The Creative Space Barrie's Coworking Community for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. Sat, 08 Oct 2016 00:51:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Big Rocks of Coworking Thu, 12 May 2016 17:26:20 +0000 There are a million and one things to consider when thinking about launching a coworking space. Other than focusing on the business side of things, I’ll focus this article on some of the higher level things one should consider. There’s a modern day parable illustration that shows If you want to fill the Jar of Life to it’s maximum capacity, you put the big rocks in first. If you wait till after you’ve filled it with other tiny stones, sand and water, you’ll find there’s no room for the big rocks. So what are the “big rocks” with a coworking space? As we developed our space and in looking at other successful spaces, I see three as crucial.



One of the most frequently offered advice around starting a space is to start with community. Building a vision among friends and colleagues offers one of the key elements to creating something great. Trusted critique. We tell each other the hard truth. We offer tough love. And we have each other’s back. It’s the type of advice you’ll take to heart. So, find a few others you like and love to work with and meet in some free space. Doesn’t have to perfect. You’re together for each other not because the place is cool. That said – it should have a level of comfort so you can work. You’ll need decent wireless, comfy chairs and tables. It could be someones house, a local coffee shop or library. Duration is up to you and others. And how long the coffee shop owner will tolerate you guys!

Once you have some momentum, plan a more formal gathering like a Jelly or a Meetup where you spread the word to other entrepreneurs, startups to come to a free day of coworking. Invite the press and talk about “what could be” referencing other spaces as inspiration. Connect with your local Chamber, networking groups, business enterprise centers, city economic development office, local ward councillors, etc. If there is a University or college, set a time to chat with them to see how the space may benefit their needs or better yet they could partner somehow. Maybe start a Facebook page and see what kind of conversations come up. And keep listening to your community. As it grows there’s more to hear and more to think about.


After a few months (timeline will be different for every community) look for COMMITMENT to take it to the next level and eventually take on some dedicated space. It’s all about the community as to where they would love to work everyday. For us it was downtown, old building, high ceilings, etc. The timeline could be 3-6-12 months. There are a lot of other marketing things you should do, but a good communications plan will flesh that out. (name, branding, website, social media, etc) Commitment means to enter into a lease or rent agreement where day one your rent is paid and you hopefully have commitment for at least 6-12 months. I found it took about 6 months AFTER we moved in to then generate the buzz and following to keep the membership flow, flowing.


During the entire process and especially after you’ve found your home, there needs to be CARE. As a space owner, operator, manger, servant (you pick a title) your role is to care for the membership. Eventually you’ll find others to join you in that care. Listen to their ideas, their concerns. Implement the good ones and give props. The space needs to be the community’s space. This will help to form the personality of the space. Tell the stories, celebrate the success and learn for your mistakes. Overall, stay connected to the coworking community locally and globally. There’s a wealth of knowledge and support there!

I’d recommend subscribing to and tap into Alex’s courses if you can. Another great resource is the Coworking Wiki.


Barrie’s Coworking Community
Perfect for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs.
12 Dunlop St E, Barrie Ontario, L4M 1A3, Canada
Memberships start at $25/mth

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Startup Canada Partners with The Creative Space and 7 Other Ontario Startup Hubs Tue, 29 Dec 2015 16:24:07 +0000 Toronto, O.N., December. 14, 2015 | Thanks to a new partnership between Startup Canada and eight Ontario co-working spaces –  CoMotion on King (Hamilton), Co-work Niagara Co-operative Inc. (St. Catharines), Impact HUB Ottawa (Ottawa) LabB (Brampton), LabTO (Toronto), The Creative Space (Barrie), Offices That Work! (Peterborough) and UnLondon Digital Media Association (London) – entrepreneurs now have more co-working opportunities across Ontario. These entrepreneur hubs are recipients of Startup Canada’s Startup Space Fund, the non-profit organization announced today.

The announcement comes after a call-for-proposals was issued by Startup Canada in early September to partner with grassroots, entrepreneur-led co-working spaces, incubators, and makerspaces across Canada to create or provide physical spaces for Startup Canada Members to start and grow their businesses.

“The partnerships established through the Startup Canada Startup Space Fund will give entrepreneurs living in and travelling to Ontario easy access to innovative places to work,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO of Startup Canada. “It’s another step forward in connecting entrepreneurs to local support and showcasing what the province has to offer.”

The spaces will be made available to entrepreneurs through the Startup Canada Passport, a component of the Startup Canada Membership Program, which launches in 2016. The spaces were chosen based on regional demand, the innovative nature of the space, and additional benefits provided to Startup Canada Members.

The Startup Canada Startup Space Fund is one of five Startup Canada Investment Funds. As Startup Canada travelled the country with its #EveryEntrepreneur Tour this fall, the organization announced recipients of the Startup Canada Startup Space Fund across the country, as well as recipients of the TruShield Insurance Retail Startup Fund, the Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurship Fund, and the Startup Canada Community Investment Fund.

The Startup Canada Startup Space Fund is supported by Intuit QuickBooksTruShield InsuranceTELUS and UPS, industry leaders committed to strengthening the national entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada through grassroots startup initiatives.

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

Kathryn Forrest

Communications & Marketing Manager, Startup Canada

1-844-782-7801 ext. 106

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is a grassroots network of more than 125,000 entrepreneurs and more than 500 like-minded organizations that support entrepreneurs and small businesses as the voice of Canada’s startup community. Learn more at

Quotes from the recipients

CoMotion on King

  • “CoMotion on King is excited to be a resource and a hub for startup companies and entrepreneurs,” said Tammy Hwang, Co-founder and President of CoMotion of King.  “This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and companies to get looped into an amazing network like Startup Canada and we look forward to supporting that effort.”

Coworking Niagara

  • “Cowork Niagara members have always been active participants in the Niagara startup ecosystem,” said Trevor Twining, President of Cowork Niagara. “This formal partnership with Startup Canada is a logical extension of that activity and we couldn’t be happier to help Startup Canada build this pan-Canadian support network for entrepreneurial activity.”

Impact HUB Ottawa

  • “Impact HUB Ottawa is thrilled to be part of Startup Canada’s ecosystem for building entrepreneurship across the country and in the national capital, connecting members to HUB’s vibrant coworking space and cross-sector community, as well as providing an opportunity for startups to plug into Impact HUB’s global network of 11,000+ social entrepreneurs and innovators around the world,” said Heather Ward, Director of Community, Impact HUB Ottawa.


  • “We are excited to partner with Startup Canada to continue to build the entrepreneurial  ecosystem in Brampton,” said Harpreet Zingh, co-founder of LAB B Coworking. “This grant allows us to plug into the amazing work that Startup Canada has been doing.”


  • “The digital economy has meant more Canadians are working remotely, freelancing, or starting businesses,” said David Hamilton, Managing Director at LabTO. “At LabTO we want to humanize this new economy by bringing people together in a new type of collaborative office environment where they can generate new connections and new inspirations. Our partnership with Startup Canada means our Toronto co-working space can connect more people from more places across Canada.”

The Creative Space

  • “The Creative Space has, over the past six years, created a hub for startups and ‘treps to find community, learn, collaborate and grow their companies,” said Chad Ballantyne, owner of the Creative Space. “Being a pioneer is not easy and any support and validation can mean so much. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that The Creative Space was chosen to receive a $500 grant from Startup Canada!  It was perfect timing too, as we’ve also begun the process of becoming a Startup City!  Thank you so much and we look forward to showing Canada just how startup ready Barrie is!”

Offices That Work!

  • “Offices That Work! assists our community through creating a dynamic ecosystem that provides space, cuts overhead and limits risks involved with starting or maintaining your own business,” said Offices That Work! owner Alvin Schieck. “Our space is perpetually evolving in order to accommodate our community entrepreneurs and we look forward to injecting the grant funds from our Startup Canada partnership to help facilitate growth in our building to assist us in meeting our communities entrepreneurial needs.”

UnLondon Digital Media Association

  • “Through the support of Startup Canada and their Startup Space Fund, UnLondon will continue to build the premier hub for media artists, freelancers and the creative community across Southwestern Ontario at 121 Studios in downtown London,” said Titus Ferguson, Executive Director at UnLondon Digital Media Association. “We look forward to advancing entrepreneurship and small businesses through increased programs, events and space.”
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Junior Achievement chooses The Creative Space (TCS) as their Company Program Hub Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:46:25 +0000 Junior Achievement chooses Barrie’s coworking facility, The Creative Space (TCS) as their Hub for meetings and collaboration aimed at helping Teens as they aspire to launch their own small businesses!

BARRIE, ONTARIO, October 1, 2015– Junior Achievement and Barrie’s coworking facility, The Creative Space (TCS) are pleased to announce a partnership aimed at helping teens as they aspire to launch their own small businesses!.

Junior Achievement (JA) will start the Company Program in Barrie on Tuesday October 25 from 3:00-5:00 pm at TheCreativeSpace at 12 Dunlop Street (right at Five Points).

JA is the largest and fastest growing not-for-profit education organization in the world, with over a 90 year history (58 in Canada), now reaching more than 10 million students in 130 countries every year. JA equips students with financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship skills to succeed in the 21st century.

Nancy Clark, the director for the Chapter in Barrie, said, “I knew the the Creative Space would be an ideal environment for the students to be inspired as they collaborate and interact while launching their small businesses.”

Chad Ballantyne, the Owner of TCS, states, “I have huge heart for helping young people do what makes them come alive and we’re honoured to help sponsor their time here!”

Craig Busch of Busch Systems is also a sponsor of the program and has graciously donated a ‘TrepDesk for the year for any young entrepreneur to use!  See Trepdesk for more details.

About The Creative Space

The Creative Space (@acreativespace) is coworking space which gives freelancers, start-ups and micro-businesses the opportunity to work and collaborate in a creative community focused atmosphere. Visit for more information.

About JA

JA’s flagship program, the Company Program, is an 18-week extracurricular offsite after-school program that provides high school students the opportunity to experience the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship by creating and running their own company. Students receive a solid understanding of business and entrepreneurship, and enhance their critical thinking and presentation skills, along with several other significant benefits at no cost — students are provided with all of the resources that they will require!

Please contact us at if you are interested in finding out more about the Company Program running in Barrie and sharing this opportunity with students.

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ventureLAB and The Creative Space (TCS) announce a partnership Thu, 24 Dec 2015 03:51:01 +0000 ventureLAB and Barrie coworking space, The Creative Space (TCS) announce a partnership collaboration aimed at helping build a Barrie-based global start-up ecosystem

BARRIE, ONTARIO, December 7, 2015ventureLAB and Barrie’s coworking facility, The Creative Space (TCS) are pleased to announce a partnership collaboration aimed at helping build a Barrie-based global start-up ecosystem.

The Creative Space is a valued partner in the City of Barrie’s business development strategy, which includes fostering business growth, investment and attracting and retaining a talented  workforce. ventureLAB is a provincially recognized and funded not-for-profit, an Ontario Regional Innovation Centre and part of a collaborative network called the  Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). ventureLAB supports the commercialization of business ideas in York Region as well as Barrie, Simcoe County and Muskoka District as an important delivery partner on innovation initiatives that drive economic growth and job creation.

The partnership will further connect Barrie innovation hub partners to the Ontario wide innovation hub and serves shared objectives, including bringing innovative solutions to market, mobilizing and increasing access to investment capital, and driving job creation.

“We’re delighted to announce this collaboration between The Creative Space and ventureLAB,” said Karen Dubeau, Director of Partner Engagement at ventureLAB. “It takes an ecosystem to raise an entrepreneur. Partnering with The Creative Space will help create opportunities for innovative companies in Barrie to access an increased number of resources to help them grow locally and globally. We are excited about this and very much look forward to our collaboration.”

“Since launching the Creative Space in 2009, we’ve been doing all we can to nurture the startup community in Barrie, said Chad Ballantyne, Tummler at The Creative Space, Barrie.  We knew early on we needed strategic partners to really see this thing spark.  We see this partnership as one of many key relationships in the Barrie startup eco-system, including the City of Barrie, Georgian College, the County of Simcoe and others.”

The agreement between The Creative Space and ventureLAB strengthens the collaboration of all the innovation partners in Barrie and Simcoe County. ventureLAB anticipates developing entrepreneurial programs at TCS along with those of Barrie innovation partners including Invest Barrie, Georgian College, The Georgian Angels, The Barrie Small Business Centre and others.

About The Creative Space
The Creative Space (@acreativespace) is coworking space which gives freelancers, start-ups and micro-businesses the opportunity to work and collaborate in a creative community focused atmosphere. Visit for more information.

About ventureLAB  
ventureLAB (@ventureLABca) is a non-profit Regional Innovation Centre, which cultivates, supports and celebrates innovative entrepreneurs. Located in York Region, an integral leader in the Digital Corridor, ventureLAB supports entrepreneurs at all stages across York Region, Simcoe County, Muskoka District and the GTA. ventureLAB is the place where talented entrepreneurs get help bringing their innovation to market. Visit for more information.



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smOffice Works! Thu, 05 Nov 2015 04:08:48 +0000

Wow, it’s already been four months since I got to work at the smOffice!

Earth to Kids continues to progress at warp speed and none of it would be possible without the support of my team, the great companies we’ve partnered with, the smOffice sponsors and mentors… I am SO grateful and SO excited for everything that’s happened and everything to come.

So where did we leave off? Well I was experiencing some challenges navigating manufacturing options, and I’m happy to say that we not only found a great co-packer to work with, but one right here in Barrie!! They’re certified organic, kosher and gluten-free, too! Together with our co-packer he have purchased and received the equipment we need to produce our chickpea pasta in large quantities! Woohoo!

If you haven’t heard too much about our pasta line, it’s called Chickapea and it’s awesome! Made from organic chickpeas and chia seeds – that’s it! It looks like pasta, tastes like pasta, but it’s waaaaay healthier. Just like eating a bowl of chickpeas, but yummier. AND it cooks in half the time of traditional pasta so it’s perfect for moms and people on the go

11921763_450613308458679_271257948235489256_oTo help us launch this exciting product, we were VERY fortunate to receive funding grants through both VentureLAB and the Ontario Centres for Excellence!

You can read more about these super helpful grants and how they’re going to help get Chickapea into stores near you, here.

Final_Logo-2The Chickapea logo and cute little bird creature was created by Rhubarb Media, a sponsor of the smOffice competition. Chad and his team have been so fun to work with and they not only created our logos, but have designed our marketing materials, and are currently working on our website and our packaging design!

Another wonderful company we’re working with, which is also a smOffice sponsor, is Catalyst Communications Choreography. Amanda and her team have really helped me tune into my customer, understand their wants and needs, and are now heading up our social media and communications strategy. As a team of women, most of which are moms, they really get me and my desire to help other moms by making mealtime easier and more fun.

Boardroom Meeting on Chickapea

Catalyst PR and Rhubarb Media brainstorming with Shelby about Chickapea

Both Rhubarb and Catalyst work out of the Creative Space in Barrie, which makes it super easy to all get together, brainstorm, get on the same page and execute. It’s like having my whole team in one place and I love it!

The next big thing on the agenda is our Kickstarter Campaign! We’ve been working really hard to create the best campaign possible and I’m excited to share that it will launch on Oct. 8th! The support from this campaign will help us in so many ways and contributors will be the first to receive Chickapea Pasta. Please check out our video and support us here.


So as you can see, it’s been a busy few months!

Between all these events, I’ve had some incredible and motivating meetings with Invest Barrie, VentureLAB, Stephen Jones of BDO, Craig Busch of Busch Systems, and of course, have had a comfy and stylin’ place to rest my head between all the craziness thanks to Todd Palmer and team at Pratt Homes Barrie. I look forward to connecting with the other sponsors this month so stay tuned!  All of this support has put my dreams within reach, and I continue to thank my lucky stars each and everyday to have this opportunity.

Don’t miss out on any Chickapea news or updates. Visit our website at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,



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Top 10 things we LOATH and LOVE about being an Entrepreneur Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:38:19 +0000 We did an exercise with a handful of treps at our bi monthly Open Coffee Club.
Answer these 2 questions;

1. What do you LOATH about being an entrepreneur?
2. What do your LOVE about being an entrepreneur?

Here’s the summery of our responses.
Top 10 things we entrepreneurs LOATH and LOVE about being an Entrepreneur

People asking for Free work
Inconsistent cash flow
Never Ending – Can’t turn it off – no boundaries
Putting out Fires – you’re the chief
unending Instability – free falling
Lack of appreciation
It can be a Ball and chain
Banks reaction to our needs

I’m the boss
Creative freedom – ideas can be pursued
Doing what you love
Client interaction
Being a mentor
Ability to be Agile/pivot
Choosing your clients/staff
Collaboration network
Competent – confident spiralling up.

We also said if you had 5 seconds with a wanna be trep, what advice or question would you pass down?Here’s our TOP TEN

Stability or Choice – choose one!
Are you passionate about it?
Can you make a living?
Have you done research?
Find a mentor/team.
Get training (courses, workshops) Lifelong learner
Lose the ego
Pursue greatness
Do the Research
Are you really a entrepreneur?

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Office Available – small space to do big things Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:19:43 +0000 APPLY TODAY

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3D printer Crowdfund Drive for SimCoLab Tue, 02 Dec 2014 01:24:30 +0000 Barrie’s first hackerspace ready for a 3D printer

indiegogo Campaign

We are a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to educate, hack, code, and have fun. We’d like to use this 3D printing to teach the community about the wonders of 3D printing, and the impact it will have on our future.
With this 3D printer we plan to do the following:
  • Provide educational opportunities about 3D printing, including  group classes and one-on-one instruction
  • Work with the community to develop prototypes
  • Make really awesome things, because making awesome things is awesome.
  • provide a modest revenue tool to keep the organization financially healthy (all SimCoLab members are volunteers)
Any extra revenue will go towards additional equipment.
What printer are we getting? Well that depends on how much we raise. We’ve been hearing a lot of great things about the printr bots. If you have a opinion on this, feel free to post on our G+, Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!
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Georgian College Helps EnTREPreneurs Find a Creative Space Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:26:40 +0000 IMG_0097


Click here to learn more about the TREPDesk

Everyone say thanks (like, follow, share) to this year’s first TrepDesk sponsor…


This is an amazing opportunity for community focused companies to support the up and coming businesses in the Barrie area. When you see how the program works you’ll see what a WIN, WIN, WIN it is!!

WIN: The ‘TREP gets space to work, meet and learn, plus mentorship from other TCS ‘Treps.

WIN: The sponsoring company feelw great about giving back, but also gets a part-time social media intern!  Part of the requirements of using the ‘TREPdesk is for the recipient to tweet, post, tag, etc. about what they are up to, while thanking their sponsor along the way.

WIN: For TCS, it allows us to continue to build Barrie’s current and upcoming entrepreneur and startup culture.


GC is also running 1-2 TREPTalks at the Space each month.  If you’re a student in the ‘trep program tell your proff to book a talk soon!  Here’s a great post about last year’s TREPTalks!


“Treps,” short for entrepreneurs: people who take risks and build businesses. Use was started on Twitter, to help keep Tweets under the 140 character limit. “Treps” most often refers to people who start a business with a lot of passion and little (or no) money.

]]> 0 Fibre for the Masses. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:54:03 +0000 badroads

Some of you may recall the little campign we launched last year around this topic using Thunderclap

I would guess that the goods and services that travel on our digital highways outweigh the physical goods in quantity and economic impact. Barrie, we need to start investing in the digital infrastructure. We heard from our Mayor that it’s been hard to keep up with the lousy roads, but the highways that we creative class drive on downtown, are equivalent to dirt roads, including potholes! The digital economy needs addressing if we want to attract and keep the digital entrepreneurs, startups and software developers. We need a Digital Economic Strategy and fast. Check out Olds Alberta, a great progressive community, a fraction of our size investing in Fibre for all!

Help us bring Fibre to our downtown and make it affordable for all!

Rural towns and villages already devastated by the exodus of local manufacturers to lower-wage countries now face further economic marginalization if they don’t build high-speed digital infrastructure. A report last year by the World Bank estimated that every 10-percentage-point increase in the availability of broadband boosted economic growth by 1.2 percentage points in developed countries. Better high-speed access may, in fact, be one of the tools Canada needs to improve its poor record of productivity growth.

Below is a thread of conversation I’m having with Olds.


Hi. Thanks for your note.  A background article on the project is attached. At this point, the network will reach the last home in the town next month and all services, including Gb/s Internet are up and running.

Olds Article.BBC.1210

I’d be very happy to chat to either answer some questions or see how we may be of help. It is Friday of a long weekend, though, and I’ve got a two documents to get out so next week would be much better for me than this aft.  At this point, my next week is fairly open except for Tuesday morning. What time(s) would work best for you?

Happy Thanksgiving, 




Thanks for the inquiry about O-NET.  I will attempt to give you a high level picture of our history.

We started our journey to installing fibre to all properties in Olds about 8 years ago and are in the last 3 or 4 weeks of completing the build.  In the beginning, we thought we would build a dark fibre network and have Shaw or Telus deliver services.  They, as it turned out, were not interested and thus we were forced to build our own central office with all of the electronics etc to offer phone, internet and TV services.  We have completed all of this after 8 years as I said above.  There are many questions to be asked and answered before you would start down this road.  The first being, do you only want to offer internet to businesses or all services to businesses and residents.  From our experience to date, I don’t believe you would get great support if you only offer internet to homes. 

You will need to figure out how to get fibre to all premises in your community.  Once you have that, then you can offer anything you want at any speed.  If you look at or google O-NET you will see our offerings and prices.

Our ownership is set up to delineate the dark fibre from the services.  Olds Fibre Ltd (OFL) is owned by the Olds Institute for Community & Regional Development (OI) which is a not for profit society to drive economic development and wellbeing in our community.  The OI owns the dark fibre network and charges OFL a fee for its use.  OFL owns all of the electronics and offers all of the services on the network.

Our total investment in our electronics is around $5M and you would have to invest this to turn on your 1st customer.  This could be a challenge. O-NET could help with this.

I am not aware of your terrain, (all of our fibre is underground) but if you could do aerial, the price to deploy fibre would be less.  Just guessing it would be around $1200 per premises passed.  

We are  community of about 8500 with approx. 4200 locations (businesses and residents and condos and apartments etc) Our financing has come from the community via loans from our council.

I hope this gives you a little overview of our network.  I would be willing to share whatever you want on our program.  If you are in Alberta at some point, I would be glad to show you around and host a meeting or whatever you like. 


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