Apologies for the mixed messages around GROW recently - it’s been an interesting roller coaster six months! I can confirm the plan is to keep GROW open and now that we are out the other side of the building works make it full again. I will be starting a marketing campaign over the coming few weeks to bring in more members.
From the end of July there will be a few minor changes around hot desk membership and packages. I will also be investing in a much simpler booking system; I know what a nightmare the current one is and thank you for your patience! I will also be having a BIG tidy up and looking into some options for smaller meeting spaces and private phone call areas. If you’d like to learn more about our plans I am holding a drop-in on Tuesday the 22nd May at 14:00.
For those of you who don’t know the back-story I also wanted to take this opportunity to share it and thank you all for being part of our community.
GROW@GreenPark started as a three-month PR stunt in September 2014 to help put Reading on the tech cluster map. I was adamant that it would only stay open the three months but it quickly became apparent that not only the region’s digital and tech companies but also local start-up and small business needed affordable, flexible workspace. My vision then became to create a community with a “hang out and it will happen” ethos - one that you supported. You cannot underestimate the value of community “magic” - intangible to some, totally alien to others but those of us in the inner circle know the secret to success.
I’m pleased to say that in the last three years my vision has been more than realised. GROW has built a community of like-minded businesses who support and collaborate. It has also incubated a number of companies who are now scaling. In 2017 GROW companies created over 50 new jobs, that’s something we should all be incredibly proud of. GROW has always been run as a not for profit, it’s the troublesome child that keeps me awake at night but something that I love and believe in.
It’s been an interesting three years and I have very fond memories. I’ve seen some of the best and worst behaviour in people – watch this space for the book! We had the great escape from the bank trying to turn us into a branch! In the early days I was naïve, believing that some people were true to their word when promising support. Once burnt you never make that mistake again, but that’s how start-ups roll. We make mistakes and we learn, but at least we are out there trying to make a difference. But most of all I have met an amazing bunch of people who have made GROW what it is today.
I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone for being part of the gang and a special thank you to Mark and Simone for looking after the space so that I could focus on my “proper” job.