Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Owing to India’s start-up culture and a young millennial workforce, coworking spaces have proven to be the perfect solution for small business owners or freelancers.
By Prashant Garg
Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Coworking has, of late, mushroomed all across with a range of players coming into the foray. As of the first half of 2019, India was the 2nd largest market for coworking in the APAC region. Over 13 million people are expected to work out of a coworking space in India by the end of 2020. Out of these, 1.5 million workers would be freelancers, while 100,000 would be employees of start-ups – the two sectors that are fuelling the growth of coworking spaces in India since the beginning.
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Owing to India’s start-up culture and a young millennial workforce, coworking spaces have proven to be the perfect solution for small business owners or freelancers to get the industry exposure they desire in a cost-efficient manner that doesn’t hurt their pockets. Here are some ways in which the coworking sector has proven to be beneficial for small business owners, entrepreneurs, etc.:
Affordability: Every start-up wants a good address for their business, one that would look attractive and inviting on a business card, but office spaces in such locations are only getting pricier with time. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, etc. do not have the funds needed to be able to invest in office spaces or the various amenities needed to run a fully-functional workspace. Coworking spaces offer a plethora of services like parking space, tea/coffee services, meeting rooms, manned receptions, etc. where start-ups can invite investors, hold interviews, meetings, etc. For businesses that are still starting out, real estate is the last thing they can spend their restricted budgets on, and coworking spaces are the best solution for them.
Flexibility: The millennial workforce usually works anywhere, anytime and decide their own regime. Flexible coworking spaces allow different hours, can have multiple locations in the same city or several different ones, and provide different kinds of workspaces as per the requirements of a person/group and this suits the requirements of today’s young professionals immensely. Furthermore, coworking spaces can provide different kinds of workspaces as per the needs of a client – be it a private cubicle, a meeting room or just a simple workstation. For professionals who travel to various cities, global co-working companies have offices in multiple national and international locations allowing them to maintain a professional front even on the go.
Networking: When any business is starting out, networking and building the right connections are key to their success. Co-working spaces are a great place to do this as they bring together people from different businesses under the same office space, and can often help companies and entrepreneurs find other companies, freelancers, etc. Since many professionals use coworking spaces for their freelance projects or consulting businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs get the opportunity to collaborate with industry professionals that they may not have had easy access to otherwise.
Industry exposure: India’s start-up culture no longer resides in just tier-one cities. According to industry reports, 8.5 million coworking seats will operate out of tier 2 cities by 2020, bringing industry exposure and business opportunities to these cities. No business today can survive without being tech-savvy, which is a challenge for small business owners and entrepreneurs in tier 2 and 3 cities. Co-working brings to them a platform where they can not only have access to the technology needed for the running of their businesses but also allow them to expand their capabilities. Facilities such as video conferencing, virtual office spaces, or even just high-speed connectivity, helps entrepreneurs and start-ups in these cities to connect better with the outside world.
Undoubtedly, coworking spaces are the future of professional workspaces, with their array of amenities and offerings only becoming more diverse with each passing year. India’s young workforce and thriving start-up culture is not only fuelling this industry but also growing because of it – a mutually beneficial relationship that will only continue to add value to both parties in the future. By venturing beyond metros, coworking spaces and bringing development and opportunities to the doorstep of budding entrepreneurs, providing them with the technology and provisions that they need to bring national or even international attention to their business. Co-working has now established itself as a fundamental part of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) leasing activity and a full-fledged sector, giving a tough competition to conventional office spaces.
Prashant Garg is the Country Manager at Garage Society India. Views expressed are the author’s own.