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Co-working spaces welcome start-ups

30 Mar 2017

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By Sunny Liu

While office rents continue to soar, more small businesses are setting up their offices at co-working spaces in Docklands.

Co-working spaces have become an economical choice for start-ups and have made business precincts like Docklands more accessible for companies with a limited budget.

Co-working spaces are areas shared by different businesses that often include common facilities such as kitchens and meeting rooms.

One popular co-working space is NAB Village at 700 Bourke St, which is offered to NAB customers rent-free.

Silva Wei and Stephen Zuluaga moved their education training business, Peer Camp, to NAB Village at the beginning of this year. They said the co-working environment was very valuable for their business.

“We were looking for a location that was convenient and also in a community-focused area. Docklands is a business hub and the location makes everything easier, both for us and our clients,” Mr Wei said.

Peer Camp co-founder Mr Zuluaga said working in a common environment with other creative organisations had increased their productivity.

“We’ve been so productive ever since we relocated here. We can get the most amazing connectivity out of this physical space and our relationship with other businesses,” he said.

Mr Wei and Mr Zuluaga hosted a networking community coffee meeting at NAB Village in March. The weekly community coffee used to only involve NAB employees and now all small businesses in the village can participate.

During the one-hour session, professionals from various backgrounds chat about all topics related to entrepreneurship, team building, innovation and many more over coffee.

Start-ups in the village take turns in hosting the coffee sessions, with the facilitation of a NAB Village host.

Mr Wei said community coffee was a representation of how co-working spaces could benefit small businesses.

“Community coffee encourages the sharing of ideas and experiences. It makes a big difference for big corporates like NAB to think about their customers and small businesses,” he said. “It also gives us a better idea of how to give back to the community.”

Mo Hamdouna is the creative director at start-up Mo Works and moved his business to Docklands-based co-working space Hatch Quarter last year.

Mr Hamdouna said Docklands was becoming more start-up friendly.

“There are many big corporates like the big banks and some finance companies in Docklands but many small businesses have been kept away due to the high rental costs,” he said.

“But co-working spaces like Hatch Quarter has attracted small companies to Docklands. It benefits both the companies and the local economy.”

Mr Hamdouna also said sharing the space had facilitated an exchange of ideas and boosted his company’s offering to clients.

“There is a video production company and a software engineering company in our office. These companies can complement our services. We can really work with each other and it has enabled us to provide new services and better experiences for our clients,” he said.

“Working alongside other businesses keeps us engaged and informed. It makes our everyday work easier and more efficient.”





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