COHORT founder, Ben Howe, has been instrumental in building places for Gold Coast innovator tribes and will open this year’s Gold Coast Business Week.
With the eye of an artist, the mind of an advertiser and a decade of experience in commercial real estate, Ben Howe was perfectly positioned to transform the site of the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village into a whole new form of community engagement and innovation space. That new space, COHORT, fosters a community for the Gold Coast’s burgeoning entrepreneurial scene.
COHORT’s Get Up Gold Coast event will open Gold Coast Business Week 2019 where Ben Howe and the COHORT team will be available to discuss innovation and growth strategies. Tickets are now available.
“COHORT is an ongoing project and something I am committed to delivering as a long term vision,” Howe says. “We are working on creating a world class innovation space for the health industry in Queensland, so this will take many years. My mission is to consolidate, adapt and improve what we have to create an incubator that draws in entrepreneurs from all over the globe,” he adds.
Howe became the CEO at COHORT, the Gold Coast’s thriving innovation space, in 2018 after six years transforming three of the city’s most historic buildings as founder of CoSpaces.
As a self-described ‘placemaker,’ Howe uses his unique skillset to transform and activate city precincts that inspire creativity, collaboration and innovation across all business areas.
“I strive to create better spaces, better communities and a better city through the application of design principals,” he explains.
He has revamped the cities old treasures including the refurbished Ambulance Station in Southport and iconic hole in the wall coffee shop, Percy’s Corner, into 2500 square metres of commercial space that now includes over 100 co-working desks, 10 private offices, six meeting rooms, two event spaces a photography studio, café and rooftop bar.
In assessing his favourite projects, he nominates the conversion of the old Southport Ambulance Station into one of the first coworking spaces on the Gold Coast as a highlight, particularly as he has watched that community grow over the last seven years. But COHORT, he says, is a different beast all together and a very exciting challenge.
“Our focus is to support and connect start-up founders with programs and partners that will help them break the barriers to success. We have a health focus given our location in the heart of the Health and Knowledge Precinct,” Howe explains.
The Health and Knowledge Precinct, is a 10 to 15-year project that will transform the Gold Coast into a global location for high-tech development, research collaboration and the growth of the health and knowledge sector. It is anticipated to create 12,000 new jobs and an additional $1.4 billion to the State’s economy.
“The regenerated space will now build a stronger entrepreneurial community and is fully equipped with security, reception and concierge, and runs community programs and events—everything your business needs to succeed is located under one roof,” Howe says.
Howe reports that COHORT is already trailblazing on the innovation and growth front for the Gold Coast.
“We’ve created a shared space where health start-ups are connecting with emergency doctors in an organic way, and we’ve already seen partnerships and connections form that never would have happened before this space,” he says.
The COHORT philosophy is one that can be closely aligned with the concept of training ourselves to associate certain places with certain outcomes and COHORT has created an incubation hub for the best possible outcomes. As Howe would suggest, pick your place, on purpose.
For more information about COHORT, visit their website.
For more information about the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, visit their website.