An innovative new scheme offering affordable office space and free business support to home-based workers and start-up businesses in rural areas has launched in Newcastle Emlyn.
Led by Antur Cymru Enterprise, the DeskSpace initiative is being piloted at Antur Teifi Business Park with the aim of “providing a platform for post-pandemic recovery and a timely economic recovery in North Carmarthenshire “.
The long-term vision is to roll out the concept to smaller towns and villages across Wales, helping entrepreneurs who have started a business during the pandemic – or those who want to move from the kitchen table or the living room alternative to high quality office space – the chance to do so in a warm and welcoming environment.
Those who register will have access to free parking, IT support, fast and secure internet, photocopying and scanning services, tea/coffee making facilities and advice from on-site Business Wales representatives . Desks are available for as little as £10 per day and ‘Go workstations’ are also an option.
Bronwen Raine, chief executive of Antur Cymru, said it was a “great opportunity” to help grow small businesses and start-ups.
“Above all, it’s more than just a ‘space’ for them to grow, it’s the perfect setting to test their ideas, network, collaborate and grow their business in a safe and sustainable way,” she said. added.
“We will test it in Newcastle Emlyn and then in other rural areas where the main issues are broadband provision and slow internet speeds, travel time, fuel costs and unavailable administrative services in towns and cities. villages most difficult to access.
“There are so many new, innovative and exciting start-ups and entrepreneurs in this region that just need a base to build on, so hopefully DeskSpace can provide that and solve some of those problems. ”
A report from the University of Aberystwyth last year found that the Covid-19 pandemic had further revealed the divide between rural and urban areas in Wales, including inequalities in broadband speeds, unemployment, healthcare and housing.
“Antur Cymru Enterprise is working hard to remove these barriers and provide solutions that will help boost the rural economy and turn green shoots of recovery into sustainable growth,” Bronwen said.