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Bid writing & support for SME’s, Start-ups and Third Sector

By Sean Alimajstorovic, posted 2nd July, 2019
As of July 2019 we are proud to announce the launch of our new bid writing and support service. Any local and regional SME’s, Startup or Third Sector Organisation is more than welcome to use the service and we will be providing a number of options to make the whole process easier. If you are a business that is looking to grow, develop and succeed you can find everything that you need at Hub 109.

Why bid writing service?
The answer is simple, we want to provide support for the SME’s in Erdington and Birmingham as a whole because we think that we can do it better, we also think that we will provide excellent value and expertise but above all we feel that we can disrupt the existing bid writing and tendering ecosystem.
According to some research a lot of small businesses do not access finance or bid on tenders and even when they do only about 5% of them are successful. Hub 109 essentially is a provider of support and cost-effective solutions for small businesses in Birmingham and wider, so this was a service that was in pipeline for a while now.

Who will be delivering bid writing services?
We have partnered up with some exceptional bid writers and our bid support service is being headed up by Paul Hanna who is an experienced bid writer and well known for his expertise in Erdington, Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. Paul will be the acting head of bid development at Hub 109.

So that’s the answer to who and why of bid writing, next question might be what are exactly bid writing services and for whom you will provide these?
The answer to that question might not be as simple as we like to think. Our bid support and bid writing service is aimed at SME’s, Startups and Third Sector organisations located in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and West Midlands with one aim and that is to help them succeed and grow.

The bid writing services
Hub 109 will provide a number of services in order to help businesses win those tenders.
DIY service.
We will be more than happy to provide you with relevant resources and free advice in order to start developing your own tenders and grant applications.
Do it with you. 
Our team will be more than happy to work alongside and help you develop your tenders and grant documentation.
Do It for you. 
The easiest option sometimes might be for us to do all the work, find the tender and follow the process from start until the end.
Training Provision. 
We can also provide workshops and improve your capacity to win tenders.
Free Consultation & Advice.
Hub 109 bid writing team will also give businesses free initial consultation and discuss their needs and wants before recommending a suitable course of action.

What can a bid writer do for my business?
A bid writer is the person who completes tender, grant or PQQ’ in order to secure contracts for your business. It takes special person do this job and it is one of the most important positions in terms of securing new business. A good bid writer will also actively seek out new opportunities and tenders that come on the market.

Our official launch date is 17th of July and it will be coinciding with Effective bid writing workshop at Hub 109. If you would like to find out more or meet Paul or myself during the event, the details can be found here.

New members, Partnerships, Events and Projects at HUB 109!

By Sean Alimajstorovic, posted 18th June, 2019

So, what has been happening at the HUB 109 over the last few months and why there was no new news updates?
All we can say is that we have been busy with a number of projects as well as developing our partnerships and services. Let us tell you more about what has been happening at HUB 109.

New members of Hub 109
First of all, we would like to welcome some new members to Hub 109;

- Code Addicts, Wordpress and WooCommerce UX & UI specialists for business.
- Standing Ovation, creative arts organisation that works with schools to raise self-esteem and confidence of children through the creative arts and pastoral support.
- Table Football Plus, leading provider of table football themed events, parties and team building days.
- Topadur Law Chambers, law firm which specialises in immigration matters.

We made sure that all our new members will be adding value and that they also understand and fit with our vision of what we are trying to achieve in Erdington and wider.

Strategic Partnerships at Hub 109
April and May were marked with a number of strategic partnerships being put into place.

The first of those was with Crunch, an online accountancy firm which specialises in delivery of accountancy software & services to sole traders and SME’s.

We have also partnered up with Invoco to offer our members competitively priced Voip telephony service. All they need to do is quote HUB 109 promo code and they will get 3 months of free service subscription.

Another partnership was with Erdington Sports Centre whereby all our members will get a chance to sign up on corporate membership. They will get access to all classes, gyms and swimming pools in a number of sports centres in Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.

As a small business you may need a service of virtual secretary from time to time so we have teamed up with The Office Genie to offer their services to our members. All you need to do is call 01604532018 and get started with a virtual secretary.

Networking Events at Hub 109
Last month we held our first networking “Coffee and Cakes” event at Hub 109. The aim of the event was to engage local businesses and find out about what kind of content they would like to see delivered through Hub 109 in Erdington. Event was supported by Natwest and we would like to extend our gratitude to Matthew Jenkins for all his help.

Following on from that the next event will be held on the 17th July at Hub 109 and will focus on effective bid writing & support for SME’s, Start-ups and Third sector. The aim of the workshop is to prepare you on how to write better bids and funding applications as well as provide you with more information and knowledge on funding that is available.

Website design projects
We have also been busy working on website delivery for Table Football Plus and Birmingham Virtual Offices. As well as that we are currently rebranding and completely overhauling front and back end of The new website should be launching in a month’s time so watch this space.

Bid writing & support for SME’s, Start-ups and Third Sector.
We are proud to announce the launch of our new bid writing and support service aimed at SME’s and Third Sector. Having listened to needs and wants of local businesses we are partnering up with Paul Hanna who is coming on as head of bid development at Hub 109 and his role will be to deliver bid writing and support. Paul has over 20 years of experience in supporting and educating organisations with their bid writing and funding.

If you would like to bid on projects and tenders or need help with third sector funding we are more than happy to have free consultation and look at the options available in order to help your business develop, grow and succeed. 

So as you can see it has been a couple of busy months here at the Hub 109, we will be keeping you updated on our activities over the next few months.

Benefits of having virtual office

By HUB 109, posted 6th March, 2019
The question on your mind may be “what is virtual office”? The answer to that question may be a little vague but in essence virtual office is your business and mailing address. There are different virtual office services packages depending on the provider who may be offering a business address together with telephone answering service. Once you drill a bit deeper you will find various providers will offer packaged deals that include business address, mail forwarding and telephone answering with immediate message notification via email or text message. The term virtual office according to Wikipedia means provision of services, space and technology without those business bearing the capital expenses of owing or leasing a traditional office, so in layman’s terms it means having an office at a good business address without actually being there in person or paying a premium price for it. Virtual office services originally started around in 1960’s as serviced office models and have since evolved into offering a wide variety of services consisting of personnel, serviced office space and communications services.

What is so beneficial about Virtual office services?
Having spoken to business owners here in Birmingham we were told that there are number of benefits to having a good business address associated with your business and they are;

Protecting your privacy 
Number of small business owners have had bad experiences in the past when their company mailing or business address was their home address. The issues they faced related to a combination of security, legal and privacy issues. In terms of latter they were contacted on regular basis by various companies trying to sell them unwanted services or products. More seriously having a business registered at one’s home address made them a target for criminals who wanted to take their goods, equipment or tools. Furthermore, certain business owners were found to be in breach of their rental agreements by registering a business at someone else’s property, this seems to be the case with people who are tenants and have not been made aware of the fact that businesses cannot be registered at the property they are renting.

Impressing clients with business address
In HUB 109 case our address is 109 High Street, Birmingham which makes it a very desirable business address for a number of reasons. No matter what line of business you are in, once potential clients see you as being based on the High Street they will be impressed. Commercial properties on High Street are very big outlay and not many that are starting up in business will find the expense of basing themselves on High Street to be small.

Making your business look bigger than you are
Recently we had a chat with a small consulting company based in Birmingham which managed to present themselves as being a national company by using virtual office services. Even though their team only numbered 3 people what they did was to use virtual office services in major cities in UK and in effect pay the same or equal amount as they would for an office in one of those cities. They managed to work remotely and make themselves seem a lot bigger than they actually were and in turn increased their turnover by more than 500% in the first 2 years. So using virtual office is also a clever strategy for growing a your business and geographical area.

Virtual office is cost effective
Being cost-effective business at the start is one for the most important things that you can do in order to set yourself on the right path in order for your business to grow. Our virtual office clients have repeatedly told us that the only reason they are using Hub 109 is down to the fact that it is cost-effective and they can use those funds to promote their business in the beginning and also as the case has been if an existing business needs to cut overheads they can always scale down by reducing office rental associated expenses and use the money saved on something else.

Hub 109 provides the most cost-effective office solution for your business in Birmingham and wider, with years of experience we have found a right formula through a combination of low-cost services for virtual office to help your business grow or expand. So, if you are looking for virtual office in Birmingham that provides premium High Street address for your business and mailing handling services you do not need to look any further than HUB 109.
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Negative effects of working from home

By HUB 109, posted 26th February, 2019

As a result in developments ranging from online communication and project management tools, working from home has become almost a norm. According to Small Business portal the number of employees who work from home in the UK has increased by 25% in the last 5 years. This figure takes into account all those that either work one day a week or more from home so the true figure of those working from home full time might be even higher. The trend shows no signs of slowing down and the figure will most likely increase over the next few years. The terms such as freelancer, remote team member, digital nomad or working from home have become a standard of business vocabulary. However, the number of negative factors surrounding the terminology still exist and the negative effects of working from home will remain an issue in the future.

So, what are the negative effects of working from home:

Lack of mentoring
Due to the lack of belonging, mentoring and support there seems to be a huge disconnect from workers and management. For example, if you only see work colleagues or hear them through a conference call this will become an issue in management, development and camaraderie that you would usually associate with effective teams.

Laptop Only
Working only with your laptop in quiet environment of the home is good for some but you do need to have the usual bustle and noise of a shared office. Being able to stop by someone’s desk to ask for advice or to see how the project is going is essential part of every workplace.

Growing your business
Building and growing business is harder through remote work due to the fact that encouragement and enthusiasm are just harder to maintain with remote working. Again, this brings us back to the hassle and bustle of office or just having busy people around. At the end of the day you want team members or workers to be passionate about the work that they do, and it is quite hard to maintain that passion with remote workers.

Lack of passion
The passion will always be lacking without enthusiasm and motivation about a product or service and this is something that only comes through social engagement and interaction, it is very hard to express or maintain the spirit of your workers digitally.

Managing home workers
It is hard to manage home workers and in turn it is one of the negative effects on businesses, furthermore, it is proved that home workers get overlooked in a number of situations.

Mental Health
Working from home will make life easier at first as you will save time and money on travelling to and from work, but it can be very bad for individual’s mental health. We as humans are social creatures and as such working and not seeing anyone can make us feel cut off. 

The obvious solution to the above lies in the use of co-working and shared office spaces that encourage greater interaction between its members. Going to events or attending workshops, coffee mornings or simply talking to a fellow co-working member about the current project that you are working on and sharing your ideas with them will do you a lot of good. This not only creates positive mental attitude and improves well-being but also makes you feel more connected and a part of wider community of remote workers who would have shared the same experiences.

What is Co-working? 

By HUB 109, posted 19th February, 2019

With significant uptake in co-working it is time to explain the origins and the concept to those who are not fully aware of all the benefits that co-working model offers.

Co-working as a concept is nothing new, you will find first co-working spaces have been founded as far as 1903, however there were probably co-working spaces in existence even before that, just think of the original co-working spaces or market places where people came to trade and offer goods for sale.  The official resources state that the first co-working space was founded in 2005 by Brad Neuberg in San Francisco and this well may be true if it was not for the likes of Marx Dixon setting up the serviced office provider Regus in 1980’s or Schraubenfabrik in Vienna. The turning point did came in 2005 when Apple sold more laptops than desktop pc’s and this tells us that with mobility as a factor the traditional office model started to change as well.  

If you do a bit of research you will find that coworking is a shared serviced office space where entrepreneurs, remote workers, consultants, freelancers, and anyone else who wants access to a fully-equipped office space can get membership. Co-working has evolved over the years into a much wider phenomenon and a lot of co-working spaces refer to themselves as a community of like minded individuals or business. This is due to the fact that it co-working spaces act as business networks and encourage their members to refer work or expertise to each other. There are those spaces which are more corporate and are primarily focused on serviced office model rather than community and they do have their advantages as well. 

Co-working model also plays a huge part for those businesses that don’t necessarily need and office space but a place where they meet their clients or use the address for their business. Specifically this refers to using meeting room on ad hoc basis or business address to present themselves in a more professional light. 

This brings us to 2019 and London is currently crowned the capital of coworking, with more coworking spaces than New York, San Francisco and Berlin. In Birmingham the co-working figure is a lot less in comparison but the sector has experienced exponential growth over the last few years.

To summarise the co-working is cost-efficient model which offers businesses flexible workspace with short term contracts, encourages sense of community and provides excellent networking opportunities for members.

HUB 109 ticks all of the above but we are also here to help local businesses grow and create number of long term benefits for the residents of Birmingham and wider. If you are a start-up or a business looking for co-working space outside of City Centre, Hub 109 is an ideal choice.


All the reasons why you should choose HUB 109 as the space to work from? 

By HUB 109, posted 12th February, 2019

Consider the variety of ways that the work place has evolved over the years and you will notice that flexibility is the key to that. 

Co-working space in Erdington
There seems to be a sense that Birmingham and West Midlands generally are trailing the flexibility of office space offered in London or Manchester but that is not the case. If you were to look for coworking space in Birmingham you will find that there is plenty on offer. There are co-working spaces from major multinational companies as well as smaller providers, locations are also varied, from Birmingham city centre, Digbeth and Harborne to Northfield and Sandwell. Now there is a Co-working space in Erdington as well and it is called HUB 109, based on the High street and offering variety of packages for our clients. Whether you are looking for hot-desk to work from, dedicated desk, meeting room or virtual office address you will find it here.

Our core mission
Co-working space aside, HUB 109 is a lot more than that as our core mission is to support start-ups and SME’s in terms of advice, consultancy and networking opportunities. Our mission, and we did decide to accept it is to provide support and guidance to all those who are seeking social, environmental as well as financial impact for Birmingham and wider. HUB 109 co-working space is not just a space where people work from but it also a space where they get access to networking opportunities as this is something that is at the core of HUB 109. Creating a network of local businesses that essentially refer the work and clients to each other. One of the biggest barriers to new businesses is accessing these networks and overcoming obstacles.

HUB 109 knowledge base
Cost-effective solutions for businesses and access to networks in Birmingham and wider are just the start, what we also provide are the workshops and events organised here at the HUB 109 with the aim educating, training and inspiring all those who are contributing to local economy. Our aim is to create a knowledge base which can be used by all those businesses to improve their processes, cut down on costs and become more efficient with the aim of creating value in long term.

Experience of start up process
HUB 109 was founded from personal experience of start up process that finding the right and affordable space to work from, getting the support and advice as well as accessing professional networks and meeting the right people all present big barriers for new businesses. But the single biggest obstacle for start ups is the cost and inflexibility of workspace accommodation and we were convinced that we could help with that.

Advantages of being on High Street
Our premises have just been renovated and we offer not just the fibre optic Wi-fi but also use of our business address, so your business card says ‘109 High Street, Birmingham’. There is free meeting room use for our members as well as discount on meeting room day bookings available. When your clients comes to meet you the reception is staffed and free tea & coffee are included. With confidence we can say that there is no other co-working space in Erdington or Birmingham that offers the same pricing, facilities and business support.