Co-working spaces are transforming how we work. Rebecca Maher speaks to Community Manager at SuperPixel Ltd Tara Dalrymple about the new space in Galway City
The number of co-working spaces globally has grown by 36% over the past year, with around 7,800 such spaces currently in operation, including a number in Galway.
Co-working is changing the way we do business, according to Tara Dalrymple, Community Manager at Galway’s new SuperPixel Labs.
“The growth in co-working space is down to the transition that so many people are now working for themselves,” she says. “In America over the next few years it’s anticipated over half of the population will actually be freelancers or self-employed so the whole demographic and the switch in the way people are working is changing and I think that’s fuelling the demand for co-working spaces.”
Ms Dalrymple mentors students who show an interest in becoming entrepreneurs and says she is seeing an increasing number of graduates considering self-employment.
“We’re seeing graduates that are interested. A lot of graduates now aren’t just going into the workplace, some of them are becoming more entrepreneurial so this is the kind of space where grads can come in and say, ‘I’m actually going to run with my idea and give it a go’.”
Co-working offices are becoming an increasingly familiar feature in all major cities and Galway is no different. SuperPixel Labs opened their doors in Fairgreen House on Fairgreen Road in Galway City centre in February with 50 desks, and they are already threequarters full.
The beauty of co-working offices lies in the networking and business opportunities available to companies, according to Ms Dalrymple.
“SuperPixel is a community so our members start to network with each other, creating opportunities and finding that synergy between them and collaborating on different things especially in our smaller space called Baby Labs. I would say nearly half of them are now working together on joint projects and that’s just happened organically because they’re in the space, they’re talking, some of them might be really busy and can’t do something and they give it to somebody else and that’s what co-working is about and that’s why it’s just amazing if you’re a startup.”
The advantage of shared offices for many is the low up-front cost, while the ability to rub shoulders with other like-minded people also acts as a major pull factor, according to Ms Dalrymple, with co-working providing a sounding board for new businesses. “It can be a very lonely journey working by yourself and there are times where there’s moments of elation and there’s times where it can be very lonely and the solitude can affect you especially if you’re a startup.
She adds, “There’s so much you need to take on board very quickly and you make mistakes very quickly but part of my job as well is Tara Dalrymple. Photo: Joe Travers. to try and help the people who are in here to network, and give them opportunities to introduce them to people who can help them and create events and bring in speakers that enable them to progress a lot quicker which you wouldn’t have if you were just working from home.” Among these events is a monthly legal and financial clinic.
SuperPixel Labs aims to develop its links to the wider community further by opening up the space for events and groups, such as Galway Women in Technology. This weekend, Friday 8 – Sunday 10 April, will see the space host the first ever Food and Technology hackathon as part of Startup Weekend Galway. The space is also involved in collaborative charity events and will play its part in the An Taisce Spring Clean tidy up on 20 April.
Putting down roots in the business community is important, according to Ms Dalrymple, who says, “Galway has so much to offer and spaces like this and all of the other co-working spaces that are coming on line, it’s just tantamount to what Galway offers; the infrastructure that we have and the links with all of the institutions like GMIT and NUIG.”
When it comes to Galway’s status as a leading medical device hub and cutting-edge tech city, it’s also important to continue building on the region’s success. “Galway is giving us an opportunity to just show the rest of Ireland and Europe what can be done. If you have a look at the likes of EA Games, they came to Galway and they took a couple of desks and then they ended up rolling it out and building what they have now so it’s extremely important and I think as well it’s important to put Galway on the map so the focus isn’t always on Dublin.”