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How a start-up incubator runs smoother on QReserve

Scheduling rooms and showcasing companies

Heather is the Program Coordinator at The Forge, a startup incubator in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, that provides local startups with free drop-in space, workshops, mentoring, networking opportunities, meeting rooms, a device library, a makerspace, and many other resources. The Forge relies on QReserve for managing three of their core offerings: their mobile device library, their makerspace, and their meeting rooms.

Forge clients have access to the GScale mobile device library, where they can borrow mobile devices such as phones and tablets. For security, only Heather can retrieve the devices from storage, so Forge members have to go through her to pick up and return devices. Before QReserve, Heather had no easy way to track lent devices and due dates. She had to trust the members to return devices on time and often they forgot. Heather would realize the items were overdue when the next person requested them and then have to track the renter down to get the device back.

Now Heather uses QReserve to manage the device library. By marking devices as ‘loanable’ in QReserve, Forge members can instantly request to check them out, as at any library. Heather then approves or denies the request, and an email informs the member whether or not they can pick up the device. QReserve tracks lent items, members, and due dates, and if items are overdue, emails remind the user until they return the device. She can even choose when the initial email is automatically sent. Also only Heather can mark devices as returned, to prevent users from marking them as such before actually returning them.

“I’m blown away. We’ve added around 150 members from 49 companies into QReserve, and I’ve had no one ask for help; they started using it easily. I used to work in operations, and people having no questions when adopting new software is unheard of.”

The Forge’s makerspace offers a laser cutter, 3D printer, and tools for drilling, soldering, and other tasks. Only Forge members who have completed training can access the makerspace’s tools. Heather needed a way to schedule time on their laser cutter and 3D printer, make sure only trained people could book and use them, and easily keep members informed of status updates.

Heather uses QReserve to address these needs. She only accepts trained members to the makerspace site in QReserve, so only they can book time on the tools. And to ensure only trained users actually use the equipment, Heather relies on QReserve’s Actual Usage Tracking software. Members have to log in to QReserve on the computer connected to the laser cutter and 3D printer. If they belong to the makerspace site, the software gives them access. The Tracking software also tracks who logs in and when, so Heather can check the records if the tools are improperly used or broken so she can contact the previous users. When the tools are down for maintenance or repair, it’s easy to change and communicate that status. Instead of sending many emails, she now simply updates the tools’ statuses on QReserve for everyone to see when they try to book.

The Forge offers their members meeting rooms for private business meetings. Booking rooms used to be difficult and tedious. Heather relied on an old system that only she had access to, so everyone had to go through her to book a room, which meant many back and forth emails, and quick or last-minute bookings were impossible.

Heather has now added the meeting rooms into QReserve. Getting going was easy, and the QReserve team worked with Heather to add all the Forge members for a smooth transition. “I’m blown away,” says Heather, “We’ve added around 150 members from 49 companies into QReserve, and I’ve had no one ask for help; they started using it easily. I used to work in operations, and people having no questions when adopting new software is unheard of.” Forge members now book rooms on their own through QReserve, which frees up Heather's time tremendously. As part of the implementation, QReserve also added a reservation status kiosk for the rooms. A tablet stands before the rooms and shows the current availability, along with a QR code that users can scan to book the rooms from their mobile phones.

Startups rely on the Forge to grow, and the Forge relies on QReserve to manage their resources. Their mobile device library, makerspace, and meeting rooms are now easy for Heather to manage and for Forge members to access.