging this way of working is looking towards the future of one of the ways we will work, preparing creatives to be flexible in their approach by not necessarily having a physical base but being able to have a mix of working within a creative quarter, working from a home base and working wherever they need to.

The support desk will be established around this model but will be based in our other incubator Basecamp Liverpool.

Written by Roy Jones, AYCH project coordinator at Pacificstream