To entrepreneurs and remote workers, co-working is not a newfound concept. Co-working spaces around the globe, such as companies like WeWork which already sees more than 10 international locations, are known for providing the startup community with an opportunity to work in a shared working space before they can afford their own physical office.
But, the services that co-working spaces bring is not only limited to providing desks and supplying coffee to new startups and remote workers, as some of them have a greater mission in being a well-organized incubator to their respected members.
The APAC region has witnessed a rapid growth in co-working space industry in the last 5 years. This positive development is supported by the awareness of the startup community and co-working spaces in ensuring the progression of the SME industry in the region. The principle of a shared, community-driven workspace for entrepreneurs is what organizations like The Hub Singapore and The Co. Kuala Lumpur aim for and they are doing their level best in contribute positively to the industry.
Here we find out more on the state of co-working spaces in APAC as we speak to Grace Sai, the CEO of The Hub and Zo-Ee Chee, The Co.’s Community Manager recently in gathering their insight on the subject matter.
The Hub & The Co.
Since its commencement four years ago, The Hub bills itself as the pioneer of co-working spaces in Singapore and has matured alongside the startup community in the country. With the aim to nurture growth in entrepreneurs, its establishment has built a supportive-collaborative ecosystem that serves nearly 500+ members from different types of industries and stages, from startups as early as in ideation stage to billion-dollar ‘Unicorn’ ventures as Braintree, Twilio and Survey Monkey.
These achievements were made possible with The Hub’s curated programs and events that focus on startups’ growth and fiscal management. Grace proudly asserts that “there are various programs curated specifically in assisting its members’ funding, such as the $1 Million Hub Ventures Fund and Investor-in-Residence program that grants startups access to the top 8 VCs in SEA.” Additionally, The Hub’s Corporate Innovation program is known for bridging the startup community and corporate giants like J.P Morgan, DBS, P&G and ABinBev through partnerships, innovation challenges and hackathons.
If The Hub nurtures and ensures the best out of Lion City’s startup community, The Co. on the other hand is well-known for gathering various startups and digital nomads under one roof in Kuala Lumpur. It’s establishment is backed by the awareness that “there was not much of a center of gravity for startup community in Malaysia” explains Zo-Ee Chee, thus The Co. plays an active role by being a community builder, an incubator and events venue and organizer.
In ensuring the optimum growth and development among its members, Zo-ee adds that The Co. Community Managers serve as professional networking gurus and consultants that coach and mentor both on personal and professional level. Established about a year ago, The Co. is known for hosting diverse, quality events that forge relationships and business connections amongst startups, investors and VC’s.
Ways to Improve the Industry
Both Zo-Ee and Grace emphasize on the advantages that APAC proposes compared to other regions especially in terms of market diversity and accessibility, as well as integrating theof different cultures within the local community. The industry has witnessed an exponential growth that could see a future where co-working spaces could take over traditional office spaces, not only for startups but also big corporations.
However in reaching the goal, Grace mentions that “co-working spaces need to move beyond the notion of co-working as ‘real estate’ for companies.” He also emphasized that “in building a dynamic business-nurturing ecosystem, co-working spaces need to understand their target market and constantly seek ways in creating values for these businesses.” Zo Ee on the other hand, believes that “co-working spaces in APAC region could also be benefited by the diversity that each and every country has.” She thinks that there is a lot of room for growth and opportunities especially in term of interconnectivity.
Conclusively, co-working spaces in the APAC region has significantly grown as the number of new startups increases and more people chose to work remotely. With this being said, Zo-ee concludes that “co-workers and co-working spaces in the region can obtain more international and regional benefits through information sharing while coexisting within the same ecosystem and being supportive towards each other in ensuring a conducive promising environment for everyone.”
That been said, read The Good and The Bad of Coworking Spaces before signing up, especially if you’re s startup.
Other than that, if you’re ever in the APAC region, here are a few co-working spaces that we think you should check out: