Meet Huckletree Ancoats Founder and CEO Gabriela Hersham

We chat with Founder & CEO, Gabriela Hersham on what makes Huckletree Ancoats coworking space stand out from the crowd.

The world of work received a much-needed makeover in recent years. Old fashioned corporate offices unbuttoned its top collar to become trendy co-working spaces – young modern outfits suited for flexible working and hot-desking.

It’s estimated that 2.2 million people are working in more than 22,000 co-working spaces worldwide and Manchester has hungrily embraced the co-working phenomenon.

Huckletree, a pan-European business, is the latest to join Manchester’s working scene. As part of its plans to expand across Europe, the workplace accelerator will take over the city’s old Daily Express building to bring together local entrepreneurs from across digital, lifestyle and media.

It has also recently opened ‘themed hubs’ in Oslo and Dublin, with aims to re-energise the landscape of workspaces by prioritising long term members.

Founder and CEO, Gabriela Hersham, reveals how Huckletree hopes to move away from what it calls ‘short-termism’ in favour of curating environments that fuel the city’s creativity and innovation.

Why and how manchester became the new location for Huckletree?

We’ve had our eye on Manchester for some time. Manchester has always been a Northern powerhouse in the way of creativity and innovation, which is exactly the type of neighbourhood we want to be. Having marketplace heavyweights like Booking.com and Amazon in the area along with industry leaders like Google and BBC makes it a really exciting time for the city.

What’s different about Huckletree Ancoats compared to other workspaces in the city?

We started Huckletree based on the idea that you can’t change the world alone. All of our hubs are curated based on theme and sector, bringing together like-minded businesses, expertise, knowledge, capital and entrepreneurs under one roof. We believe and we’ve seen that this is how we deliver long term value to our community of members and encourage them to drive progressive outcomes for that sector. Shared workspace across private studios and open shared desk space is just the beginning; we offer networks and access to funding.

We love seeing our members outgrow our spaces, but we also understand that for those founders it means the scary task of going on to operate a sustainable business, and that’s where we can hope to play a bigger role.

Which companies are you working within manchester?

Our hub is designed for ambitious growing teams specialising in digital lifestyle and media, which includes consumer brands, immersive tech pioneers, creatives and investors. We want entrepreneurs and businesses who share a similar mindset and collaborative spirit and who will help us to champion progressive change in the tech and startup ecosystem.

We can also announce our first Manchester Ambassadors to join our 50+ Ambassador network; Liz Scott, Head of Entrepreneur Engagement from Tech Nation’s and Marc Shipman from Beringea as our first Manchester- based Ambassadors. Both are right at the heart of the industry and help to set the precedent for the work we’re committed to doing in Manchester.

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How do we feel about being in the historic Express Building?
We have taken our time to scout and secure the right buildings, locations and areas, not just floors of vacant office space. We want buildings with unique histories, known for bringing people together, that can act as town halls within the neighbourhood, building communities. It’s a dream to open our first workspace in the city in the old Express Building. It was considered ‘space-age’ when it was first built back in the 1930s, and it still retains so much of that character today.

We love that it is part of the history of the city and in one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods on the edge of the Northern Quarter. What can people expect from the space?

As a member of Huckletree, there will be the different membership options to suit different founders and teams including hot-desking and studios, as well as events, breakout spaces and wellness classes. But for us, as I’ve said, it’s about a lot more than the functional parts of the space.

We know that, similarly to founders across our community, accessing and securing funding is difficult. It’s still a game of who you know and there’s
a lot of structural and personal bias that prevents more diverse founding teams from getting access to capital. We’re committed to fairer funding and helping more founders get the support they need to take and absolutely nail investor meetings. Our in-house accelerator Alpha takes a cohort of early-stage founders on a 12-week programme to get them ready and we target underrepresented founders specifically. We also host VC Grind every month (VC office hours) and will be hosting our first with Beringea in October at Huckletree Ancoats.

What’s the Huckletree community like?

I like to think that our Huckletree community is ambitious, generous, brave. We curate our spaces; meaning we bring in teams and businesses that share similar values, with a particular mindset, who want to give back, share what they know and contribute to the ecosystem. You’ll find a lot of productivity, meetings and mentoring in our spaces mixed with energy, positivity and curiosity (and of course, bright colours). It’s fascinating and rewarding to see different teams – like a shipping and freight disruptor and a beauty tech ‘solopreneur’ – come together, share ideas and make those ideas go to work. I actually love that no two locations are the same and that every building and theme will attract new people with new challenges, that’s what keeps things dynamic and interesting.

For more information, visit huckletree.com

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Words by ollie

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