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[VIDEO] Toowoomba’s Canvas Coworking was built according to the Boulder Thesis

Beyond the ping pong tables, coworking spaces are all about community and the connections they help people make – and for most spaces, it all starts with the founders.

And so it is in Toowoomba, where Joy Taylor and David Masefield have spent the last few years building up Canvas Coworking. As well as being home to a number of Toowoomba startups, the space plays host to Startup Weekends, startup bootcamps helping founders develop and validate their ideas, and a variety of meet ups and classes.

The space was built according to the ‘Boulder Thesis’, with Taylor and Masefield seeing the similarities between the Colorado town of Boulder and Toowoomba and their communities.

Developed by entrepreneur and investor Brad Feld, the Boulder Thesis holds that: entrepreneurs must lead the entrepreneurial community, not professors, policymakers, or agency administrators; the community must have a porous boundary by including the entire stack of entrepreneurs, from experienced serial entrepreneurs, to nascent entrepreneurs, to individuals thinking about startup companies; the community must have organised activities that engage people in the entrepreneurial context; and that community leaders must commit for the long term, at least twenty years.

“What it comes down to is the people and the community and what they’re willing to accept and expect, and drive,” she said.


The process of getting the community on board hasn’t been easy, with Taylor and Masefield having to spend time explaining the concept. Through this process, however, Taylor said they have been adamant about explaining that coworking is open to everyone.

“Coworking isn’t just about startups, it’s about community, so if you work someone else, like a corporate but you have the flexibility to work from home or another office, being part of this community will improve for yourself your connections within the community, you can share with others so that they can learn and grow, and in return you’ll learn things you never even knew you didn’t know,” she explained.


With Taylor having travelled to San Francisco as part of the Startup Catalyst Community Leaders’ Mission and attended the Coworking Unconference Asia, Canvas Coworking has been shaped in part according to best practice models seen overseas, with Taylor having a particular focus on promoting collaboration.


In her travels, Taylor also saw the benefits of startups thinking positively.


Image source: Canvas Coworking.

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