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StartSpace fills critical gap in Victoria’s startup community

Media release

Friday 13 March 2020

State Library Victoria today launched StartSpace – the first coworking space and resource of its kind in Victoria that provides knowledge, support and networks to anyone who has a business idea but is not yet ready to enter the startup world.

Breaking down the barriers to founding a business or social enterprise, StartSpace celebrates the diversity of the Victorian community by welcoming early-stage founders from all industries, when they are still at the start of their business journey. It improves access for all types of founders – from women, to retirees, refugees, creatives and tech disrupters.

Small businesses make up 98% of the state’s total businesses, so StartSpace will play an integral role in boosting the state’s knowledge economy and supporting Victoria’s continued financial growth.

Developed as part of the Library’s Vision 2020 redevelopment and with the philanthropic support of leading Melbourne businesswoman, Christine Christian, StartSpace builds on the Library’s tradition of fostering innovation and contributing to Victoria’s business prosperity. An entrepreneur-in-residence will also be hosted through an annual scholarship funded by Ms Christian, who said that StartSpace responds to a major gap in Victoria’s startup ecosystem.

“Although support for Victorian startups is increasing, the focus is very much on specific sectors. StartSpace embraces all business ideas, regardless of industry, because when every idea has the chance to bloom, so too will our state’s economy.

“StartSpace functions solely to benefit the community and does not operate for profit. Free membership means that people don’t need a cent to start a business. Importantly, StartSpace equips founders with the confidence and connections they need to transform their ideas into sustainable businesses,” Ms Christian said.

State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney added that StartSpace, like the Library, welcomes all Victorians and challenges the status quo about business founders.

“More than 70% of new business founders in Victoria are male and the average age, regardless of gender, is 37. StartSpace plays a vital role in encouraging Victorians of all ages, genders and backgrounds to join its inclusive community.

“StartSpace continues the Library’s 164-year legacy of making the world’s best knowledge accessible for all, and this invaluable resource will give members the tools they need to become successful business owners – all within state-of-the-art facilities located in the heart of Melbourne.” Ms Torney said.

StartSpace offers two levels of membership, both with an initial six-month commitment:

StartSpace membership is free and includes exclusive access to the ground-floor coworking area that seats up to 125, a dedicated meeting room and StartSpace programming including: skills-based training programs and workshops; mentor sessions; and networking and community events. StartSpace members can access the space as needed for up to 68 hours per week between 10am–9pm (Mon–Thurs) and 10am–6pm (Fri–Sun). They will be co-located with other StartSpace members working on early-stage initiatives.

StartSpace Loft membership is a premium membership for $350 per month and includes exclusive access to StartSpace Loft coworking area (upstairs) that seats up to 48 and includes conference facilities and printing facilities, Skype booths and a meeting room. They also have access to StartSpace programming including skills-based training programs and workshops; mentor sessions; and networking and community events. Paid members can access the space for up to 83 hours per week during the extended opening times of 7am–9pm (Mon–Thurs), 7am–6pm (Fri), 10am–6pm (Sat–Sun). Paid members will be co-located with other StartSpace Loft and StartSpace Partner members.

Early-stage founders can apply to become a member at Free tours are also available.

To mark the launch, StartSpace is working with leading international professional services firm PwC Australia on a pro-bono basis to deliver a training program for paid and free members that supports the startup sector through development of business acumen and financial literacy. StartSpace is excited to hear from other organisations interested in supporting StartSpace and its training programs.

About StartSpace
StartSpace is a new, member-based service enabled by the Christine Christian Foundation specifically for new and early-stage business founders. Housed within the Ideas Quarter – a dedicated coworking space – at State Library Victoria, StartSpace provides inspiration, information and practical guidance to help new businesses grow from concept to reality. Free membership enables access to the ground floor coworking space on a drop-in basis, as well as core services, events and training programs. Paid members have exclusive access to the mezzanine coworking space, meeting rooms and kitchen facilities. All members are accepted via an application process, which gives them access to a community of like-minded business and startup founders.