Eighteen months after setting off on this Haphazard Business journey, stage one has completed with the opening of the first Innovation Hub today and beginning the next chapter, as I document trying to establish this enterprise in a time of Covid-19 and no live events.
Named Portal B @ St John’s Head, the site is opening six months later than intended due to issues with the building, hygiene and of course Coronavirus. Using techniques developed through my Platform-7 interventions, I intend to slowly change the space over a period of weeks and months from a traditional old English boozer into a visionary space of the 4IR. How it will look in a few months’ time will be difficult to tell as there remains a mountain of challenges ahead, not least a potential further Covid-19 lockdown.
Haphazard Business Blog
The Haphazard Business blog will now begin to focus on the wider challenges the new venture faces while a daily journal will be kept on the Fourth Portal website documenting the day-to-day experience of developing the hub. Subscribe to the daily journal here.
Mission Impossible – Maybe!
This really might be a Mission Impossible! Even before Coronavirus, the town of Great Yarmouth where the hub is based was in trouble. Following months of lockdown, the town is now in real trouble with many of the main attractions either still closed or greatly restricted. As of writing, Casinos and Nightclubs must remain closed, a big draw for the town. Other attractions have restricted access and some larger chain stores have not reopened, Argos for example.
Although the seafront has seen an influx of holidaymakers this side of town, where Portal B is located, has seen little in returning office workers. A building opposite, which had 800 working throughout the day in February 2020 presently has less than 20 in the offices. All along the North Quay, non-retail businesses are either still closed or working on skeleton staff. Passing trade is minimal, even the normally busy road has only light traffic.
My speciality is creating intriguing live events that draw people in in such a way that they become part of the project I am creating. This has generally worked very successfully over the past ten years, and when I had bars in London for a decade. Now though, indoor live events remain banned and finding insurance cover for outdoor events is proving difficult.
My focus over July 2020 has been to get St John’s Head, the location of Portal B, clean and up to a standard where people can come in and feel comfortable. Now that has been achieved my mind will turn towards how to negotiate the myriad of new rules, which keep on changing, and encourage people to visit. This is going to be no mean task and going to take a lot of creative thinking.
Video | Portal B
This 2-minute video was recorded earlier providing a quick tour of Portal B.
Day One | Portal B
Visiting and Supporting
Portal B @ St John’s Head can be found on the North Quay, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1JB on the Norfolk Coast, with a stunning North Sea beach on one side and the gorgeous rivers Yare and Bure on the other leading out to the Norfolk Broads National Park.
I will welcome you visiting and telling your friends, particularly those in Norfolk or visitors to Norfolk, and any suggestions, presentations or events that you may have. Get in touch here.
This is by far my most challenging undertaking to date, even without Covid-19 it was going to be difficult. I am prepared that this may all peter out, unable to sustain itself or me, never mind anyone else. This acknowledged, I am also pretty resolute and determined, my inner core feels confident doors will open and surprises will be revealed.
Whatever happens. it’s going to be an interesting journey, a journey that many businesses in the UK, and most of the world are now facing. Please leave comments below.
Thanks for following, John M