We've recently had our 90th event in the building - a great milestone and a brilliant sign that we have been very busy since opening the doors to our variety of events spaces and meeting rooms.
We already have a bunch of interesting events ready to promote for the next few months:
Tuesday 9th January: Equal Experts
“Making Distributed Delivery work & Handling Complexity of Inception Phases”
Wednesday 10th Jan: Energimine
"An Introduction to Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies"
Friday 26th January: The Practical Democracy Project
"Devolution and democratic decision-making"
Tuesday 30th January: Open Data Manchester
"So you think you know your country?" Data, democracy and demographics
Saturday 3rd February - The Bureau Local:
"The Big Council Budget Hack"
Saturday 3rd February - Global Diversity Call for Papers Day
"Public Speaking Workshop"
Wednesday 21st February - Tech for Good Live:
James Brookes, Head of Projects, Thestartupfactory.tech
They help stratups grow from the ground up. At the moment we are working on two projects, a social media mentoring platform and a secure messaging channel.
The Federation brings a sense of collaboration and a sense of togetherness we haven't found in other co working spaces.
The pod is great, it took us 2 minutes to decide that we wanted one. We love the carpet, fixtures and people who work here. We love that it looks like a shed.
The rest of the space is full of great people, it's comfortable, the hanging baskets are great, the sofas are great. We moved into the city centre and the location is great. The transport is fantastic, the food is great around here and it's perfect for where we want to be.
We’ve come a long way since March when we started working with a dedicated team and passionate partners to plan the project and make the building habitable. The images below really do show the changes in the physical space itself, and we’re so proud of what we have now. A great mix of events and meeting spaces, a cafe and co-working floor. The suites were designed to house different sizes of organisations and they’ve all put their own stamp on them, as you can see in this blog post.
But we’ve also seen a growth in the types of people taking up residence in the space itself. Some of our tenants have come on that journey with us and we really can’t thank them enough for their patience and support along the way. Have a read of this blog by Kraken IM to get an idea if what that’s been like. Even though we’ve just launched, the majority of our suites and pods are already taken by a variety of digital businesses, all interested in exploring how we can be more cooperative and ethical as an industry.
The stories coming out of these businesses and organisations are too many to mention, with Apadmi and Silverchip’s award wins, Wool Digital’s first Birthday, and the graduates coming out of North Coders, Code your Future and The Hive’s courses to name just a few.
We’ve also been lucky enough for the wider community to embrace us, with diverse events happening in our events spaces. From Co-op and Design Mcr Service Jams, The Mayor's Digital Skills Committee, Tech for Good Live and Open Data Manchester moving in full time, Stir to Action Magazine issue launch, Drinkabout, Future everything…. and more.
It sounds like we’ve been really busy already. And we have. But we’ve got plenty more on the cards, including a bookable user research lab; Big Lottery Fund are moving in in the new year; and an events series looking at digital ethics.
Thanks so much to everyone who made it happen and supported our journey so far and those that continue to support us. The launch event really was a chance for us to celebrate how far we’ve come and thank everyone who’s been a part of our journey so far, but also to kick off the next phase for us in The Federation.
We were lucky to have Steve Murrells CEO of the Co-op Group and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester speak at the event, so we’ll leave you with their words.
Steve Murrells said:
“From the outset we decided that we wanted to share this building with others, creating a physical space for responsible digital innovation, where good practice is shared and celebrated, and where digital pioneers can learn from each other.
“However, it’s much more than a space. The Federation will actively encourage businesses to invest and grow, using technology to deliver positive change, from connecting young people with opportunities, reaching out to schools to specifically address diversity in Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM), to providing subsidised access for a public events programme.
“The Federation is a cornerstone in the creation of a movement for social change and economic responsibility, helping to cement Manchester's well established reputation in the digital world. This is because of who we are and how we’re owned. We know that the world works better when we co-operate.”
He also wrote this interesting blog with his thoughts on cooperation and ethics in the digital space
Andy Burnham added:
“We have set out ambitious plans to become one of the top five leading digital cities in Europe in the Greater Manchester Strategy and we are determined to achieve this by working together with likeminded people.
“The smartest cities don’t just make use of the digital economy, but use digital to connect people, helping tackle things like homelessness. We need to be a truly smart city to connect all our citizens.”
The Federation is a space that brings together organisations, big and small, public and private [and,] by promoting collaboration and inclusion through digital, [we’re] building a better future for the people of Greater Manchester.”
You can also read more about our launch in Prolific North, Business Cloud and the MEN. And you can hear what Steve Foreshew-Cain, CEO of Coop Digital had to say about the launch in his update.
If you’re interested in joining us in a suite, in the co-working space or want to hire our events or meeting space get in touch. (Events and meeting rooms: Beena.firstname.lastname@example.org/ Co-working space and suites: Samuel.email@example.com)
By Ian Cornwell, Kraken IM
Back in January of this year (2017) our business (Kraken IM) was picked as one of the teams for the Ignite accelerator. Ignite 11 was based in Manchester and we are from the North East, so for three months we upped sticks and straddled the Pennines like a colossus.
Our home for the duration was to be The Federation and a “death mirror” Airbnb (a story for another time). Information about The Federation was remarkably scant at the time, Google had virtually nothing and street view yielded a building covered in scaffold and a closed road so it’s fair to say we didn’t know what to expect from our office space, but at least it was handy for the station.
Our first day at The Fed we discovered that we’d be sharing a floor with the Co-op digital team and we’d be taking over a corner of their office. It’s probably fair to say the building itself was more building site than office space at the time, with just floors five & six completed. To stretch the metaphor a bit though, we were three founders and a building site, so that seems equitable looking back.
We made ourselves at home on part of floor five, which was an amazing open plan space, with sanded floors and best of all, beanbags. For the first few days we hit a few snags, some of the desks didn’t have power and the firewall blocked access to our dev database but these were soon resolved and we got on with getting on.
For 12 weeks though, it’s probably fair to say we created havoc for the poor co-op digital team, drawing on their walls (oops), liberally sprinkling Haribo around the joint and stealing beanbags. Plus nine teams of giddy start-ups generally being rowdy probably wasn’t conducive to their work. I for one, am famously soft spoken for example. In spite of our best efforts we were never made to feel like we were not a part of the family, offers of help with our tech, invites to events and even buying us beers.
On top of this, the space was an amazing place to work and great place to start to build a business. During the time we were there we got to hear all about the plans, what the Co-op was trying to build and the passion and values of the team building it and even a few sneak peeks at the partially completed work.
Twelve weeks went by in a flash and before we knew it showcase day was upon us and we would soon be moving out. Showcase day meant we again, caused havoc, putting 100+ chairs on floor six and taking over yet another part of the building for the afternoon.
Then, that was that, Ignite was over as was our time at the Fed and we had to move on. That’s when the really cool stuff started to happen both for us and The Fed.
Over the months since we moved out we’ve been back to Manchester reasonably regularly both to visit clients and investors. If I’m in town and I have the chance, it’s great to see the team there and look at how the space has grown. One of our Ignite cohort is still resident in the co-working space so it’s a good excuse to catch up for a brew (either kind) as well.
Every time I visit it seems there is more great news, recognition in award nominations, another floor has opened or they have a new tenant. The last time I was there the cafe was about to open and they were dishing out free coffee for testing purposes and the launch was imminent. The big thing though has been watching the numbers and vibe of the space grow and now when I‘m there it definitely feels like a community where the co-op values shine through. In the months we’ve known The Fed it’s grown from two floors and a building site into a full blown hub for digital companies.
Kraken make software for engineering projects, it’s pretty esoteric and if you aren’t us, I can see how you *might* think it’s pretty boring. We’re really passionate about it though and we really do want to change the world with better engineering. When we lived in the Fed we had what we thought was a really good idea and a good market to go at. During our time there we refined that idea and also living in a space like that helped us to refine the things we cared about and stood for, which is easy to overlook.
Now Kraken IM is really starting to see the green shoots of our efforts, we’re getting traction on big projects, we’ve been nominated for our own awards, secured funding, approved to work on some of the UK’s most sensitive sites and now some of the largest companies in our sector are approaching us to see what we’re up to.
As I type this, The Federation is officially launching very soon and the last time I was there, it really did feel like the finished article, I know that Kraken has a long way to go still, we definitely aren’t the finished article. That said, one of the things we enjoyed most at our time on Ignite was the cohort effect and growing with the other teams, the Fed feels like it was one of our cohort, we grew up together and watching them kill it is awesome.
Fancy a nosy round? Give Sam a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org. We still have space on our co-working floor if you want to join.