We can categorize the business development market as largely an office based activity.
There is not one commercially run Makerspace in Australia that can be accurately described as a Product Development incubator aimed at the emerging designer and bespoke Maker.
…. Until now.
Space Tank Studio is the first company to start meeting the demand that is there.
High Aussie wages, un-affordable real estate and lack of access to good machinery and technology are restricting the way we make and innovate. There is also a glaring lack of financial support for innovators and creative enterprise in the development phase between idea and product. Our banks and industry rarely help creative entrepreneurs during the product development phase because the risk is too high.
Creative businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to survive. By understanding our maker community’s present and future needs, it becomes evident that well-rounded Product Development Incubator’s can provide ‘makerspace strongholds’ in our evolving manufacturing landscape.
With this in mind, Holger Dielenberg built Space Tank Studio (STS) in North Coburg, Melbourne. STS officially opened for business in January this year. It is a Makerspace filled with machinery and technology where people can work on product development and low volume bespoke manufacturing. It is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, prototype new products, network and do business.
STS provides full time studios, casual workshop memberships, ‘skill up and go’ courses and access to equipment and testing facilities. We give creative professionals a range of affordable solutions to make their designs or learn the skills required to advance their trade.
Facilities include, 12 workshop studios, 3D printing and laser cutting, wood working machine room, welding bay, bronze forge, spray booth, community space for classes and events, links between trade suppliers and end user, social media and web based advertising, exhibitions and events, artist in residence program and promotion for sponsors.
Students, designers, creative businesses, startups, even larger companies who need prototyping solutions, come to STS because it’s an affordable and quick way to access machinery and technology.
Councils and State Government have already visited STS because, in their words, “the concept demonstrates how inner city manufacturing hubs solve many problems, provide growth opportunities and it’s a road map for the future of manufacturing.” It is a low footprint, high output manufacturing model that can serve a multitude of maker needs and support hundreds of individual businesses.
There are many creative studios in Melbourne and some share tools and machinery. These studios often close down due to urban redevelopment, internal politics and disorganisation. STS solves the problems other studios encounter by applying a fitness gym principle to tool sharing. In the first eight months of operation, STS in Melbourne is receiving strong and immediate demand.
Imagine a dream factory where anybody can prototype any design, build any kind of object out of any kind of material with any kind of technology or machinery. Where you can collaborate with like-minded individuals and people with different skill sets. This is the natural breeding ground of innovation.
Where collaboration builds organically, traditional thresh holds don’t exist. A wealth of opportunity is exposed when people can gather on common ground and connect in a supportive environment. Due to their involvement with STS, five creative businesses are already representing Australian furniture in the Shanghai furniture show and Tent London this September and October. Individual designers and artisans are being exposed to and hired by industry and technology companies who sponsor STS are being exposed to end users of their equipment.
STS turns the traditional pyramid value stack on its head. Instead of thousands of individuals employed by hundreds of companies owned by a few corporations – an evolved makerspace supports hundreds of individuals who develop dozens of products, companies and services that become new growth industries in the future.
Space Tank Studio is paving the way for how inner city manufacturing hubs can operate. It is a complex mix of many manufacturing methodologies and business connections but the outcome is simple. Provide emerging makers with affordable high end equipment so that they can bring new products to market.