by Sean Daniel Grobbelaar
While coworking spaces have exploded as the future of business workspace, few have been deliberate in making connections between members as business owners, and even fewer have specifically offered international business development opportunities.
Membership-based coworking passports exist but tend to focus on procuring desk space. As a coworking manager in Sydney at Village coworking we believe our desk pricing is relevant to the business opportunities we create for our members rather than the just the desk space we offer. I can only presume global coworking passports that focus on desk space rather than global opportunities might not deliver what coworkers really need.
So how can a member of a coworking space leverage the global coworking community and obtain better access to international opportunities?
One new alliance, Co-WAG, is focusing on creating global opportunities through local connections. Coworkers who join CoWAG can benefit from international collaboration just as they have benefited from local collaboration in coworking spaces.
Co-WAG strives to support coworkers embarking on international trips and global expansion by setting up a “GOAL form.” The GOAL (Global Opportunities Available Locally) form helps reciprocal coworking spaces support international coworkers with local connections, facilities and opportunities. So far, it seems to be an attractive proposition for coworking spaces; over 20 spaces have joined in just over a month, including spaces in Paris, Johannesburg, Perth, and Brisbane.
To show the possibilities of international collaboration, here’s a look at the GOAL form of a member of Village coworking in North Sydney.
Co-WAG: Specify your business
Sandra: I, Sandra D’Souza, am the Founder and CEO of Curate Bee where I work with organizations of all sizes to create engaging conversations across their online platforms, from their website through to their blog and social media channels. Having clients from various corners of the globe, I often travel for new opportunities, existing client relationships, business consultations and strategy development meetings.
Co-WAG: Specify the coworking destination you want to book or make a request
Sandra: I would prefer to leverage the Co-WAG network in Singapore and in Hong Kong because I am planning to expand my business and opportunities in these two cities.
Co-WAG: What are your potential travel dates?
Sandra: It is likely that I will be travelling to both Singapore and Hong Kong in the next month or so. Just this year, I have travelled to Vancouver, Canada, Silicon Valley, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, and can see myself having to go back to each of these cities at some stage in the near future.
Co-WAG: What is the purpose of your trip?
Sandra: I will be speaking with a number of prospects who have shown interest in our service – ideally SMEs and enterprises that are looking to implement content marketing strategies with social media automation. I’ll also be meeting with potential software partners I have had email communication with and believe to be a good fit to offer aligned services in the digital space.
Co-WAG: I need the following co-working services when in town
Sandra: When I travel, I am quite contented with working from the hotel, so I don’t see the need for a hot desk. However, I would love to have an office address, access to meeting rooms and information about networking events that I can possibly attend during my stay. I think it would be pleasant to interact with other businesses that can help my company expand, and learn more about their services for future reference. This is especially helpful when I travel to places where I may not have any business connections. It would be useful for me to find a way to interact with like-minded businesses.
Co-WAG: I need the following CONTACTS/RESOURCES/SERVICES when in town
Sandra: I would like to meet accountants, lawyers and other professionals who can provide local insights for expanding my business. I am also interested in targeting SMEs that want to improve their social media, i.e. would be appropriate clients for my business.
Co-WAG: On the other hand, can you identify the possible services that your company can provide to your fellow co-workers?
Sandra: Our company, Curate Bee, can provide digital marketing services to other coworkers, from social media services to company-wide marketing strategy and implementation.
This GOAL form is then sent onto Co-WAG members in Hong Kong and Singapore and will be shared with coworkers in reciprocal coworking spaces.
Hopefully before Sandra is to fly out of Sydney she will have already established some connections and relationships with the right people. While she can enjoy a few days of desk space at the Co-WAG affiliates in Singapore and Hong Kong, the expectation is that she will benefit more from the networking opportunities created through collaboration between international coworking communities.
Until now the international aspect of coworking has been limited to simply granting members access to spaces abroad, but left coworkers’ social and professional networking needs to chance. Co-WAG is trying to take it further and help international coworkers establish those relationships by leveraging the global coworking community. What makes coworking so unique is that it relies on, and rewards, the good will of other coworkers, and we’re hoping that can be extended to some degree for visiting coworkers before they even step foot in a new country.
For more on companies, organizations and projects created by people who cowork, check out our series Made by Coworking.