The Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization (SCREDO) is expanding the FUSE Community Workhub into Sechelt and Pender Harbour and moving the original FUSE in Gibsons to a bigger location.
SCREDO purchased the assets of FUSE, which was privately run at the time, for $9,000 in 2018 and has been running it at 292 Gower Point Road ever since.
“Workhubs such as FUSE have been a crucial step in launching and supporting small businesses, meeting new business contacts, resources, and performing the crucial role of incubator for the growing population of entrepreneurs that contribute to the Sunshine Coast economy and reputation,” SCREDO said in the Jan. 21 release announcing the expansion plan.
The new location in Gibsons will be about double the current 700 sq. feet, the Sechelt FUSE will be about 1,200 sq. feet downtown and the organization is still finalizing the details on the Pender Harbour site, according to SCREDO chair David Chisholm.
“Our mandate is to be a regional organization that serves all neighbourhoods on the Sunshine Coast,” Chisholm said in the release. “We are excited to expand FUSE to these additional locations and offer greater flexibility to entrepreneurs and nonprofits.”
Chisholm also told Coast Reporter that the organization has set aside a renovation budget of up to $20,000 in order to get the Sechelt location ready for a March 1 opening and more details about the cost of the expansion project will be included in SCREDO’s next progress report.
SCREDO also hopes to have the Pender Harbour location up and running by March 1.
The existing FUSE location in Gibsons will stay open until the larger office is ready to open.
The organization also said the Community Resource Centre, which “has been central in the effort to pilot a ‘Community Resource Lab’ with support from Community Futures, SCREDO, the Chambers of Commerce, and Sechelt Downtown Business Association,” will be relocating to the site beside the new Sechelt FUSE later in the spring.
The FUSE hubs will provide infrastructure and resources for what SCREDO describes as “the growing Sunshine Coast community of telecommuters, digital nomads, and self-employed contractors.”
For a fee, members get 24/7 access to an office space equipped with shared high speed Internet, consultation rooms for small meetings and a boardroom for large meetings.
“A regional FUSE co-working network will assist a wider coast audience by providing professional development opportunities, entrepreneurial support, and networking events in addition to a positive space to conduct business,” said SCREDO program manager Chris Hergesheimer.