Rosemary French OBE Joins Freedom Works Board
09 July 2019
Sussex based co-working and flexible office business, Freedom Works, have added the departing Head of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative (GDI), Rosemary French OBE, to their board as part of their expansion plans to take coworking and flexible offices to regional towns in and around the South East.
Rosemary, who has been at the forefront of the GDI for the past decade in promoting economic partnerships to drive economic growth within the Sussex and Surrey region, will be joining the Freedom Works board on the 1st August 2019. A veteran campaigner for local investment and local business, Rosemary was Sussex Business Woman of the Year in 2017 and was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her commitment to women in business.
Alongside her management of the GDI, Rosemary is President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, a Non Executive Director of Enterprise First as well as a Governor at Orbital Group of Colleges (Further Education and Higher Education Colleges in Croydon and Redhill). In short, an established and well recognised figurehead within the Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire business communities.
“We’re extremely pleased and honoured to have someone of Rosemary’s calibre joining the board”, explains Jon Trigg, Founder and Managing Director of Freedom Works. “The idea behind the business and our whole ethos is about creating community work spaces in regional areas to enable local businesses to work together, collaborate and grow - keeping business local”, adds Trigg. “Rosemary’s passion in retaining businesses and skillset in local areas is for all to see, from her days as the MD of Business Link, to the proactive and effective work she has undertaken with the Gatwick Diamond Initiative”, adds Trigg.
Having rolled out 4 spaces across Sussex in a little over 2 ½ years, Freedom Works are now in the process of raising investment monies to take their successful model further afield. They are in discussions with local authorities and other private and public landlords about building site 5 and 6 over the next 6-9 months, with an objective of opening up 15 - 20 coworking and flexible office spaces over the next 3-5 years, in towns where there is little or no coworking and flexible office space.
“I have witnessed the growth of coworking and flexible office space over the last 5 years and prior to meeting Jon at Freedom Works had been championing the benefits of coworking communities to the local authorities within the Gatwick Diamond area, as a simple and effective way of retaining and acquiring talent in our local economies”, Rosemary French explains on her appointment. “Therefore, it was a natural next step for me, when the Non Exec role was offered. Local businesses need places to grow and collaborate, and Freedom Works have, with little or no support, created a community which benefits Sussex and the surrounding areas they are based”, continues Ms French.
“Jon outlined his plans and vision for how he sees a network of Freedom Works across the South East and beyond to offer businesses a peer-support environment to work amongst, which is something I passionately believe in. And coupled with the work I have done and will continue to do with GDI, Enterprise First and as a President of a Chamber, it seemed a natural next step and fit”, concludes the former Sussex Business Woman of the Year.
Freedom Works opened up their first co-working space in Worthing in September 2016, and since then have opened up three further spaces in Hove, Chichester and Crawley. They now house over 1,000 Sussex businesses across all four sites, as well as hosting B2B Expo events and regular workshops and business support events offered by members, on what is a community environment, where peer support is encouraged.
“With Rosemary and some funding in place for our next chapter, we’re super confident we can roll out dozens of Freedom Works, working alongside local authorities, colleges and private landlords, to provide a place for home grown talent to work near home”, Jon Trigg adds about Rosemary’s appointment. “We’ve proved the market wants flexible, community driven and collaborative work space….we now just need to deliver it”, he concludes.