Hot offer for local businesses

Community Manager Rienna Kroh and CEO Debbie O’Connor at The Creative Fringe. Photo: Melinda Jane
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Innovative co-working space The Creative Fringe is offering a ‘pay what you want’ initiative for a desk through the month of March.

The initiative aims to help small business owners, especially home-based businesses, afford desk hire in their space, while finding the perfect work-life balance.

CEO Debbie O’Connor said that the idea will help local businesses grow and develop.

“We have seen so many people come into our co-working space and benefit from being here,” she said.

“They’re able to separate work and their home life.

“They come in and connect, and they’re finding that they’re working more productively and they’re more motivated.”

Business owners will be able to hire a desk, have access to NBN Wi-Fi, use the meeting rooms, break areas and enjoy free tea and coffee while connecting and collaborating with others in the space.

“It seems like business suicide to say, ‘well what do you think it’s worth? Just pay what you want’,” Ms O’Connor said.

“But pay what you want is about giving people an opportunity to be able to hire a desk on their own budget, so that they can’t use money as a barrier.”

By changing the space to include more private offices, there is a steady monthly income that has allowed for the reduced cost of hiring a desk space.

Ms O’Connor’s main business, White River Design, also resides in The Creative Fringe after operating as a home-based business for the first eight years.

“I know the challenges, I’m not coming from a pie in the sky kind of thing,” she said.

“I had staff coming into my house, and it got to the stage where my kids would come home from school and I would say, ‘don’t leave your bag there, be quiet’.

“Home really was not being home anymore, home was turning into a workplace.”

If the Penrith business community embraces the initiative, The Creative Fringe hopes to use this model of hot desk hiring in the future.

“Business is so hard, it’s hard enough and we don’t need to make it harder,” Ms O’Connor said.

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