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New Melbourne co-working space Roslin gets social

Monday, 14 May 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

A co-working space in West Melbourne has attempted to distance itself from the horde of tech hubs operating in and around the city, with a focus on social entrepreneurship.


Roslin Business Community, which operates out of the same venue as host company Ergo Consulting, is a co-working space spread over two floors.


According to Derek Winter, a director of Ergo Consulting, members of the Roslin community “tend to be small business, entrepreneurial types” but aren’t always in the start-up phase.


“The disciplines they come from is reasonably varied, although it tends to be in the sphere of what Ergo does,” Winter says.


“One side [of Ergo] is technological – more software-based – and the other is consulting around strategic planning and culture change.”


“You’d be able to divvy up [the Roslin members] into those two categories. But the cultural thread is social entrepreneurialism.”


According to Winter, the majority of members in the Roslin Business Community are motivated by some sort of social cause.


This is in stark comparison to the tech-obsessed nature of other co-working spaces that are popping up in Melbourne and other capital cities.


Winter says the Roslin Business Community is also smaller than a lot of other spaces, only accommodating up to a dozen people, which means the members work in close proximity.


“The members [who engage in social entrepreneurship] are surrounded by like-minded people. They’re likely to think in similar ways, even if they’re in different disciplines,” he says.


Winter says the only thing members need to supply is their own computer.


“The main space is a real co-working space. There is a central table that works on a first-come, first-served basis, and space along the wall where people can sit as well,” he says.


There is a library, which members of the community can also use to hold meetings, in addition to a more formal meeting room equipped with a whiteboard and a television for presentations.


There is also a communal kitchen that, again, could be used to hold casual meetings.


“The way we set ourselves up is that members pay a set fee for either a three-month or 12-month commitment. Over and above that, there are no other costs,” Winter says.


The venue is also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so start-ups can work without interruption at any time of the day or night.


“We’re one of the smaller spaces, so everyone tends to know the other members… [which] makes it easy for people to collaborate,” he says.