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.