What is your professional background?
Before CIC, I worked on an Economic Development Team for a local government in the UK. The council had received a small grant which was earmarked for town center regeneration. They utilized the funds to open a council-managed pop-up shop (among other projects) because they felt that it was important for businesses in the community to have a flexible option to trial business ideas.
While part of the team, I helped to lay the groundwork for the pop-up shop and other projects, performed public outreach to attract local businesses and get people excited about the shop, and gained an understanding of how the council planned to appropriate funds to maximize impact. In the time since I left, the town’s vacancy rate is down, footfall is up, new businesses have spun out of the pop-up shop to take brick and mortar locations, and existing businesses that had considered leaving the town center have renewed their leases. I got to see firsthand how a targeted shared space program can reinvigorate and improve a town.
What are you most passionate about in relation to your work?
I’m passionate about my work at CIC because I think what we do is similarly impactful—albeit at a much larger scale. I strongly believe that shared facilities (office, wet lab, maker-space, event space, etc.) promote innovation and are good for entrepreneurs, cities, and the broader economy. I love that as we go into new cities, we are working to create innovation districts and campuses rather than just opening flexible office space. I feel like we are in the vanguard of leaders in this sector and am excited to see how we impact new communities as we expand.