A Troon based start-up is going from strength to strength thanks to support from the Scottish Coworking Network.

Scotia Arts – which organises international musical arts events – started using the SCN Coworking Hub in Troon just over a month ago and is already feeling the benefits.

As well as saving money on expensive rates, the local company has been able to take advantage of the Hub’s modern office facilities and business events. Being in the centre of town, it’s also proving to be an excellent location to base the fledgling business.

Scotia Arts Managing Director Blair Parham explained: “The Troon Hub is in a great location and ideal for meeting up with people. I was in an accelerator programme based in a nearby village, but it was too far out of town really. ‘Graduating’ from it and moving to the centre of Troon is just so much better for transport links like the train and for shops and cafes. It can be a lonely thing being a start-up company and this gives us the ability to meet up with other people and share ideas.”

Coworking at Affordable Prices

The Scottish Coworking Network was launched in February this year and aims to create a network of business hubs in underused spaces in Scotland’s public libraries. Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by SLIC, it is the first national network of its kind and aimed specifically at start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Troon SCN Hub has four fixed desks and four hot desks for members to choose from as well as a well-equipped breakout area with refreshment facilities. A fixed desk gives members their own dedicated space and set of lockable drawers while a host desk allows members the flexibility to work when it suits them. Prices start at £35 per month (plus VAT) for a hot desk and £50 per month (plus VAT) for a fixed desk, with unlimited access within library opening hours.

For Scotia Arts, who found out about the Hub through a Business Gateway Ayrshire event, the Troon Hub has delivered a professional working environment at a fraction of the usual price. Members can also use any of the other Hubs within the network which so far includes Dunfermline, Edinburgh and Inverness.

Blair said: “I did work from home for a few months, and it was ok but you’re by yourself with nobody to talk to or to pick someone’s brain. By taking on my first member of staff earlier in the year I needed more space; at the Hub we have two fixed desks and we’re there most days, all day. Cost was a big pull as it really isn’t expensive - we have everything here at a really good price which makes it an excellent choice for a start-up.  

“We could be applying for something very similar at five times the price and so I can see us being here for the foreseeable future. However, the rolling contract also means that all we have to give is one month’s notice which is another big advantage.”

Working Locally

Orchestra performing on stageScotia Arts run various music-based events both in Scotland and abroad. Their Stirling Bridge International Arts Festival is an annual event where orchestras and choirs from all over the world come to play and visit Scotland. Other events include the Land o’ Burns Fiddle Weekend in Ayrshire which takes place in September. The company is also planning a Major Scottish Music Festival in China for Scottish musicians next year. It’s a big change for Blair, who used to be a teacher working in Glasgow.   

Blair said: “The Stirling Bridge Festival is a truly international affair and is growing year on year, so much so that we’re expecting over 1000 overseas visitors to attend next year. They come from places like America, Canada, Europe and South Africa to play and take in some sights along the way. Our Fiddle Weekend is also very popular and next summer we’ll be taking professional Scottish musicians to China to take part in a large touring festival out there.

“I used to have to leave the house at 6.30 every morning and now I’m seven minutes away from work. The Troon Hub was exactly what I was looking for and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”  

To find out more about the Scottish Coworking Network and to book a tour of one of their coworking hubs visit the SCN website.