Everything is evolving. The way we work, live, love… It’s an interesting time to be alive. Some time ago, I romanticized with the idea of creating a work oasis; and utopia of workplaces. On Saturday, I walked into my dream reality: Kowork NG.
Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. There are certain groups of people which this setup caters to. They include work-at-home professionals, independent contractors and people who work in relative isolation. However this is not limited to these demographics. SMEs are beginning to consider this option due to the value added services innovative coworking spaces provide. In other words, coworking spaces have transformed from its traditional model into a more dynamic business solution making fledgling upstarts and progressive SMEs give serious thought to it. As they say, “More bang for your buck”. Value Added Coworking spaces which we refer to as Integrated Solutions Business Space (ISBS), office spaces are gaining in popularity. We coined the term ISBS out of a lack of a proper term to refer to the new hybrid of coworking spaces. Of which Kowork NG is a pioneer in these regions. These workpspaces are beginning to take on a form of dynamism which traditional office workplaces and conventional coworking workspaces never had.
Kowork Ng just opened its doors in the city of Port Harcourt. We heard about them and decided to see what value they were bringing to the Garden city. We were not disappointed. We got an interview with Lyza Otamiri public relations, Kowork NG.
What is Kowork about?
For a new business one of the challenges encountered is the cost of setting up the office space and the immense cost of running the business premise over time. Our business climate makes the cost of retting up very expensive. People who also work from home tend not to be productive due to the fact that it does not make for a conducive environment to work from. Our vision is to take that stress of setting up your business and certain operations off you as a business owner. And enable you focus on the very important things, getting rid of the mundane hassle. By so doing we boost your productivity and you spend less on setup cost.
So you are making initial setup easy for startups?
Not just for startups. We have hubs which cater to different cadres of business owners. We have hubs for mid-upper level businesses, sole entrepreneurs as well as custom solutions for clients with unique requirements.
So basically you are providing office space solutions for different business demographics?
Yes we are.
You’ve told about the problems you are trying to solve. Now, we know there are other players in the industry. What stands you out? What is your unique selling proposition?
Currently in Rivers State most of the coworking spaces are industry specific. They are targeted towards the tech industry. People with similar profession coming together to create a hub. But we’ve gone beyond that. Our idea is not just to have a space that services a particular industry. Our vision is to create a coworking space which is available to all types of businesses. You can have a lawyer, architect, and other professions sharing the same working environment. You see, when you have something like that, it gives room for symbiosis. So it fosters an environment for shared ideas and collaboration.
In other words you have created an ecosystem for businesses to interact and thrive?
Yes we have. We also offer training which is free for members of our hub. These trainings border on helping business owners to become more efficient and productive. We arm them with knowledge on vital corporate strategies, legalities, chartering etc. We also have people on ground to provide assistance.
So what informed your choice of location? We’ve been to your GRA hub. Is that your main location?
All our hubs are built to meet the same standards and are modelled alike. However, we have taken into consideration the fact that for each location, there are different categories of people domiciled there. For instance, GRA is a prime location for NGOs, international organizations. Then there is another class of people who need an office location and wouldn’t mind if it not in a highbrow area like GRA or who would like that location because of its proximity to their residence or clientele. What matters is that they have those value added services. There is steady power, internet which are basic. This Dline hub is targeted to them.
So would you consider Dline a prime location? I have always considered Dline to be the new silicon valley of this region because it habits very enterprising knowledge based ventures. Do you see this?
Yes. Dline is a good business location with potentially successful upstarts. If you look at our setup here, we have the workstation setup. That is what is predominantly here. We have done this to cater to this category of businesses. So we’ve done our homework
So what setup do you have at GRA?
GRA is for the mid to upper scale businesses like we’ve mentioned earlier. We have different plans which include the castle prime, the executive office, the deluxe prime, the semi executive etc.
So is your Trans Amadi hub up and running yet?
Work is under way. We also have an office in Surulere. We are growing and expanding. With time, you will get to see more and more locations.
When we came in, we noticed a lot of work going on. Is this Dline hub ready? Everyone seems to be involved. Is that part of your corporate culture?
Yes the Dline hub is ready. We are just putting some finishing touches to it. You can see that we are having this meeting here in the meeting room. Here at kowork even though we have a structure, we work as a team and everyone takes responsibility. This means that every job role can be filled at all times in the event someone is not available.
So to what extent do you interface with your clients? What other services d you provide?
Yes we have add-on resources which we offer to them at minimal cost. We have financial services, digital services and business development services.
So what have you got over the traditional cyber café?
That era is gone. For people serious about running a proper office setup, this is the solution. We have a meeting space, reception, free coffee, water dispenser, internal communications, and every facility to make this place a fully-functional and conducive workspace.
We were latter conducted on a tour of the facility. Kowork NG office space gives off a cozy ambience which makes for an ideal work environment. The colour scheme and overall theme creates a mix of corporate culture and at the same time, a relaxed atmosphere. The staff are hospitable and professional. The walls are resplendent with golden brown wall paper and are living walls of fame. It is also situated in a serene and safe neighbourhood.