“We can think bigger than just economics – provide space to be in a community and contribute to the wider community” – Bootstrap London

Based in London, Bootstrap is a community that is home to over 300 creative businesses, as well as social enterprises and charities. The company aims to reach out the greater community by nurturing a diverse workforce through training events and their latest project, Bootstrap Campus, which provides support for 16-24 yr old’s  through workshops and work placements. We spoke with chief executive and speaker at this year’s Coworking Europe, Sara Turnbull, about her work with Bootstrap and what she expects from this year’s conference.

Hi Sara, tell us a bit about the Bootstrap company and what types of services you offer to your members and how it relates to the community in London and also throughout Europe.

We have a range of desks, studios, makers spaces and containers available to social and creative entrepreneurs. There’s a roof-top bar – three cafes, in addition to a bakery, brewery, recording studio, editing suite, meeting rooms and, of course, a reception with a gallery. At the space, we also offer networking, subsidized rents for startups and social enterprises to help members grow and develop their business. We also run enterprise training for young entrepreneurs to help them get started and ask our hosted businesses to mentor and employ the young people if it is a good fit.

In your opinion is coworking self-sustainable? If not, what needs to develop in order for to become more so?

Coworking is a part of how work is changing, but not the be all or end all. In the context of London, a significant shift in planning policy and land values are making workspace operators find it hard to compete with a residential sector. Although many operators are succeeding, it is not a given that the workspace is self-sustainable. I think we need to think bigger than just economics too – we need to provide space for people to be in a community – contribute to the wider community, learn to love, laugh and enjoy life and work.

Can the open workspace/coworking model play an important role in regenerating communities? If so, how? And why is this innovative model of work important to how we understand the future of work?

Yes! By breaking down the barriers to employment and entrepreneurship and making an enjoyable place to work open to everyone. We do this through our Bootstrap Campus programme and cultural programme

In your opinion, what are future workspaces lacking?

Sara Turnbull

Sara Turnbull

I can’t see the future – but I would say many present day places of work lack a spirit of love and joy and a recognition that we are all human. Contemporary workers need to feel that their work means something, like links to other people and the support they need to improve.


What benefits do/will you get from attending the Coworking Europe conference?

I think one of the benefits would be having my mind opened to new ideas

What will you be speaking about at this year’s conference?

I will be speaking about the workspace and the community in London