You may have heard of Pollinators. They have a building in Marine Terrace called CityHive. But not everyone in Geraldton knows exactly what Pollinators is.
Why I joined Pollinators - by Jason Smith
One day in mid 2012 I was on Twitter and came across some odd organisation that had mentioned Geraldton. It was called Pollinators.
They seemed interesting so I did a google search to find out why this group was visiting Geraldton.
To my surprise their website claimed that this group was actually BASED in Geraldton. I was a little puzzled. These guys seemed quite innovative and socially progressive. Why were they in Geraldton? I hadn't even come across anything like this in Perth or the Sunshine Coast during my time there.
I jumped in my car and headed down to what I learned was their pilot "coworking" space called CityHive. I met the founder Andrew Outhwaite and he gave me the tour and explained what they did, but truthfully I was sold before I got there. Here was a collection of people trying new and innovative things and they offered different training groups, meet ups, and a place to park my laptop and work that wasn't your lonely home office.
I joined Pollinators even though I had no business or even an idea for my next business. I just knew I wanted to be around folks like that. People prepared to take a risk to try something new.
I would use the coworking space from time to time, mostly just to sit and blog or play with new software I had found. I got to meet a bunch of interesting folks I would never have met otherwise, who were working on creative businesses or in the digital tech space.
After a few months the idea for Everything Geraldton slowly formed in my mind, and I set about building the platform, sometimes working from home, sometimes heading in to CityHive.
After our launch, Pollinators helped Everything Geraldton with contacts for all sorts of things. They helped me meet potential investors, gave me sounding boards to bounce ideas off, introduced me to people that could give appropriate advice, and of course offered facilities I could use like an office and coworking space.
Two years on and Everything Geraldton has grown a lot, and we still get great value from being involved with Pollinators.
If you have an idea, or you have an existing business or organisation that you want to see thrive, I personally recommend becoming a member of Pollinators.
Today they're more or less the hub for everything innovative happening in the Midwest, and the future is very exciting.
Why would I need Pollinators?
Maybe you've been sitting on a sweet idea for an app but you don't know how to code and don't know where to start.
Perhaps you have a great idea for a business that's never been done in the Midwest before but you feel like you don't quite have all the skills you need to make it successful.
Maybe you see a need in the community for a service, program or venue and would love some people around you for inspiration and advice.
Or perhaps you just want to start making friends and contacts with folks who think a little outside the box.
You should talk to Pollinators. Essentially, Pollinators is a community of entrepreneurs and innovators.
But it's also driven by an overarching mission, which is to help make the Midwest a thriving, resilient and vibrant place to live.
What’s the difference between Pollinators and the Chamber of Commerce?
In a lot of ways Pollinators is like a Chamber of Commerce for people and organisations that are creative, socially focussed or involved with digital technology.
They explicitly emphasise support and direct efforts to organisations that are more focused on community benefit than purely profit.
But of course they support anyone who comes to their door.
They tend to attract creative, social, and digital technology organisations, especially early stage organisations and those deliberately investing in innovation.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by Pollinators, the Midwest Chamber of Commerce and Instusty and Arts and Cultural Development Council (ACDC) that recognised each organisation's main areas of influence. The Chamber being business, ACDC the arts, and Pollinators being social.
What does Pollinators offer its members?
There's three main tangible things Pollinators offer.
Space, learning and community.
Pollinators run a "coworking" space called CityHive, it's their home on Marine Terrace. CityHive includes
- private offices you can rent
- a permanent coworking area
- a casual coworking area
- board room
- meeting rooms
- kitchen facilities
- printers, scanners etc
- very fast internet
Throughout the year Pollinators runs different programs that help you get your idea off the ground, or develop your existing organisation. There's also guest speakers on a myriad of topics, and many of these events and courses are free for members or very affordable.
Bouncing ideas off others, sharing advice, making connections with people who can help each other, and just generally being inspired by likeminded people is hard to put a price on. Sometimes our well meaning friends and family are the last folk we feel like running our ideas past because we know they'll shoot us down.
Being part of the Pollinators community gives you an instant network of people trying new things, taking risks, and trying to make the community a better place.
Why is coworking a good thing?
- It's a more flexible and affordable way to have an office.
- It gives you acess to people, resources and ideas that you wouldn’t know about otherwise.
- In many ways entrepreneurship and innovation is a team sport. Sitting alone at home makes it harder.
How many members does Pollinators have?
150 and counting.
Can anyone join?
Yes, anyone can join.
What if I don’t have a startup or organisation or even an idea but I just want to start hanging around innovative and entrepreneurial types of people?
Lots of people do that actually. They love it and get a lot out of it.