Start dreaming – things just got a whole lot more interesting

We have just been notified that we have gotten though the final needle’s eye of the Realdania program – Places Matter. More specifically, this means that they intend to finance up to 70% of the building that’ll be Denmark's first matchmaking zone. 

Needless to say, this brings us nothing less than a giant leap forward in the process that will eventually give us a truly unique place for meeting and creating together. 

It’s indeed happy days and will be for a while, but before we know it, it’s back to work. 

It’s important for us to emphasize that we are not there – not yet. As mentioned, Realdania will fund 70%. We still need 30% to fund the entire project. We have proposed a model in which the remaining portion will be financed by a combination of the Thisted Municipality and a credit union. 

Whether or not this model is the way forward depends on several things - including local politics. In addition, the financing of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the place must be ensured and kept on solid ground. 

We’ll also emphasize that it is not us e.g., Mette, Benthe, Troles, Tina, Marie Louise, Rasmus, etc.  who have been promised up to 70% of the financing for a matchmaking zone. It’s Cowork Klitmøller and thus all of us – residents as well as beta-residents – who have been given the opportunity to create a valuable venue in Klitmøller. 

In other words: Economics is one thing, another and far more important thing is what we - all of us - intend to do with such a place. The things we’ll be doing will constitute “life” in the house and thus what’ll be of value. In the end, this will determine whether being part of a matchmaking zone in Klitmøller is good for people, skills, and business. 

That said, start dreaming - this journey just became a whole lot more interesting. 


On August 18, 2014, we submitted an application to the Realdania foundation. The work leading up to that moment had been a pretty intense process. 

On January 16, 2014, we received confirmation that we had gone through the first needle’s eye in the Realdania program Places Matter. 

This meant that we were part of a relatively small pool of projects selected for a process through which we were allowed to refine our idea and thus try to convince the jury that our idea is good enough for Realdania to invest rather heavily in. 

Apparently, it is - and don’t we just love it?

Case # The Workbox Penzance

Monday morning the plan was to go to the port town Penzance even though I had no luck making an appointment with any of the coworking spaces, I managed to locate in the Penzance area. I was hoping to find a more realistic everyday view of the Cornish life than the one we encountered in St. Paradis, since what I was trying to uncover was not the tourist tracks but the way of life of the local self-employed or the travellers staying in Cornwall for a longer period of time.

The economy of Penzance has, like those of many Cornish communities, suffered from the decline of the traditional industries of fishing, mining and agriculture. Like the rest of Cornwall housing remains comparatively expensive, wages low and unemployment high which means that local residents are struggling to make it. As a visitor, though, it can be difficult to distinguish the activities of the locals from those of the non-locals, so the strategy was to knock on the doors of my potential coworking fellows, public holidays or not, and look for the reality of the self-employed coworker in one of the most employment deprivated areas in England.

Unfortunately, I must admit that I passed the location of The Workbox Penzance ( more than once before I realized that I was at the right address. The rather new coworking space is to be found in an anonymous brick office building in the center of Penzance. Nevertheless, from the construction site embracing the ground floor entrance, you could imagine the views to be found on the 4th floor. I did not get to see them though, cause when I rang the doorbell nobody answered.

After popping by some other spaces in Penzance equally derelict of busy coworkers, we decided to come back another day and instead turn the car towards Lands End, the most Western point of England. The beauty of it all stroke us as we made our way down the coast through narrow uphill and downhill streets, past sidewalks and gardens blooming with flowers, through broadleaf forests, along spectacular coastal cliffs and sandy beaches and a completely turkish Atlantic ocean illuminating everything below us. To most people (including myself), I am not sure Klitmoller can compete with the rock sand, hydrangeas and palm trees of Cornwall...

Anyways, on my return to The Workbox the following Wednesday, I was buzzed in by Nigel who, unfortunately, had very little time to chat. Entering The Workbox from the escalator, you are taken by the views overlooking Penzance, and even when trying to focus on the interior or the man speaking in front of you, eyes are drawn towards the light and beauty outside. Truth is, I do not recall much of the decoration, maybe because it was still too new to be personalized and did not leave any sign of its users. While talking to Nigel, though it was only shortly, I tried to neglect the smell of new furnitures, wishing I had a little more time to explore the flexible and transparent interior choices of the space.

The Workbox opened in April this year and now has approximately 30 members, primarily within the IT sector. Through seminars and workshops on various topics and in close collaboration with local colleagues and other organisations such as Outset Cornwall ( the space provides its residents with start up help and other networking opportunities. It seems that this is the most common coworking space service in Cornwall: To enable people to start as independents through financial advisory and marketing guidance.

The model of start up business assistance is currently being implemented in The Municipality of Thisted through Thy Erhvervsforum. I am excited about the outcome. Seems that the service is an important entrance to funding and realization of coworking spaces.

Fundraising (#moneystillmatters#)

To ensure the future of the project - the transition from paper work to actual bricks in a house - we initiated the funding of a MZ building concurrently with the research work. Earlier in the process than initially expected business models were to be made in order to consult lawyers and accountants on the economic sustainability of a built MZ. We soon realized that the most important fundament for the process of actually constructing a MZ was the founding of an economic operators association. The role of the association is to hold the ownership of the building as well as being in charge of the rental responsibilities. To establish an economic operators association you need 300.000 non-refundable Danish krones, a set of statutes (including the appointing of directors or board members) and some well described fund purposes. To full-fill these requirements we set out to find some stakeholders or other interested parties - among many in the network of the MZ monitoring group. Due to lack of time in the pilot project we approached professional fundraisers regarding the actual fundraising of the MZ building. Together we outlined a top3priority list of the MZ funding possibilities, appointing the working holiday concept as priority 1, the sustainable and architectonic innovative building as priority 2, and the inter-Scandinavian perspectives and potentials as priority 3. So far a dialogue between Realdania and the MZ project has been initiated.