Posted on February 20, 2019 by staff

The hidden co-working hub home to 54 ethical companies


A hidden Manchester hub for start-ups brought together by ethical values now houses 54 companies.

The Federation began as a venture of the Co-Op in 2017, and since then has grown into a six-floor space, made up of co-working space with shared desks, private pods and suites and event spaces.

The business received funding from Luminate and Co-op Foundation one year ago to support companies looking establish as social enterprises, community interest companies or co-operatives.

Fifty-four firms currently take residence at The Federation including big names such as the National Lottery Community Fund, ThoughtWorks and Northcoders.

Seven new start-ups joined in January alone.

The building is located next to Manchester’s Victoria Station and boasts an on-site café, event spaces, fully-functional podcast suite and free yoga classes.

The business said it focuses on the ethical values of its clients, and offers an ‘ethical contract’ to persuade engagement with others and knowledge sharing.

“We ask them to be ethical, open and honest and to give back to the community,” said Emer Coleman, technology consaltant of Co-op Digital.

“Whether that’s becoming mentors for our smaller social enterprises, sponsoring places for disadvantaged members of the community to learn how to code or just helping broker valuable introductions through their networks.”

The Federation said there is no competition between businesses and they work to support each other in the shared community.

“Currently in the tech space it’s all about Venture Capital, but sometimes seeking VC funds can influence the development of companies in negative ways,” she added.

“It can keep people just focused on numbers and profits rather than examining what broader impact technology is having on our society.

“It’s a great privilege to be surrounded by so many young start-ups who really do want to make a positive contribution to the world and make it a better place. It’s not just the usual rhetoric, they really mean it and work towards that goal every day.”

The building also hosts technology community events and talks about equality, including regular events in the tech community such as Tech for Good Live, Expert Talks and Open Data Manchester.

Speaking about the future of the Federation, Coleman said: “We want our small companies to continue to flourish and grow.

“We want to demonstrate that there are different economic models for doing business in tech where there is a win-win for everyone.”