by Sam Melton
Verizon recently partnered with HarlemGarage to equip the Manhattan incubator space with Verizon FiOS Quantum Internet. HarlemGarage’s West 118th Street location will receive 6 months of Internet service pro bono from the provider to support the innovative companies that use the space.
This partnership, just one of many, illustrates the positive effect that alliances between coworking stations and large corporate enterprises can have on shared work spaces.
The concept of business incubators, developed in the late 1990s, has grown into a global network of collaborative work environments. Remote workers and start-up entrepreneurs, no longer confined to home offices and coffee shops, can now benefit from coworking sites, supported in part by big corporations. For start-ups and venture capital initiatives, the arrangement couldn’t be better.
Members of coworking spaces have access to more opportunities and amenities than they would at other offsite locations – without individual responsibility for technical installations, updates and bills. With a single membership, a HarlemGarage participant can enjoy the benefits of an office space – like advanced technology, easy collaboration and free exchange of ideas – without the additional costs of managing services on their own.
But individual workers and small start-ups aren’t the only ones who benefit from coworking spaces and business incubators. Multinational corporations who partner with and provide service to collaborative workspaces are also seeing benefits.
Why Multinationals are Teaming Up with Coworking Sites
According to the 2013 Global Coworking Census, which surveyed 2,498 coworking spaces in 80 countries, Europe has the largest coworking presence, followed by North America and Asia. A growth segment in business leasing contracts, coworking sites have increased by 89% since 2012, a growth of more than 300% from 2010.
Multinational corporations spend a great deal of energy and capital on research and development, and entrepreneurial schemes are often the source of new innovation. Large organizations can add value to their portfolio without starting from scratch by acquiring start-ups after they go public. The truth is that major corporations are thirsty for new talent and ideas – something that start-ups and small companies often have in spades.
Business incubators are a great source of such intelligence. And supporting these ventures in a coworking space can enhance that value tenfold – shared spaces are often comprised of a number of savvy ventures waiting to be bought and capitalized on. Sponsorship of coworking enterprises allows large companies to donate finance, time and resources across sectors in a single contribution – and often get tangible returns.
Coworking spaces with corporate partners put start-ups and entrepreneurs in contact with high profile business networks that can have impact far into the future. And the resulting exchange of knowledge and ideas is a highly sought after resource for major organizations and their professionals. Smart professionals acknowledge that interacting with emerging names and startups in their fields at these sites is a substantial boon for their own careers.
Coworking spaces aren’t just good for those starting out – they’re also good for well-established, multinational corporations. Everyone wins. And it’s for this reason that the future of coworking partnerships with large organizations is bright.
Please feel free to see more of Sam’s work on his blog: http://sammeltontalks.blogspot.com/