Advice to young African entrepreneurs just starting out, use a grassroots approach. Don’t market. Don’t put a single ad in a magazine. Never turn to Craigslist. Instead, look for a comfortable space with smart, like-minded people who aren’t employed by the same company. Look for a place where everyone can collaborate with one another to build innovative products. Find a space with open desk seating, where companies sit side-by-side, sharing the cost of utilities, receptionists, cleaning, security, and more. Which means savings across the board. It’s happening all around the world. There are more than 2000 coworking spaces worldwide.
Flexibility is key in coworking spaces. Whether you need a short-term lease, month-to-month leases, or year leases, keep your options open. An office grows and shrinks with your company budget: that’s called coworking. Coworking is awesome. The best part is coming into the office every day, collaborating with brilliant minds and enjoying the times you share together. Coworking is an environment where things can be created collaboratively a place where developers, designers and entrepreneurs want to work on ground breaking projects that could potentially change the world.
Africa has coworking spaces but until now, the African continent has been considered a small player in the coworking movement. A booming tech scene and major demographic shifts have created ideal conditions for coworking in Africa. Some of the more well-known ones include Hub in Johannesburg, Kenya’s iHub and mLab, as well as Nairobi’s HumanIPO and the Co-Creation Hub Nigeria.
Nairobi is also known for its business incubation labs. In Kenya, more and more investors are putting their money into local startups. Europeans and Americans see Kenya as a perfect example of an emerging market. A country where 75% of the population are under 30 years old, with an enormously expanding middle class and highly educated people. There’s a flood of highly educated young people coming out of African universities. This new generation possesses an entrepreneurial spirit. They are entering coworking spaces that provide classes to help them achieve startup success. The classes can range anywhere from tips on excelling in social media, marketing for small businesses, and even to health care options.
The enthusiasm is spreading across the continent. Several years ago, IHub was the first to open its doors. JoziHub is a dynamic and interactive community where tech innovators can collaborate with the business and research community. JoziHub aims to harness the power of innovation, start-ups and creative collaboration to initiate sustainable progress in Africa. It’s a space which facilitates partnerships that support and nurture developers, innovators, and start-ups.
South Africa has the most active coworking scene, bar none. The HUB Johannesburg offers a space for change makers to work, learn and collaborate. The space is open-plan and the community of social innovators who use it cultivate a dynamic and creative environment.
OPEN Johannesburg is for autonomous professionals who sell their skills, time, talent and creativity, striving to make a difference. OPEN Johannesburg is a place to share resources and ideas by connecting with others. Whatever you use it for, the emphasis is on community.