End of a dream: Harrogate business set to close

End of a dream - Harrogate entrepreneur Jem Henderson. (1809171AM4)
End of a dream - Harrogate entrepreneur Jem Henderson. (1809171AM4)

The Harrogate entrepreneur behind the town's first independent co-working space is being forced to end her pioneering new idea after less than six months.

The community-minded Jem Henderson, who lives in Bilton, wanted Indieworx Collective on Grove Road to be what she described as "a lighthouse in the dark times, or a bulwark against the storms".

Based on a successful model already operating in bigger cities like Manchester and Leeds, the aim was to offer flexible, inexpensive office space to freelancers struggling with child care costs and start-ups forced to work in coffee shops or their own bedroom.

But the financial challenges of setting up an independent socially-minded co-workers space with 46 desks mean, sadly, her idealistic dream has become a victim of the times.

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Jem, 33, whose day job is in the innovative technology sector, said: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce the closure of Indieworx Collective.
"The coworking space has been a fantastic project and a really effective business hub, bringing together businesses from across the region and across sectors.
"We've had some awesome successes with helping businesses; whether timely advice on a quote leading to a six figure contract, facilitating some great conversations around innovation and future workplaces, or just hopefully introducing friends to one another for the first time.

"However, we always started on the back foot financially. The planning application took more than twice as long as expected which cost around £10,000.
"On top of that, we also didn't get a grant we were expecting and when we tried to raise money through a crowdfunder to make up the shortfall, we only raised 8% of our target.

"I've tried everything to get it going and we have been incredibly close to success. In December we broke even; a remarkable feat in month two.
"However, January and February weren't so good and without the additional buffer of grant money, it's left us in a vulnerable position. I've also tried to get additional funds but failed.

"Brexit isn't making the market easy. People are afraid to spend any money without any certainties and we're not getting them from government.
"I leave Indieworx Collective feeling pretty bruised and with £20k in debt of my own. However, I'm also really optimistic about the whole thing, weirdly. "I've got a job which I don't think I'd have got without the space.

"Facing the uncertainty of the future, I was hoping that Indieworx would be a lighthouse in the dark times, or a bulwark against the storms but unfortunately, this wasn't to be.
"I wish everyone the best of luck in the future. We're going to be closing our doors for the last time 4th March."