The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

New public library business hub proving a hit with local entrepreneur

A Troon-based start-up is going from strength to strength thanks to support from a new business hub at Troon Library.

Scotia Arts, which organises international musical arts events, started using the new Scottish Co-working Network space just over a month ago and is already feeling the benefits.


[Pictured: Scotia Arts managing director Blair Parham   
 with employee Jenn Tapner at the Troon hub.]

The Scottish Co-working Network (SCN) was launched in February this year, and aims to create a network of business hubs in underused spaces in Scotland’s public libraries.  Created by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) with funding from the Scottish Government, it is the first national network of its kind.  It is aimed at providing local entrepreneurs, freelance workers, start-ups and micro businesses with dedicated space to work, meet and collaborate.

As well as saving money on expensive rates, Scotia Arts is taking advantage of the hub’s modern office facilities and business events.  The hub’s location in the centre of town is also proving to be an excellent base for 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.  ‘Graduating’ from it and moving to the centre of Troon is so much better for transport links, like the train, and for shops and cafes.  It can be lonely being a start-up company and this gives us the ability to meet with other people and share ideas.”

The Troon SCN hub has four fixed desks and four hot desks and a well-equipped breakout area with refreshment facilities.  A fixed desk gives members their own dedicated space and set of lockable drawers, while a hot desk offers members the flexibility to work when it suits them.  Membership is highly affordable at £35 per month (plus VAT) for a hot desk and £50 per month (plus VAT) for a fixed desk, with unlimited access during library opening hours.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC said: “Scotland’s public libraries offer the perfect environment to support aspiring entrepreneurs.  Libraries are located at the heart of communities, they are connected, and offer an abundance of information and resources, making them the perfect environment to support entrepreneurs.  They are ideal for small sole traders and those who may be currently running a small business from their kitchen table or spare room. 

“The response from local small business owners has been very encouraging.  New hub members are telling us that the community environment is fuelling their creativity and access to hub resources is invaluable for them when building their businesses.”

For Scotia Arts, who found out about the hub through a Business Gateway Ayrshire event, the Troon huas delivered a professional working environment at a fraction of the usual price. 

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.  After 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.  Cost was a big pull - we have everything here at a really good price, which makes it an excellent choice for a start-up.”

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "The hub is already proving to be an invaluable resource for business start-ups.  Our libraries are the perfect environment to connect with information and link with other businesses and entrepreneurs, which is ideal when it comes to networking.

"We know that it’s not easy to start and then grow a business so we are doing all we can to help. Whether it’s funding, or expert advice through our AMBITION programme we are determined to give these ventures all the help they need, so I am delighted the hub is proving to be a success."

Pamela Tulloch added:“This project is further demonstration of how public libraries are transforming to ensure they meet the needs of modern communities.  Nowadays, libraries are vibrant hives of activity and you’re as likely to find a film screening, computer coding class or wellbeing support group taking place as you are to find a reading and book club.”

To find out more about the SCN and to book a tour of one of the hubs visit www.scottishcoworking.org

More information on the Scottish Coworking Network, including details of membership and prices, is available at www.scottishcoworking.org

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library matters. For more information on SLIC visit www.scottishlibraries.org

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.



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