• September 20, 2019

That’s right, we are celebrating our 12th birthday in October this year. Where has the time gone? They grow up so fast! Actually for us 12 years sounds about right, it has been a wonderful, long adventure full of learning, growth and making friends. In this blog Phillip Reid, who’s been with TMP for 9 of the last 12 years, will take a look back at The Melting Pot’s journey. If the past is anything to go by we’ve got a bright future ahead of us!

‘Potty’ training

October 2007 saw the birth of Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation after years of planning and construction. It was an exciting time for everyone involved in the project. Shortly after the doors opened at TMP on the 4th floor of Thorn House we were welcoming new friends, coworkers and colleagues into our life. 
We were settling in nicely to our new home with the help of TMP’s first members and over the course of the first couple of years of TMP’s life, just like the beginning of most journeys, we were still learning to walk. How do we run a coworking space? There were no other coworking spaces in the country to refer to or gain advice from so we did the best we could. As time went on and with the help of our original Potters, we began to build our community.

Planting seeds

In 2012 TMP turned 5 years old. We celebrated by planting around 100 trees at Vogrie Park with the help of our wonderful staff, members and volunteers. This was a fantastic milestone for us and after 5 years TMP was finally in a position to, not just help to grow trees, but to grow the seeds of good ideas…

2012 saw the launch of our incubation programme, Good Ideas (back then it was known as the Social Innovation Incubator Award). We helped the first of many groups of social innovators turn their great ideas into a socially impactful business. Good Ideas still continues to help start up social innovators, we now use a mature incubation methodology – we’ve even developed the incubation canvas. This year we’re running parallel programmes in Edinburgh and Glasgow for the first time ever, we’re very proud of how far we’ve come.

Whilst watching the startup social innovators grow through the Good Ideas programme, we were also watching our coworking member’s businesses thrive. We found that hot desking was no longer suitable for everyone as their businesses expanded. As much as we loved to see our members succeed, we were always sad to see them leave. So after a lot of planning and design ideas, followed by 2 weeks of hard work by our friends and volunteers, TMP v2 was born! We had a new look space and introduced Fixed Desks. This allowed our members to have their own permanent space and still gain all the benefits of being part of a coworking community.

All grown up

As time rolled on The Melting Pot became more established. We watched the coworking movement flourish and grow into a fully fledged industry. New coworking spaces are opening up around the world and, with more than 2.2 million people expected to be working in 22,000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of 2019, this shows no sign of slowing up.

As one of the oldest coworking businesses in the world, we had a lot of detailed insight to share. We also had significant experience supporting start up entrepreneurs through Good Ideas and a clear vision of how coworking can make the world a better place. We saw an opportunity to use these intersecting skills to make some serious impact and the Coworking Accelerator was born. The Coworking Accelerator helps coworking leaders globally build resilient and enterprising communities locally. We’ve smashed all our targets since launching in 2017 and this Autumn we launch a brand new portfolio of products.

October 2017 also marked a huge (HUGE) milestone for TMP as we celebrated our 10th birthday. Staff, members, alumni and stakeholders all came together for talks, fun facts and of course… cake. We looked back at 10 years of Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation and saw how Scotland’s social innovation community had transformed over a decade. We heard from friends we’ve made along the way. Learning fun facts such as TMP Hosts answered the intercom 75,000 times that year (it was at this point we decided to give our members keys) and hearing heartfelt tributes including from Yvonne Strachan, then Head of Equality, Human Rights and Third Sector at Scottish Government. Yvonne said: “The Melting Pot is part of the landscape but never part of the furniture. By that I mean that you’re always there to challenge and encourage us to think differently and do things differently.”

And we didn’t stop there! After 10 years as a popular meeting and events venue, we were at a point where we were turning away clients due to lack of availability. So we opened our second venue, The Melting Pot Studio @ The Crags Centre. This is a collaboration between TMP and fellow social enterprise The Crags Centre, a community-led sports centre co-founded by long time friend and former Head of Incubation Simon Turner. The enterprise has helped bring more income to 2 social enterprises and create a brand new job here at TMP.

The Melting Pot has grown up and scaled up! We’ve spent 12 years making a social impact:

  • Between 2012 and 2019 Good Ideas has incubated 84 different social ventures with 43% are still operating today (as compared to the UK average of 2/3 startups failing in their first few years).  
  • On average for each Good Idea supported, 3 new jobs are created, 10 volunteers are recruited and 1300 people benefit from their services – all within the first few years of their new venture starting trading
  • The Coworking Accelerator supports 153 CONNECT Network members in 41 countries
  • The products, consultancy and events provided by the Coworking Accelerator have helped 69 different organisations and 81 people EXPLORE their coworking ideas, develop leadership capacity and progress their business plans
  •  The Melting Pot’s coworking methodology has been shown to promote equality, improve well-being and increase impact, you can find out more in our 2018 Social Impact Report 

If you want to celebrate our 12th Birthday with us register here or if you’ve heard something that interests you get in touch to find out how you can be involved in the next 12 years of TMP [email protected]