If you were an entrepreneur, what would your ideal workspace look like? How would you visualize the space? What resources or services should this space provide to assist you in the achievement of your goals? We believe that every entrepreneur racks their brains to find suitable workspace. In addition to operating cost considerations, equal emphasis must be placed on convenience, practicality, location, hardware and IT software and equipment. Against the backdrop of a relentless trend of entrepreneurship, government units and private enterprises are devoted to creating perfect workspace for entrepreneurs with the goal of providing more diversified choices and flexible functionality.
In recent years, the development of startup hubs in Taipei City has proceeded at a feverish pace. Taipei surpasses all other cities in Taiwan in terms of the number and size of startup hubs. Until April 2021, the number of new startup hubs was five. Their many different features and characteristics allow them to satisfy the needs of all startups. A detailed description of these hubs, in sequence of inauguration date follows:
The biggest incubation center in Taiwan — t.Hub
t.Hub, in the Neihu Technology Park, was officially inaugurated at the end of November 2020, and covers a total area of 26,000m² (7,865 Pings). t.Hub Taipei accepts applications from startups in the following incubated industries: Smart IoT, digital health, big data, cloud computing, and digital content. The occupancy rate currently exceeds 70%. Service categories based on the current stage of incubation and development (the realization of creative concepts, improvement of corporate physique, and business expansion) includes product development, financial diagnosis, legal and tax affairs, intellectual property deployment, and fundraising skills. The aim is the creation of an open, vertically integrated entrepreneurship environment and linkage to the resources of the Neihu Technology Park industry cluster. t.Hub makes an all-out effort to incubate and assist resident startup teams with outward expansion.
The first thing that catches a visitor’s eye in the lobby on the 1st floor is the large i-Stage that looks like a stair landing. There is an imposing piece of art, the words “t.Hub Taipei” at the top of the stairs. This area serves as an ideal space for product presentations, press conferences, or exhibitions coupled with interactive gatherings for the exchange of ideas held by the startup teams. A rest area where teams can relax allows for the provision of catering services. A multifunctional conference room with seating space that can be expanded is also available. The conference room, a professional digital photo studio, and a “Maker Space” workshop are located on the 2nd floor. The 3rd floor has co-working spaces which are characterized by high-chroma spatial layouts, excellent lighting conditions, lush green vistas, and an open, comfortable ambiance. The rental fee depends on location of the leased space (rent ranges between NT$4,000 and 8,500 per month. First time occupancy is limited to one year. The 4th floor features independent offices for lease starting from 80m² (24 Pings). These offices are ideal for startup teams, innovative transformed enterprises, and professional service providers of limited scope. Additional amenities for recreation and stress relief include a bar, pantry, gym, and shower room. These are welcome blessings for resident entrepreneurs who are immersed in work all day.
POPOP TAIPEI (the Nangang Bottle Cap Factory) – Largest “Maker” cluster in Northern Taiwan
POPOP TAIPEI, which is located in the Nangang District is one of the industrial heritage sites along the capital railway line on a par with the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, the Taipei Brewery, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, and the Taipei Railway Workshop. The forerunner of the Bottle Cap Factory, was the privately operated Nangang Cork & Crown Manufactory constructed in 1943 during Japanese rule. After the retrocession of Taiwan to the Republic of China, it was renamed the Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau Bottle Cap Factory, which was once the largest bottle cap manufacturer in Taiwan. Relocation of production lines in 2004 caused the factory to gradually fall out of use.
The distinctive architectural design, historical and cultural value of the Bottle Cap Factory caused it to be officially designated as an historic building in 2015. The Department of Economic Develop-ment initiated a renovation project for its preservation in 2016 to upgrade and transform the Nangang District in the context of the East Gateway Project adopted by the Taipei City Government. After renovation work had been completed in June 2020, the building was officially renamed POPOP TAIPEI and opened for visitors on December 5.
The historical aura of this Japanese-style factory with its contiguous buildings became known as a hip check-in location on social media. It forms a stark contrast with the other modern-style startup hubs in Taipei and the high-rises in the vicinity. The extensive lawn at the entrance serves as an ideal spot for public recreation and artistic and cultural group performances on weekends and holidays.
Several wood buildings made of cypress dating back to the Showa Period, including some factory buildings with elevated ceilings, wooden truss structure, and buildings with fine skylights, have been preserved on the factory grounds. There are seven buildings that have been transformed by diversified use of their space and design. The A2 Building serves as a distribution center and warehouse and provides space for POP-UP STORES and creative interaction. The two-story I Building functions as a creation space for local teams. The 1st floor features tools and equipment such as 3D printers and laser cutters for handcraft projects. Numerous DIY and “Maker” experience activities such as 3D printing, artistic creation using cement, leather, and metal, as well as floral arrangement are available for visitors. The 2nd floor offers joint workspace for resident startup teams. Building B, the former print factory, is earmarked for use as a venue for large-scale commercial exhibitions based on the theme of “Maker Carnivals.” Buildings F and M serve as multifunctional venues for exhibitions, performances, lectures, and workshops and space is available for lease. Building G has the only composite catering space in the park area that provides simple beverages and light meals.
POPOP TAIPEI is currently the only startup hub in Taipei City that provides space for makers in an historical building. Due to its advantageous location in the vicinity of Nangang Station and Taipei Music Center and the added positive impact of the East Gateway Project, it is expected to play a role as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Nangang District. The aim is to establish an industry cluster in the fields of design, art, culture and creativity, as well as cross-industry interaction to create a world-class “Maker Factory.”
13+, the Taipei Innovation Habitat, which was also unveiled and officially inaugurated on December 5, 2020, is the first Proof of Business (PoB) Living Lab in Taiwan. It is located in restored Building A1 on the Nangang Bottle Cap Factory premises. The 1st floor of the two-story structure serves as an open space for PoB. The 2nd floor provides workspace for resident startup teams and a multifunctional conference room for team brainstorming sessions, interactions, and exchanges.
The provision of a suitable site for startup teams is crucial for the entrepreneurial process, moreso than other needs such as capital, guidance, and business matching opportunities. All startup teams need a suitable site for the validation of products and services during the R&D process to confirm feasibility and compliance with market demands. To satisfy this need, the Taipei City Government has created sites for PoB prior to market launch to assist teams in the acceleration of product or service commercialization and to increase the success rate of after-market launches.
MISA Academy – Passing on practical experience
The MISA Academy was founded by the Management Intelligence Sharing Association (MISA) and officially inaugurated in the Neihu District on December 11. More than 30 CEOs of TWSE and TPEx-listed companies and other world-class enterprise leaders utilize this platform to pass on their management intelligence to leaders of enterprises in the growth and transformation stage by assuming the role of “Corporate Academician.”
The Association has developed a comprehensive OPM Business Owner Ascent Program to facilitate in-depth exchanges and the sharing of networking resources and management expertise by owners, presidents, and managers in different interaction modes that include lectures, one-on-one guidance and even discussions over coffee. It is worth noting that the hands-on workshop entitled “Class of Academicians,” which has now been offered for two years, allows “Corporate Academicians” to accompany enterprises in their growth process. This workshop aims to provide support and crucial momentum for the upward development of Taiwanese businesses in the future.
In addition, the MISA Academy, which is located in the vicinity of the Neihu Technology Park and numerous entrepreneurship incubation hubs and industry clusters, has generated much benefit for SMEs and facilitates their searches for external resources.
ARK‧ TPE (N24) – The International Blockchain Theme Pavilion
ARK‧Taipei (N24) is a startup base that has been created through the activation and transformation of the renovated Taipower Center warehouse (AR1). The historical structure of the old building has been fused with one of clean, simple and modern style. It resembles a large, majestic ship anchored on land. The stair-like stage that greets visitors upon entry is ideal for performances and presenta¬tions. The spiral staircase inside the building extends from the 1st floor to the top. The glass window wall on both sides of the building has been paired with cold black and gray tones to generate different vistas day and night. Every corner of the building reveals ingenuity, generating a strong desire to hit the shutter button without restraint.
ARK．Taipei (N24), also situated in Nangang District, represents another link of the East Gateway Project. Since its official inauguration on December 24, 2020, it has served as an international blockchain themed pavilion that specializes in the promotion of the industrial application of blockchain technologies. Recruited resident startup teams are engaged in numerous innovative and creative industries and fields, including software design, smart IoT, blockchain, 5G8K, mobile cloud, living commerce, network innovation, startup practitioners, and makers. The building features two floors with incubation and exchange function distributed in different office areas such as the blockchain Living Lab, theme pavilion, exhibition and exchange area, conference room, consultation room, and the startup office. The creation of workshops and smart retail sale exhibitions is planned for the future. Momentum generated by the smart teams will turn Taipei City into a demo site for the International blockchain market.
D.Lab provides a design space for young entrepreneurs
D.Lab, which was officially launched as recently as March 2021, occupies two floors in the southern section of the Minglun Social Housing Project. It is located in the vicinity of the Yuanshan MRT Station and forms a “Yuanshan Startup Corridor” with other startup hubs including CIT (Center for Innovation Taipei), fashionBlock Taipei, Fablab Taipei, and digiBlock Taipei and serves as an important hub with aggregated capabilities in the fields of culture, creativity, and design.
Pinkoi Cultural & Creative Co Ltd, the largest e-commerce platform for cultural and creative products in Taiwan, is currently stationed in D.Lab. It embraces the core concepts of Design, Dream, Diversity, Delight, and Digital (5Ds) and the three major dimensions of startup incubation, brand development, and global market expansion to assist designers in commercializing their products. The available space is on two levels. The 1st floor features the Design Showroom, which serves as a space for startup performances, exhibitions, and product displays. The “experience” space on the 2nd floor is available for the joint organization of series of hands-on experience courses by designers of local brands and professional artisans. The goal is to encourage designers and ordinary citizens to convey design concepts. In addition, a shared community space based on the concept of academic exchange, which includes conference room facilities and a recreation area conducive to interaction, is provided for resident startups and individuals. Professional consultant teams are enlisted to provide guidance for designers. In the future, D.Lab will boost matching opportunities on the international market to give local designers a chance to showcase their potential on an international stage. The goal being to perpetuate the positive cycle of the design industry ecosystem.
The five newly added startup hubs have different orientations and development goals. The startup hubs have been created in the Nangang District in coordination with the East Gateway Project. They are linked to the Taipei Music Center to create a startup cluster in the cultural industry. The advantageous location in the vicinity of Neihu Technology Park, Nangang Economic and Trade Park, and Nangang Biotechnology Park is conducive to the formation of a Startup Corridor.
In addition to the startup hubs promoted by Taipei City Government, central government units have set up numerous startup hubs in the city, some of these are the Taiwan Startup Hub (SME Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs), the Taiwan Tech Arena (Ministry of Science and Technology), and the FinTech Space (Financial Supervisory Commission). These international accelera¬tors and incubation organizations are transforming Taipei City into a key site for linkages between local startup teams and international actors.
The Taipei City Government is devoted to providing an excellent entrepreneurship environment. An all-inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship system has been created by relying on the policy planning dimension. This system encompasses a one-stop entrepreneurship service office, the provision of incentives and subsidies for industrial development and overseas trips by startup teams, subsidies, preferential loans, and initiation programs for SMEs, youth entrepreneurship, and social enterprises. International links are actively promoted for startup teams. Because startup hub clusters often serve as magnets for entrepreneurs, talent, and capital, the City Government strives to create such clusters by utilizing public land and existing facilities. A total of 23 locations suitable for industry clusters and startup incubation have been identified. By April 2021, 15 of these locations were officially operating. The total floor area of these sites amounts to 150,000 m². The following industries are represented: digital economy, fashion, cultural & creative design, blockchain, and makers. The city also offers comprehensive sites spanning multiple industries. The diversified nature of startup hub clusters in Taipei City entices excellent startup teams to join these clusters. In the future, the City Government will continue its efforts to accumulate even more startup capacity to accelerate progress towards the transformation of Taipei into a preferred city for entrepreneurs.