Town business hub gives professionals a working space to be productive

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 May 2019

The Lighthouse aims to help like-minded professionals thrive, inspiring and enabling as many people as possible to start their own businesses and enable them to continue living locally. Picture: The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse aims to help like-minded professionals thrive, inspiring and enabling as many people as possible to start their own businesses and enable them to continue living locally. Picture: The Lighthouse

Simon Tutty

The Herald has been featuring different local businesses in the paper, celebrating the town's diversity. This week we hear from Louise Thompson and Cathy Debenham - the co-owners of The Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC, in Mill Street.

The Lighthouse aims to help like-minded professionals thrive, inspiring and enabling as many people as possible to start their own businesses and enable them to continue living locally. Picture: The LighthouseThe Lighthouse aims to help like-minded professionals thrive, inspiring and enabling as many people as possible to start their own businesses and enable them to continue living locally. Picture: The Lighthouse

Tell us about your business?

The Lighthouse is a Community Interest Company - which means it's by the community, for the community. The Lighthouse offers flexible workers from Exeter, who live in Sidmouth, a way to improve their work/life balance and cut the commute (and the parking fees).

It is for like-minded entrepreneurs, freelancers, micro-businesses, remote workers and self-employed people who need to work in a productive work-focused environment (no more clearing the kitchen table). Members not only pick up business within the community, they also meet people who are dealing with the same challenges that they are, members are really generous with sharing their knowledge and expertise and learning from each other. The Lighthouse was always intended to be about a friendly, fun community - we hold a comprehensive series of business master classes, educational workshops, productivity events and community socials. There are also regular social and professional gatherings.

Tell us about yourself.

We have both been working for ourselves for years. We set up The Lighthouse because we both want to work in a place where we can be our most productive selves. We know that collaboration, sharing ideas and peer-to-peer learning all lead to increased business growth. They also lead to more enjoyable working, less isolation and improved wellbeing.

What makes you different?

Working spaces abound in the big cities, and other Devon towns such as Barnstaple and Tiverton have launched them over the last five year or so - but there was nothing serving the whole Sid Valley. There is so much talent here - we wanted to provide a home and central community for it.

Tell us something that might surprise people us?

As a Community Interest Company, we are a not for private profit business and all our profits go back into the business and community. We are priced to be affordable even for the smallest of small businesses to enjoy our beautiful workspace and friendly community of professionals.

Visit thelighthousesidmouth.org for membership details and more information.

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