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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Hi guys! This is going to sound absolutely out there – but here goes something! I am in for advice, not just for funding, but also in regards to how I can best set up a social enterprise. But most importantly, at this stage – I require funding just to get my research and development going. In the heat of Covid-19 (I know terrible timing), I have decided to open a co-working space for artists, social innovators, social entrepreneurs, writers etc for creative development, for artists alike to share knowledge, ideas and skills through workshops, for them to showcase their artwork/work through our exhibit/multi-use spaces. Most importantly, a space for the public to feel comfortable to express themselves safely and freely that isn’t in a bar. I am intending to open this space on the 2nd of September, with a “grand” opening on the 5th with an evening exhibit. I am currently at the stage of research and development and am in need of funding to get the building ready for a co-working space, for me to furnish the place and I guess for me to pay myself while I slowly take myself out of my usual work and also pay others so I can get things done. I currently have a number of mentors helping me out, The Exchange in Christchurch being one of them as they are exactly what I am trying to do, but instead in Wanaka. There is currently such a high demand for co-working artist space in Wanaka that is affordable to artists that are trying to pursue their creativity professionally. My partner and I are one of them, and in the last year or so, we have been lending our dining room table to artists who needed space but we unable to work from home due to their living situation. In Wanaka, due to such high rental prices, a lot of housing situations are shared with a lot of people and shared with people we don’t know too well. So finding creative space within your own home can be a little difficult. My partner and I have just finally found the perfect house to rent out with a room for an office, but we had to sacrifice a lot of money for that spare room to be an office rather than another housemate. We currently share this 8m2 office space with 4 other artists… and let’s just say we are making it work, but it is quite a tight fit. This is the first time I will be establishing anything like this, I have opened a co-op cafe in Melbourne, am currently running a conscious kitchen as well as a reusable cup system with my partner, but nothing as big and collective as I plan this to be. I need help in finding funding, how to apply for funding and also how to structure this as social enterprise. I am currently working on developing a “business” plan as well as implementing a strong social lean canvas in every aspect, but I definitely need help. I have been advised to contact you and am hoping you guys would be able to point me in the right direction. Thank you, Nat

Question submitted 12/07/20 @ 08:44pm
Industry: Social Enterprise (Community, Not-for-Profit, For Profit)
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  • Morena Nat – awesome and thank you for reaching out to Manaaki – I know from personal experience how amazing, and uplifting it can be when you bring people together who are different but also on a similar journey – it is extraordinarily rewarding to do something like this, so all power and aroha to you in this journey.

    Now to your questions, the business model side of things can be very challenging and I don’t have any easy answers or solutions on this – but will share a bit with you from my own experience. You have a couple months or so before launch so there is no doubt much to do!

    Would the prospective landlord give you ‘time’ ie subsidised rent to get up and running and get artists into the space?

    Have you engaged with your local community leaders including Council and Regional Council, to explore if there is funding support and/or looked at groups like Creative New Zealand who might have funding programmes – I am not aware of any, but maybe worth exploring and if not, still asking them for any suggestions they might have.

    Selling the dream – the vision – if you are not finding any funding from these places, have a think about how you can structure your story, your vision and your narrative for the co-working space, and then start talking to people who you think might be able to fund and/or might support it. ARe there super successful artists who might lend their voice, and/or funding – could you use this ‘rep’ to get some profile in the press – my message is ‘tell the story’ widely and hopefully that will bring someone out. This might end up being a different landlord with a space or a bank or a regional council/body – who provides some access to resources and/or fund.

    I am not aware right now of Government funding programmes to support something like what you are doing, so that really requires you to hustle into convincing people to pay you ahead of the curve of artists who will fund the costs – and this last point is important, somehow the members contributions will need to ultimately fund your costs – relying on grants will be good to help you get started, but if they are required forever, that could make the business model super challenging.

    Good luck!

    A great cause.
    Great advice Andy.
    There is bound to be a well known artist living locally to target for some seed funding, particularly if aligned to the cause…
    I’d also talk to your local Community Trust (Central Lakes Trust) and also Lottery Grants… SkyCity Queenstown Casino Community Trust applications close this month… so get one in! Application processes are normally on their websites, but have liaison people you can talk to too.
    They offer grants to community organisations… often they need to be a charitable organisation.
    I would also see if the Community Centre has any space to rent for peppercorn rates, or there may be additional facilities looking for short term tenants given closed borders (apartments etc).
    Good luck

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