Co-working space in Exmouth is helping small businesses grow and succeed

The Propeller Group in Exmouth has been successfully growing its co-working space in Exmouth after East Devon District Council’s Economic Development team developed a successful pitch for discretionary rate relief to help establish the initiative which highlighted its many tangible local economic benefits.

Located in Victoria Road, the centre opened in October 2018 offering a range of support and resources aimed at attracting entrepreneurs to use the centre as a networking base.

As well as providing a workspace for people to collaborate, the group is developing an education programme that will allow new and existing businesses to grow and provide new well paid jobs in the developing local tech sector. The aims are to create new, more productive careers which will encourage skilled young people to stay and develop businesses in Exmouth, and to establish a stronger enterprise culture in the town which will enable local businesses to adapt and modernise.

Propeller Exmouth now has over 100 members who regularly attend their talks which have covered a number of topics such as ‘First steps in starting your business’, a hosted panel event exploring how three companies started and the issues they experienced in scaling, including how technology helped them. The panel consisted of three local entrepreneurs bringing a wide range of experience.

Other talks held to date include ‘What is a startup?’ which tackled the misperception that a ‘startup’ is only for hi-tech geeks, and ‘Understanding natural capital and environmental economics’ which took the form of a discussion and panel interview with Professor Ian Bateman from Exeter University and Paul Cottington, South West Policy lead at NFU. The Propeller team noticed a general lack of understanding around funding and options for raising capital for businesses. So ‘Conversation with an investor’ was arranged featuring Alex Van Someren who specialises in early stage funds at Amadeus Capital. Further talks are being planned to cover funding and financing.

Propeller has also been busy growing its social media presence and relationship building with other institutions including Exeter University and other co-working spaces in and around Exeter. This work is starting to pay off as local businesses and community groups are dropping in to see what is going on, how they can use the space and how they can collaborate.

Propeller also recently featured as workspace of the month in the prestigious .net magazine which is widely recognised as the premiere print publication for web designers and has a global reach. 

A number of startups have used Propeller’s workspace and have benefited from its collaboration opportunities. These startups include DG Risk Group who provide intelligent security solutions to clients worldwide and Ordaloca who work with vendors to give the best possible customer experience.

Besides its instrumental role in supporting startups Propeller is also responding to more unexpected needs. Remote workers in search of the human interaction that can be missing from the homeworking environment are coming into the workspace to work part-time amongst people. Remote working members are visiting the space from Honiton, Exeter, Plymouth, Salcombe, Bristol and London. Excitingly, new potential work is being generated through these introductions and interactions. Also, a number of Propeller members are at risk of losing their remote jobs and on two occasions Propeller has been able to assist in finding new roles and to create new startups together.

Propeller has some exciting plans for their next quarter which include an AgriTech panel conversation with speakers including Mary Quicke of award-winning Quicke’s cheese in Newton St Cyres, Robert Kathro from the Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab and John Cass founder of Smallhldr, a mobile app and web-based platform for collecting and analysing data. Propeller is also planning to run a TouristTech panel and a tech event on ‘How to build a website in a day’.

See the Propeller Exmouth website for more information and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with upcoming events.