Makerspaces in the news

Hi all! I just read this article about makerspaces:

It seems to show that it does not work as a business model, but I was wondering if some of the points also apply to not-for-profit business models?

The subtext of the article seems to be that it’s not that spaces don’t work as a business but that spaces are being supplanted by alternate workshops with large commercial and institutional backers. Essentially that the market is being gentrified.

That said, every guide I’ve read so far about starting a 'space usually boils down to “get it started any way you can and work out the rest later”. How can spaces that start without a business plan be said to have a failing business model?

As an example, my own workshop plan includes the option for the general public to pay an attendant staff member to run off simple laser jobs for them in slow hours, as a part-time job-shop to get in money at commercial job rates. That’s enough for some people to see it as any number of other definitions and not a “real” maker/craftspace. But it always seems backed up with the idea that spaces should be one specific shape; keep out the non-members to be a proper club-house. Likewise I’ve had similar responses by suggesting advertising to the local community instead of already established maker groups (EG; hackers, programmers, manufacturing students). And perhaps that’s why some places have trouble; because they’re using the legal business framework to support a clubhouse with no intent of dealing with the business side of that arrangement, or expanding beyond their pre-existing communities. They cater to a deliberately limited audience and do only the bare minimum to exist as and when volunteers are willing to.

To be clear, that article is specifically talking about spaces that set out to be a business - workshops-as-coworking-spaces, essentially.

And no, nobody has really made that work at a large size yet.