We’ve been giving a lot of thought to NI’s potential hackerspace and how to get the project moving. TJ came up with a good idea on using the model that kickstart.com uses. Basically a project is setup, with a goal (i.e. the amount of funding needed) and a deadline to meet that goal. This can be weeks/months, whatever. If the goal hasn’t been reached by the deadline, then no money is charged, the project is canned and we go back to sitting by ourselves drinking beer. However, if enough money is pledged before the deadline, then money is charged from these people and the project goes ahead.

To set up this project we have to have an idea of how much is needed each year. If we go on the basis of renting a space in Belfast (we’re assuming this is were the majority of people will use the space) then you are looking at between £250-600 per month, depending on size and location. Then there’s electric, heating (for the winter), internet access, rates (do we get discount for non-profit organisation?), insurance, general maintenance, bog rolls :) We’re basing it on a year as rent/insurance etc all need to be signed up for a year and we dont’ want people bailing out 1/2 way through and leaving the others to cover the costs!

Here’s a rough tally of costs:

Item Cost
Rent 4800 (400 x 12 months)
Electric 600 (50 x 12 months)
Heating 600
Internet 300 (25 x 12 months)
Rates 1200
Insurance 300
General 1000

From this we reckon it’s going to cost £8800 per year to run a space. To generate this sort of money we’re thinking of setting a guide of £300 per year for members. This seems a lot (and it is!) but if you break it down it’s only £25 per month. If we can get 20 people to cough up £300 then that’s a good part of the costs covered (in principle)!

We’ve also thought about going to local tech companies for a “donation” to help fund the space. If we got 10 companies donating £250, that’s a good chunk of the goal met. What to they get for their money? The chance to help local guys meet, come up with ideas, work on project and learn new skills. Skills that they might be able to call upon.

We’d also thought about selling items, t-shirts, recycled hardware etc, but this might be something we have to put on hold until after the “goal” is reached. If you go back to the theory – the goal has to be reached within the time limit, or no money is taken.

So, we’ve started a plan, we need your comments/suggestions/corrections. This is the part where we need your feedback. If we don’t get enough feedback from you guys, we’ll not even bother setting up a project and a goal. If you think the costs are too small/big, let us know. If you think that £300 for the year is WAY to much, let us know. We need your feedback.


TJ & A