Step into the co-working space BPE Development has created on Kingston’s Queen Street and it doesn’t take long to figure out why they named it The Sanctuary. The stone walls and high vaulted ceiling of this former church create a quiet, peaceful environment that’s perfect for any hard-working entrepreneur. This, you think, is a place where you can get things done.It’s like your favourite café – only with a board room, office equipment, a kitchen and, if you want it, a door you can shut on your very own office.
For anyone who is trying to set up a company or get a startup off the ground, co-working spaces can be a great way to go. Being able to rent a small office or even a desk easily and on a relatively short-term basis means you have one less thing to worry about in the early stages of realizing your dream.
Kingston can provide anyone thinking of doing a start-up or moving a business from somewhere else with a number of co-working options. Located a few blocks away from The Sanctuary on Princess Street, Kingston’s main street, The Worx offers individual offices exclusively in its bright and airy second floor space. The Worx’ owner, Phillip Brown, a self-described social entrepreneur, offers spaces affordably priced, with a minimum rental of three months.
Startups with demands that call for more than a desk or an office should check out Innovation Park. Located in Kingston’s mid-town and close to transportation corridors, Innovation Park offers incubation space for fledgling enterprises that are also seeking mentorship and coaching, acceleration programs, and networking and pitch opportunities. Shared space includes open work areas, cubicles, meeting rooms, space for events and networking,and access to on-site cafeteria and fitness facilities. The complex also offers shared lab spaces to technology entrepreneurs who want to build a prototype or need access to a wet lab facility to conduct R&D. Janice Mady, Director, Industry Partnerships & Innovation Park at Queen’s, says the university and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation have recently built relationships with their academic and economic development counterparts in Syracuse, New York, which are helping interested companies gain access to opportunities in the United States.
Another interesting space for startups to get inspired is a 150-year-old heritage building called The Town Hall. Located in Kingston’s historic Portsmouth district, overlooking the Olympic Harbour, this space is a cooperative venture between the City of Kingston and Innovate Kingston, a group of local entrepreneurs dedicated to supporting high-growth startups achieve global success.
Wherever they want to set up in the city, whatever particular help they are looking for, Kingston can offer start-ups in pressing need of space a great co-working opportunity. For some, this might be only a temporary condition – although given the geographic locations and the physical beauty of so many of the city’s co-working spaces, they may find they are in no hurry to leave.