If we look at the current rise of the sharing economy, there is a trend towards using underutilised assets to generate income: Uber is a car that may normally be garaged; AirBnb is a room that may normally be empty; and AirTasker is a job that may normally remain undone.
Connecting the people who can use these assets with those who own them is key to maximising their return. And what underpins this, is the little opportunity cost for the asset-owner—often nothing is being given up by the asset being used, especially when it can generate some income. A handy kicker.
Renew Adelaide applies a very similar mindset. How can the vacant buildings of Adelaide, or any city for that matter, be used more beneﬁcially? The premise is simple: a landlord agrees to provide their property rent-free to a small, start-up business that wants to try something new, test an idea, and add something culturally interesting to the landscape. During that time, the landowner has the ability to provide 30-days’ notice for that business to vacate—there’s no opportunity cost to them if a paying commercial tenant comes along.
This unique transaction allows a new business to test an idea, with the freedom to try something interesting or creative because they have the opportunity to develop it with sweat, rather than ﬁnancial equity. In turn, this gives the landlord the chance to reinvigorate their buildings and revitalise urban areas, socially and economically.
Speak to the owners of small businesses like Ancient World, an eclectic, grungy, community-led bar; Oh Deer Sugar, vegan soaps designed as bakery products; or, Low & Slow, an American BBQ joint, and you’ll ﬁnd entrepreneurs who have made the most of these risk-free starts. Each got their business off the ground through Renew Adelaide’s start-up program and are now successful in their own right—but it may not have happened without such support. This demonstrates a shift in how assets are viewed.
Seven years ago when we pitched the idea for Renew Adelaide we were met with raised eyebrows and quiet dismissal. Today, we see property owners wanting to engage more and more through this rent-free model to activate their property, mitigate blight and create a culture where great ideas are supported.
There’s a push for Adelaide to be an energetic city, ﬁlled with passionate people willing to try new things. We need to foster a culture where people aren’t locked out of the means to bring these ideas to life—be it property, education or capital.
consider vacant properties to test new business ideas. You could be giving the next big start-up their very ﬁrst step.
TAKE CALCULATED RISKS:
invest in new start-ups to support innovation and help re- invigorate and revitalise urban areas.
EMBRACE NEW IDEAS:
reduce the cost of failure and you’ll be rewarded with a creative culture that encourages innovation.