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Bringing back Carterton’s buzz

Wellington’s Bizdojo coworking space, one of the inspirations for Carterton’s 3Mile. PHOTO/BIZDOJO

ELISA VORSTER

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A ‘meet the new neighbours’ party was the spark for a business idea aimed at bringing the “buzz” back to Carterton.

Marie-Claire Andrews has only been living in the area for two months but she’s already making her mark with plans to open Wairarapa’s first coworking office space on Carterton’s High Street.

To be called 3Mile – after Three Mile Bush, the original name for Carterton – the space aims to provide small business operators with an area where they can collaborate, have meetings, or simply share an office space over a great cup of coffee.

The idea was sparked last November when Ms Andrews held a social gathering at her new four hectare property to get to know her new neighbours.

One of her neighbours happened to be Carterton Mayor John Booth.

“We got chatting and the words coworking space came out of my mouth and that was it,” she said.

The Mayor’s enthusiastic response gave her all the encouragement she needed.

Despite already juggling three high-profile jobs, the 3Mile project has already gained momentum, with a team of volunteers and designers awaiting access to 66 High Street to put their plans into place.

Ms Andrews has first-hand experience working in coworking spaces all over the world – from Europe to San Francisco, New York to Wellington.

“I wanted to meet with other entrepreneurs and smart people who could give me inspiration on those tough days,” she said.

The Carterton space will become one of 13,800 coworking spaces globally, boasting over 1.1 million members.

“It will be exactly the same, just smaller and perfectly formed.”

She said its central location was perfect because it would give the whole region access to the facility.

Ms Andrews named the space 3Mile as she wanted a name which was “cool and a bit different” but also unique to the area.

Mr Booth said he was very excited about the project – filling the empty shop space on High Street was just one positive aspect of the space.

He described it as a great opportunity for small businesses in the community to connect with like-minded people as well as promoting growth in the region.

“One of the really important things in having it located here in Carterton is we do a have a lot of new people who have settled here with really interesting backgrounds – community backgrounds and business backgrounds.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity to help them connect and for other people to be able to learn from them.”

The space will provide meeting rooms and will give local business owners the opportunity to hold events to share their business stories to help and inspire others.

It will also host a range of seminars delving into topics to help people run their businesses, such as working with Xero and successfully managing an Instagram profile.

At this stage, Ms Andrews has yet to determine how much 3Mile will charge for the space as it was hard to gauge how many people in the community would be using the facility.

Although they had adequate funds to open the space in March, they would be relying on sponsorship and donations to the first year run smoothly.

“We still need more to give it a good start and to make sure we can survive, and then it will be an enterprise within itself.”

She said coworking spaces worldwide relied on sponsors and is hoping for support from people “who want to see Carterton come to life”.

For more information on the coworking space go to www.3mile.nz

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