Regus announces launch of 10 regional ‘Regus Connect’ enterprise hubs

Regus CEO Mark Dixon talks to Startups and Growing Business about the company’s students and freelancers initiative

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Global workspace provider Regus has announced ‘Regus Connect’, a new scheme to provide dedicated co-working space for freelancers and free workspace to students.

Labelled “enterprise hubs”, the scheme intends to enable freelancers and students to connect with local businesses and existing Regus clients.

Planned for launch early next year, 10 pilot hubs will be rolled-out within existing UK sites with small businesses, students and freelancers able to vote for their desired location.

It is envisaged that the hubs will serve as an “in-house talent pool” for Regus customers to have access to freelancers and will allow students to gain work experience under the same roof as local businesses who will be encouraged to offer work placements.

With London, Manchester and Birmingham already chosen for the first three hubs, Regus founder and CEO Mark Dixon tells Startups and Growing Business why he is championing the initiative and why the hubs will be much “more than a workspace”…

Supporting students and interns

How is the scheme looking to support students?

Mark Dixon: “We’re looking to provide students, interns and jobseekers with co-working space free of charge. They will have full access to Regus services to help them study with the offer to work and collaborate with businesses.

“This will be more than a workspace, it will be a place for students and interns to learn and grow and it opens up opportunities for them to work and network with businesses, both small and established.

“They will be able to use all our services; telephones, IT and resources within an informal setting”

What is the motive behind it?

Dixon: “This isn’t a commercial exercise […] it’s driven by the need to provide something more for students. Internships nowadays are hard to come across and I know that first-hand. I have five children and even with the list of contacts I have it’s a struggle [to find placements and internships], so it’s our aim to fill this gap.”

Will you be working closely with local communities to advertise the scheme?

“We’re already working with local and regional communities and are hosting open days for interns with 500 fairs across the country.”

Helping small businesses

How will Regus Connect benefit businesses?

“Small companies can affectively get access to young, smart people. It’s beneficial for both sides; the business and the student. We think it will be a 50/50 split between existing Regus customers utilising the scheme and new clients.”

“It’s a collaboration between companies and young people looking for work – an end-to-end cycle.”

Boosting the freelance community

Why is Regus Connect focusing on freelancers?

“We’ve noticed that freelancers want something different so we’re providing private areas for them. For many freelancers it can be isolating to work from home and with more and more people working online and in the cloud, freelancers can work instead from our dedicated spaces in a professional environment.

“They can network with other freelancers and meet other local businesses and potential clients and it comes at a reasonable price of £35 a month on a rolling contract.”

The future of ‘Regus Connect’

Can we expect to see the initiative rolled-out nationally?

“This is a pilot scheme so we will be testing its popularity, if successful it will be deployed across the UK and globally, in our existing sites across the word.”

Regus’ third place workspace strategy for 2014

What have you got planned for your third place workspaces over the next year?

“In 2014 we will be expanding to locations across the world and we will be working closely with railways and motorway services.

“We’re seeing a great demand for flexible working and as a business model its worked really well, for example in Holland we converted an old police building to a co-working office and it’s been very well received.”

To find out more about ‘Regus Connect’, click here.


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