Community Shoutout, Innov8HQ — Dunedin’s Smart Business Hub

Celebrating rad working communities all over the globe! In this edition of community shoutout, we chat to Innov8HQ! Innov8HQ is Dunedin’s new Smart Business Hub and Collaborative Workspace, providing a Supermarket of Resources — to house, connect and support businesses through startup, growth and sustainability in the digital age.

Innov8HQ was founded by Heidi Renata, whose illustrious career spans over 20 years, with 13 years at the forefront of technology in the ICT sector. A reputable business leader, mentor and consultant, Renata is a reputable business leader, mentor and consultant who has worked across various industry sectors, both in New Zealand and overseas. Renata is no stranger to the challenges and opportunities currently faced by the business and entrepreneur landscape and its digital culture, and brings with her an eclectic ecosystem of industry experts to support and resource all that it demands.

Can you give us a rundown of how Innov8HQ came about?‍

So I spent 13 years working for Vodafone New Zealand predominantly in the technology sector. I had noticed that with all this exponential technology our communities needed more support and resourcing around what this rapid growth and expansion of automation meant. Then I happened to hear about and come across these wonderful collaboration spaces, I think it was WeWork who I came across first and really captured me. 

“I guess what I liked about the whole philosophy, is the fact that these spaces acted like a business Marae. It’s about being able to bring clusters of people and businesses together to cross-pollinate skills and experiences”. 

Thinking about where our communities and businesses are going, having a space that could bring people together was what our region was lacking. I knew in the next 5+ years our business communities were going to be struggling with technological advancements, so I took radical action and created a space in which I could use my background knowledge to serve and educate the wider community. 

“Bringing good people together to do good sh*t!”

How has the journey been from starting out to now?

All in all, this was a dream that started in October 2015, it was a 5-year pipe-dream but we opened just one year later so we’re about 4 years ahead of schedule! Being this far ahead obviously means I’ve had my work cut out and ‘busy’ would be an understatement, there’s been a fair bit of demand and extra stress I’ve put on myself! We’re about to celebrate our first birthday on the 13th October! In the time we’ve been open we’ve had over 12,000 people through the space, and held 60 events so far!

I guess one of the things that’s been interesting with the journey as a whole, is that you just never know where the landscape of the market is going to take you. Dunedin, traditionally, is a very conservative city so getting the wider community familiar with the new way of working, like anything, has its challenges. 

“I feel like I can speak for space operators in general, it’s about trying to change the mindset. You’re not at risk of losing IP or any of that sort of stuff, the value that you get from being able to share your experiences and collaborate on ideas is critical!” 

I’ve been very lucky in the fact that I’ve partnered with some amazing people to get through this and to get where we are today, having support from people around you makes all the difference! I work alongside Europlan who supply all our beautiful and functional furniture, it’s been amazing to have specialists in specific areas who have added their flare on the space. 

What are Innov8HQ’s core values?

• Manaakitanga: A workspace that encourages and embraces Individuality & Creativity.

• Whanaungatanga: Collaboration, by bringing great minds together to achieve great outcomes.

“It’s all about hospitality and treating people with respect, celebrating uniqueness and creativity.”

How do you guys go about educating the wider community about what coworking actually is? 

‍We started off with a campaign initially where we let people hot-desk for free on Fridays, we named it freaky hot-desk Friday and it abled people to try before they buy. This worked out great for us and drove a lot of our members who are here today through our doors. 

“Let people experience the space initially with no obligations.”

How would you describe the atmosphere within the space?

We’ve got a really neat buzz going on down here, it’s just a fun environment to be involved in. We’re known as the Google office of Dunedin, as all of our colour palette is really bright and vibrant. It’s good vibes all around, I’d describe the overall environment as high energy. 

What would you say your key point of difference is to other shared workspaces in your area?

Our location, we’re located in a really trendy precinct so I’d say the area itself is a huge drawcard. Also just the overall aesthetic and spatial design of the workspace, it’s beautiful! We keep up to date with the latest technologies and offer all of these gadgets and toys as part of our memberships. 

“I’m also a business mentor, so we offer much more than just bums on seats! As the founder I take pride in helping the members businesses flourish.”

In terms of your community, what type of businesses and professions have you got within the space?

We’re home to a really diverse bunch of people doing some super cool things for the region. We’re also home to many remote workers who have chosen Innov8HQ as there home base whilst working for businesses located in other cities across New Zealand. 

  • Marketing & Sales teams
  • Designers
  • Architects & City Planners
  • Travel Agents 
  • Photographers
  • Life Coaches
  • Software Developers 

‍What the members have to say! 

Josh Tasman-Jones, BLK Sportswear NZ.
Why did you join Innvo8HQ? 

To have a professional working environment, surround myself with others & to meet people from my area. Receive additional benefits from working in the space (i.e. printing access, desk space, meeting room etc.)

How has your experience been at Innov8HQ so far?

Love it — perfect environment for me to come in and be really productive with my time while also enjoying new relationships/friendships with the team at Innov8 and the other members in the space!

Jodie McSkimming, Fuzion Travel
Why did you join Innvo8HQ?

I needed an space to work from that was both welcoming and professional to meet with clients. To work alongside a diverse range of people and professions, and also tap into the recourse available to market my new business. 

What do you like most about Innov8HQ? 

Heidi and the team are just great, I love the aesthetic and the location is perfect. The whole operation just works!

What does an ideal community member look like at Innov8HQ?

It all comes back to our key values, we curate the space based on the fact if they align with us and what we stand for. I don’t just look at selling the space, I want to find out what they want to achieve and get from working from Innov8HQ. 

Going back to the space itself, what influenced the design and aesthetic of the space?

We’re in a real character building, we’ve left the exposed brick walls and original pillars and kind of mixed and matched the old with the new. We worked alongside Europlan for the fit out so we’ve got some seriously funky furniture throughout the space!

Could you tell us a little bit about Invigor8, your onsite wellbeing clinic?

We have an onsite holistic therapist, we also have masseuses who come through and you can get yourself a little chair massage! Our neighbours are a pilates & yoga studio who we collaborate with, we’ve got a strong focus on workplace wellness.

At CoLo we believe the future of work is social, how do you envision the future of work?

‍The shift is already happening for more flexibility within the way we work, I see more cross-pollination & collaboration happening. Looking at the statistics now, it’s said you can improve your productivity levels from around 15% working by yourself to upwards of 78% working around like-minded humans. From a heritage perspective being Maori, Marae’s are a place of bringing people together and that’s how tribes work the best was together. I take the same outlook when looking at coworking and these shared working environments, and when I bring up the term “Business Marae” everyone knows exactly what I’m talking about! 

What does the future look like for Innov8HQ?

In the year we’ve been open, we’ve been asked to franchise three times now! We just want to give it a bit of time before we seriously consider taking action on these offers, we’re a young growing space and we want to make sure we’re the best we can be before diving on in. Exciting time ahead, so stay tuned!

Anything you’d like to add? 

One thing that’s a real passion for me is that a percentage of our business is dedicated to community good. As a business mentor, I coach and work alongside young entrepreneurs and children. We do Dragons Den for kids, so involving kids from as young as 8–9! It’s super exciting and fun to be apart of and has added a whole new dynamic to the space itself. 

High fives to Heidi and the rest of the Innov8HQ team, oh and also a big happy birthday! The space has just celebrated it’s 1st birthday, in just this short time they’ve smashed their goals hosting over 60 events and have had over 12,000 humans pass through the doors. We’re super excited to see what unfolds next for you guys! If you’d like to check out Innov8HQ for yourself book yourself a desk right here on CoLo! 

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