Many of the world’s great companies have started in a founder’s parents’ garage or spare room. But in the second decade of the 21st century, cooperative working (co-working) spaces are becoming more popular as workspaces for small companies and especially startups.
While the most basic co-working spaces may only offer a workstation with network access, tea and coffee and a few meeting rooms, the coolest spaces offer these services plus mentoring opportunities, networking and industry events, learning and training activities and access to professional services.
We take a look at some of the best co-working spaces across Australia.
Fishburners is a not-for-profit tech-focused co-working space in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Ultimo. With 176 companies, 264 members and 500 visitors a week, the space claims it’s the biggest in Australia. It only accepts scalable startups and to get a space, you need to apply and be accepted as a member.
In return, you get seriously fast internet (500Mbps/200Mbps), free drinks in the fridge, unlimited coffee and 24/7 access to a seriously cool workspace.
Fishburners also offers such value-adds as meet-ups, workshops on anything from capital raising to marketing and PR and access to free professional services such as law firms, accounting and UX design advice.
The Arcade is also a not-for-profit space located in Southbank, Melbourne. It’s aimed specifically at game developers and other creatively focused companies that use gaming methodologies and technologies.
The Arcade offers Wi-Fi access, meeting rooms, one hell of a serious coffee machine and a communal dining area. It also offers seminars and workshops on a wide variety of topics including skills, development, marketing, planning and business development.
River City Labs
River City Labs in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is focused on early-stage startups in the mobile, internet, telecoms and technology sectors. Like all co-working spaces, it offers a mix of casual, daily and weekly plans and has fast (100Mbps) internet and Wi-Fi.
There’s a boardroom, kitchen with vending machine, a coffee machine and a beer fridge.
River City Labs also offers a number of mentors available as well as an accelerator program offering globally focused startups funding, four months’ space at River City Labs, an intensive 14-week program and a variety of other opportunities.
There’s also printing facilities up to A3 and three meeting rooms – bookable by Gmail calendar – which can transform into a single large event space.
Focused on technology and business, Rust490 is situated in the CBD and is Darwin’s newest co-working space. It’s currently small, offering 15 workstations, but it has room for expansion.
Rust490 is connected to the NBN via fibre and has fast Wi-Fi, as well as plans to provide 3D printing and virtual-reality services in the near future.
A former art gallery, Rust49 boasts a vibrant colourful decor and has basic office facilities, a kitchen and free coffee. It also hosts a monthly meet-up for like-minded entrepreneurs.
Majoran hosts a number of events including the Adelaide tech meet-ups and hackathon, and bills itself as the premier co-working space for the tech and creative startup community.
Situated in Grenfell Street in Adelaide’s CBD, Majoran is a not-for-profit space that offers 24/7 access, high-speed internet, meeting rooms, kitchen facilities with unlimited tea and coffee and a permanent mailing address, as well as a workstation.
Started by commercialisation and investment group, Atomic Sky, Tech Hub offers part-time and full-time desk spaces, meeting rooms for hire, a casual function area and a conference/event space.
Situated in the Perth CBD, Tech Hub hosts events such as ‘Lunchtime Learning’ sessions, ‘Community Lunches’ and ‘Happy Hour’. According to its website, all the usual facilities – tea, coffee, fast internet, 24/7 access, a mailing address and the like – are all available.
Situated on Hobart’s historic waterfront, Parliament Coworking offers startups their own desk (no hot desking), internet access, printing, free use of two meeting rooms, a basic kitchen, a business address, after-hours access, bike storage and great views of MONA.
In addition to networking events and training sessions, Parliament has established relationships with two local accounting and financial firms who offer members a free initial consultation.
Entry29 is a space that bills itself as Canberra’s largest startup community with 80 members and 42 companies. At the time of writing, it had 80 members, 42 companies, with members consuming 38,464 cups of coffee – and growing!
Besides an abundance of coffee, it provides shared and dedicated desks depending on membership, fast internet and Wi-Fi, three meeting rooms, two conference rooms, a recreation space with ping-pong table and Xbox, printing, 24/7 access and shower facilities.
Entry29 also offers a variety of networking events and a range of benefits from business partners Amazon Web Services, Microsoft BizSpark and IBM Softlayer.
Co-working spaces are not just there to serve as space; they are also great for meeting like-minded individuals and networking for business opportunities, as well as learning and reaching out to the community for support.
The energy from being around a bunch of focused, business savvy individuals working towards a purpose can be invaluable when starting your new business.
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