In case you haven’t already heard, this year’s Coworking Europe Conference was bigger and better than ever before. From a spectacular venue (which also happened to be a coworking space), to wildly informative sessions and workshops, to the over 500 amazing people from all around the world in attendance, the Coworking Europe Conference surely will continue its reputation of being a must-go-to event in the years to come.
If you were unable to attend this year here are some of the key highlights and takeaways:
First of all, let’s talk location. Not only is Amsterdam one of the most beautify cities in the fall, Amsterdam’s startup and tech scene is nothing less than impressive, which is being supported by over 61 coworking spaces around the city. B. amsterdam, the grand venue for the event, just being an example of one of them.
Fun Fact: B. amsterdam started as a solution for empty buildings but within four years it has grown into the largest startup ecosystem in Europe.
The Data & Insights
The conference was kicked off with the always impressive presentation by Carsten Foertsch sharing the results of DeskMags’ 2018 Global Coworking Survey. Aside from seeing promising numbers on how coworking is still continuing to grow across Europe, one of our favorite statistics was that on average a coworking space member will spend €10 per day in the local community of where their coworking space is located.
This means that if on average 100 members worked from a coworking space 5 days a week, that an approximate total of €5,000 / week or €20,000 / month would be spent at the local business around the coworking space.
This further proves that the positive impact of coworking goes beyond the actual members as it extends into supporting local businesses of the surrounding coworking spaces.
Another key takeaway was shared through a presentation by JLL stating that “Flexible Working Spaces are set to grow an average of 30% annually over the next 5 years in Europe”. We think that this is a true testament that the coworking movement is really just beginning and there are no signs of the growth stopping or slowing down in the near future.
Some other popular conversation points included:
Coworking Communities in Rural Areas – Over are the days of having to commute to big cities for job opportunities. The emergence of coworking spaces in rural communities is providing opportunities for local talent to stay within their smaller towns. The impact of this is not only helping keep rural communities together and thriving, but it is also playing an impact in job creation while sustaining and supporting the growth of existing local businesses.
Raising Money For Opening a Space or for Expansion – Raising investment for expansion or even just to open a coworking space seems to be a pain point for spaces all over the world. Banks are often hesitant to loan money against coworking spaces because the value is often heavily determined by goodwill.
Investors are skeptical because there is not a substantial amount of historical data proving the various revenue models of coworking spaces in different markets. Additionally, this is not a typical real estate investment where you are basing occupancy on individual members in individual seats — the revenue opportunity is often weighted on the number of members there are in the coworking community itself, thus making it a bit more difficult to illustrate.
Do you have any experience raising money to open a coworking space?
If you would like to share your experience, including tips or best practices please email [email protected].
Finding your ideal group of members and marketing to them – One theme that came up during the unconference sessions was “How do I find my ideal group of members and market to them?”
Coworking space owners and operators want to have a diverse group of members, but they also want to have a strong sense of culture. Many operators may envision their community being filled by young millennials working in digital marketing, a group of gen x’ers working as independent consultants, or being a hub full of startups. The reality is not only is it unlikely that you will have the same type of members through your space, having one type of member profile will not lead to building a strong community.
Culture isn’t defined by gender, age or profession. Culture is shaped by values and attitudes put into action. This is why it was determined throughout the conference that when trying to attract new members do not think about the types of people you want to have working in your space, think about the types of values and attitudes you want your members to embody.
Of course, it would be impossible to cover all topics discussed in one wrap up article, so for a full recap of all data and insights shared throughout the week, check out the presentation decks here.
Above all what makes this conference such a success are the people. This conference brings together over 500 individuals from not only across Europe but across the world, offering a diverse collection of perspectives, experiences and ideas. This is why Team Coworker would like to extend a huge thank you to the Coworking Europe Team, B. amsterdam, all of the amazing speakers, sponsors, and attendees for making this such a memorable event!
Will we see you there next year?
All photos provided by: Coworking Europe