Contest & Q&A: The Network Hub brings more than co-working to New West

May 25th, 2012

Freelance Camp Vancouver 2011Photo: Raul Pacheco-Vega

If you need even more evidence that New Westminster is a hot spot for young entrepreneurs, look no further than The Network Hub.

The co-working space, co-founded by Minna Van, Jay Catalan, and John Van, opened a campus in the Royal City last year. In addition to providing co-working space for entrepreneurs in the area, the New West Network Hub  hosts a variety of art and business events, including the Freelance Camp, the “Look What We Do” art show, and the Entrepreneur Meetup, an event where Salient Group president Robert Fung spoke recently.

Freelance Camp 2011Photo: Jeremy Lim | www.jeremylim.ca

With Vancouver blogger Raul Pacheco on the advisory board — and thanks to the company’s strong social media presence — The Network Hub is generating a lot of buzz for both of its locations. In their testimonials, current and past members have described The Network Hub as “a brilliant place and source for inspiration, ideas and for making new friends or business ties”.  Startups have also described it as a “great influence and stimulation” for their young business.

We wanted to learn more about this exciting business, so we asked one of its founders, Jay Catalan, where their business concept came from, their thoughts on New West, and their partnerships with local artists.

How did the idea for The Network Hub concept come about?

We were college friends operating a web design company from our homes and coffee shops. We reached a point where our clients and potential customers were telling us that we should get a more professional space to work and conduct our meetings. We looked around, but there weren’t very many options that were suitable for our needs. Most traditional office spaces required long-term leases and were way above the budget of student entrepreneurs, and the vibe of the traditional suit and tie executive rental suites felt too cold and stuffy for us.

An opportunity came when a friend informed us of a space at the entrance of Gastown that had been sitting empty. The place looked like an old abandoned warehouse, and was too big for just our company to occupy. At this point, we have been thinking about how we can provide more value to our clients, and one of the ideas was to work more closely with other freelancers and professionals. We felt this provided an opportunity to do so by sharing the space with other like-minded entrepreneurs, and creating a fresh space that valued the idea of community and didn’t felt as boxed in as traditional executive suite type offices.

Why New West for The Network Hub’s second location?

The Mayor’s office initially approached us about bringing The Network Hub to New Westminster, and Mark Shieh of the River Market soon followed. After presenting us with their visions for the next phase of New Westminster, it was hard to say no. We are glad to be here and are excited by the energy we feel from all the entrepreneurs and freelancers we meet here every day.

Your gallery showcases the work of many local artists. Where did the idea of “The Artwork Hub” come from?

Some artist friends from Vancouver voiced the difficulty of getting their work exhibited in galleries, especially for new artists.

Since we have several large networking events that happen on a regular basis at our space, and a lot of empty wall space, we felt this could be an opportunity for new up and coming artists to be able to exhibit their work.

We took this same idea and brought it to our New Westminster campus, and have been working there with the amazing artists from the New West Artists collective.

Any plans for new locations?

We’re always open to new opportunities, and are always excited to bring our flavour of co-working to communities that haven’t had a chance to try it. The feedback we receive from new members everyday is what drives us to spread the word about co-working — we really believe it’s the future of work.

Contest! Win a 3-month work pass to The Network Hub!

We have partnered with The Network Hub for a two-week contest that we hope will be helpful to entrepreneurs and freelancers.

From May 25th to June 15th, we’re giving everyone a chance to try out The Network Hub simply by sending a tweet. Here’s how to join:

Tweet from the Trapp+Holbrook presentation centre (located at 668 Columbia Street in New Westminster) with a photo or a message about T+H to @TheNetworkHub and @TheSalientGroup.

Everyone who sends a tweet will receive a free work day at Network Hub New West. At the end of the contest, one winner will win a three-month work pass to Network Hub New West.

We would like to thank The Network Hub for giving us some insights into their business. For more info, please visit the company website or follow The Network Hub on Facebook or Twitter.