On our Monday visit to Penzance we knocked on the doors of Digital Peninsula Network, DPN (http://www.digitalpeninsula.org). The largest network of ICT and digital businesses in Cornwall is physically located in an old brewery yard behind the shopping district. Here we were friendly welcomed by an assistant manager, who was still awaiting his managing director to return from his holidays. We had a short conversation on the topic DPN, whilst the AM made a note for his boss and referred me to other places in Penzance (handing me torn pieces of paper with handwritten addresses, which reminded me that there still are people like me who exchange info in paper format).
As I had already acknowledge through my research, the DPN was initiated as a space for the creatives of Cornwall to come and use proper wifi since the peninsula did not have any strong connections. Now - almost 15 years later - the company works more in state of it's networking capacities offering tutoring courses and matchmaking consulting.
At DPN the tea and coffee are free and as we talk to two hot-deskers smoking in the yard, we realize that being around other self employees and a 3d printer is more important to the coworkers than strong wifi since fiber is now installed almost everywhere in Cornwall. The smoking hot-deskers cannot imagine living anyplace else than here, but they admit that making money is hard if it was not because of the geographical detachment of their professions.
Again, I return to Penzance on the following Wednesday but when I reach DPN the manager Janus had just left. One more time the Colombian Assistant Manager takes his time to answer some of my questions, even though he seems careful to admit his complete insight in the organization of DPN. He tells us that DPN as the oldest coworking space in Cornwall, started out of the need for strong wifi, computer equipment and hardware. The EU Regional Development Aid and the “Objective One Programme” (http://www.objectiveone.com) helped start up the DPN. Today it is an organization limited by guarantee with a board, a director and a manager. The DPN primarily functions as a networking platform, and a start up and hotdesking space. Companies that used to be located in the DPN facilities but now has grown bigger keep their virtual membership, small start ups come for tutor and network aid and hot-deskers work there to socialize. The DPN is for businesses within the ICT sector - or so it happened to be by itself, no official criterias demand the business code.