A new creative digital Hub in Bognor Regis has appointed two community managers as work on-site resumes ahead of its launch later this year.
The Track will be located within the recently-refurbished Grade II Listed Bognor Regis Railway Station and will support creative and digital start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs in Bognor Regis and coastal West Sussex.
Georgia Alston & Bob Maddams join the team as community managers and will be responsible for finding and supporting new members, sourcing and organising business mentors, arranging events and the general day-to-day running of the hub.
Georgia, who lives in Bognor Regis, also helps run her family’s local ice cream business, Pinks Ice Cream. The business, which was founded by Georgia’s mum, has a parlour in town as well as a fleet of vans and even an ice cream tricycle. The business is now in a position where Georgia can take a step back meaning she’s free to take up her new role at The Track.
Georgia said: “It’s been a real privilege to see my mother take an old beaten up ice cream van and turn it into the award-winning business it is now.
“It was exciting to help my family bring the business into the modern world and help them grow their network, and that’s something I will really be looking to help Bognor businesses with. That’s the beauty of coworking, they naturally foster collaboration which can only lead to new and exciting things.”
Bob is a former travel journalist who also previously ran a community film school in Ethiopia, working with children to produce powerful dramas that addressed challenging issues such as human rights and HIV and aids. Alongside his new role, Bob now runs a creative communications company, holding workshops and providing expert coaching.
Bob said: “Having worked in so many different places across the world I’m always amazed by what can be achieved when people come together to work and play.
“There is a wonderful sense of community in Bognor Regis, and after chatting with Gareth and the TownSq team, it’s evident that these hubs become so much more than a space for working.
“We’re really looking forward to growing a community of people who want to use enterprise to shape their lives, be that simply earning a living doing something they love, or growing a large business that will have a lasting impact on the local economy.”
The Track will be operated by Town Square Spaces (TownSq), which also manages hubs in North Wales and Oxfordshire.
One of the founders of TownSq, Gareth said the new appointees are the next positive steps toward a burgeoning start-up space. “Work on The Track is progressing well and while COVID has paused plans for now, we’re still working and excitedly getting ready to open the doors later this year,” he said.
“However, it’s communities that decide the success of startup spaces, and they are built of positive people just like Bob and Georgia. We’re delighted to be welcoming them to the team and we feel having community managers that are also business owners will provide our members with a unique understanding of the local networks and opportunities.
“All the successful hubs, spaces and coworking areas across the world succeed when they build a community of like-minded individuals who, through collaboration and mutual support, grow their businesses together.
“Bob and Georgia are already building that community with a number of local people signing up to our online support workshops – StartupClub, and we’re encouraging anyone with an idea or a desire to start their own business to get in touch with us. We can offer support to anyone in the early stages of their business; from someone working from home who wants to take advantage of the natural networking opportunities that come with being part of a community, to the individual with a promising idea who can’t quite quit their day-job yet – we can help.”
Cllr Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for the economy, said: “The Track’s planned opening in Bognor Regis brings with it lots of exciting opportunities for local people and businesses to learn and grow with like-minded individuals.
“It is great news that the new community managers, Georgia and Bob, already have an understanding of the community and the surrounding area and this will hold them in good stead to make The Track (and its new occupants) successful, help grow the local economy and raise the profile of Bognor Regis.”