We Believe Coworking can Help Scotland become a Leading Entrepreneurial Nation

You can try Coworking for free on the 8th of May across Scotland (nationalcoworkingday.co.uk). Here’s why it’s a good idea…

Coworking is a powerful tool, not just in supporting Scottish entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurs everywhere.

Scottish National Coworking Day

To work out why the above is true, first we should examine Scotland’s mission statement for becoming a leading entrepreneurial nation. We’ve taken it directly from the homepage of the Scotland CanDo festival, of which National Coworking Day is part of:

“Scotland has an ambition of building a world-leading entrepreneurial nation, a place where sustainable growth and innovation deliver benefits to all of society. Our ecosystem is recognised as one of the most ambitious in the world and as a small country, we believe we have the opportunity to pilot a new model for the economy.”

It’s a compelling ambition and one that we believe is important for continued innovation in our little country. But… what does it really mean to be an entrepreneur contributing to the innovation of a nation? We thought it might be worth sharing what it means to our team, and also why we believe coworking deserves to have a national “day”.

What it Means to be an Entrepreneur

It could be argued that the word ‘entrepreneur’ is becoming ambiguous in it’s meaning. We’d go as far to say that colloquialism has let our collective perception of the word drift from the dictionary definition of: ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit’. Regardless of colloquial use or dictionary definition, we at Shoal define entrepreneurship as: ‘the identification of a worthwhile problem, and solving it sustainably and profitably’. We feel this echoed in the modern rise of social entrepreneurship, where the pursuit of profit seems to increasingly follow behind the pursuit of purpose and meaning.

By this definition, we believe that entrepreneurs should be a force for good in the world, and not just motivated by financial gain. So, the more ‘entrepreneurial’ we can be in Scotland, the better it will be for the continued establishment of our country on the global stage of innovation.

However…

To be an entrepreneur you need to be resilient. Starting and growing your own business isn’t easy; waking early, working all day, staying up late, all with one eye trained on the balance sheet. If you didn’t often think, “why am I doing this?” or, “am I still employable if all else fails?” on occasion, you’d be in the minority. From our experience, entrepreneurship can be a very isolating, lonely, and challenging experience — which is what can lead to stagnation. After first meeting in a Coworking space, our team believe that Coworking is very much the antidote to the harrowing entrepreneurial experience.

As further reinforcement of this, someone in our community who runs health retreats in the Scottish Highlands, recalls telling someone that 3 days before she first offered her business to the world that, “I think I’m just going to call it off, it’s not happening, it was a stupid idea anyway and I don’t think I should go through with it”. But, being able to chat through her concerns with another like-minded person, she committed, and 3 years on has clients from all over the world attending her retreats, with attendees regularly sharing that she has “changed their life”. What’s more, the retreats bring people to the Highlands of Scotland off-season which, over the years, has impacted the local economy. Consider that all of this may never have happened if it wasn’t from a small nudge of support from another person (and a hell of a lot of hard work too).

Entrepreneurs, we believe, are inherent problem solvers with compelling missions but are so often solitary in their purpose. This is usually born out of necessity at times when cash-flow is limited but can lead to individuals calling in to question the very purpose of their mission. Time and time again, however, we’ve seen that gathering a group of entrepreneurs in the same room seems to be like putting kerosene on a fire.

We feel very strongly that in order to achieve our ambition of being a leading entrepreneurial nation, we need these places for entrepreneurs to gather so that they have every encouragement to stay firmly planted on their rocky journeys.

This is why we believe Coworking deserves a national day: through the simple act of working in the company of others, connections are made and support is given so that entrepreneurs can continue in the pursuit of solving worthwhile problems.

A massive thanks goes to all of the spaces that have chosen to collectively open their doors for the day, so that you can try Coworking no matter where you are in Scotland.

Join us on the 8th May 2018: nationalcoworkingday.co.uk