Jo Cameron
Jamie Hardesty

Colleagues on Tap set for international expansion thanks to Durham entrepreneur

Durham-born entrepreneur Jo Cameron has purchased Colleagues on Tap from founder Jayne Graham and has ambitious plans to grow the company exponentially both in the UK and abroad.

Colleagues on Tap, founded in the North East in 2010, helps home-based small business owners come together on a regular basis in an office environment for the day. Once there, they are able to share experiences, peer mentor one another and combat the isolation of working alone.

Demand for Colleagues on Tap has seen it grow from a single venue monthly meet-up to a community of 300+ businesses coming together at nine venues across County Durham, Northumberland, Teesside and Tyne & Wear.

Jo, from Sacriston, bought Colleagues on Tap having seen at close quarters the positive impact it had on her own company, Remote HR Solutions.

She said: “In the North East alone there are 102,785 sole traders - that equates to 74.8% of businesses in the region. These entrepreneurs work on their own and can benefit from the community that is built by structured co-working days.

“I didn’t realise until I joined Colleagues on Tap how powerful that community can be in developing business opportunities, providing peer support, and combatting the isolation of working on your own.”

Jo, who has lived and worked in Australia, plans to increase membership in the North East before rolling out Colleagues on Tap across the UK.

The business already has an established Associates scheme, of which Jo was one prior to buying the company. Entrepreneurs with Associate status can set up and host co-working days in their area under the well-known Colleagues on Tap brand.

Jo said: “Colleagues on Tap has a proven growth model, similar to franchising, which enables me to further expand the business within the region. When you look at the fact that there are 3,965,775 sole traders operating nationally you get an idea of the potential of this business.

“Once you look abroad it becomes a mind-blowing opportunity which is my ultimate aim. I have strong links in Australia and America and this is an export opportunity I am eager to take to those countries.”

In addition to running her two businesses, Jo is also an associate lecturer and business mentor at her alma mater, the University of Sunderland.

Jayne Graham, who came up with the idea of Colleagues on Tap five years ago after working at home herself for many years, decided to sell the business to concentrate on her coaching and consultancy practice, 20:20 Consulting.

She said: “Colleagues on Tap has made such a difference to the small business sector in the North East. It’s now ready for expansion and Jo’s the perfect person to drive it forward into its next phase of development.

“I firmly believe that the millions of people who have made the leap to work for themselves shouldn’t always need to work alone and Colleagues on Tap is the ideal solution.”

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