Coworking Africa is an anual insightful event to investigate the rise of Coworking in Africa, the impact this movement can have on entrepreneurship, innovation and, overall, on economical development.
It is a unique opportunity to share knowledge, success stories and experiences in the field of Coworking space management and unfolding. Moreover, the conference aims at facilitating the emergence personal relationships between the leaders of coworking communities from all over the African continent.
By having a coworking conference to Africa, the initiators of the conferences hope to support the development of an African coworking awareness as well as a link between coworking communities on the continent in order to bring Africa in a global move from which we all can end better off.
The first Coworking Africa conference, held in Cape Town on July 2015, was a success. About 75 people showed up. One third of the audience made the trip from outside South Africa, with delegates originating from more than 15 countries and 4 continents.
Building a network of trust and knowledge sharing between Coworking communities benefits to all the players, as it has been demonstrated in Europe (Coworking Europe) and in North America (GCUC) the last five years. Thanks to the Coworking conferences, thousands of Coworking spaces communities around the wold are in touch with one another. Connections between local communities of freelancers, entrepreneurs and innovators, stimulates collaborations, exchanges, social and business opportunities for members, nearby or on the international playground.
Everywhere in the world, Coworking spaces are becoming the bedrocks of local ecosystems of entrepreneurs shaping the future of modern, digital friendly, tech-savvy economies.
Aside the great deal of independent stand alone Coworking spaces, players such as business incubators, corporations or development agencies or universities have opened or are opening up Coworking spaces. Startup Acceleration programs take place in Coworking spaces.
Furthermore, the members of the fast expanding freelancers generation find in Coworking spaces a natural biotope to operate, network and grow their business, supported by communities of peers. According to estimations from Deskmag, in 2018, worldwide, more than 2,3 millions freelancers will work from coworking spaces.
Africa is part of this global move.
Although, in 2015, the number of Coworking spaces in operation in Africa is lower than in areas such as Europe or the US, the growth forecasts follow the same trend as elsewhere on the planet. In addition, let’s say that nowhere on Earth, the popping up of Coworking spaces is more critical for wealth creation, social and economical development than in Africa.
Coworking spaces offer connectivity solutions in local areas and a proper work infrastructure, for a more affordable price than traditional offices, especially in African cities where the cost of the real estate is unaffordable for a huge majority of the population. Coworking spaces concentrate digital resources and help to bring peer to peer support, visibility and networking opportunities.
They bridge local community of entrepreneurs and freelancers with other communities and potential customers elsewhere in Africa or in the world. This way, Coworking spaces can play a key role in connecting small businesses in Africa with international markets and the latest innovations.
Africa is ready for a rapid unfolding of the Coworking landscape in the coming years, as observed elsewhere. However, as mentioned, the reality of the continent and the challenges faced by Coworking spaces operators and initiators in Africa are specific.
The Coworking Africa 2015 conference intends to spot and to address these specific challenges, bearing in mind that Africa is huge and very diverse. The event will also bring the opportunity to the African attendees to get in touch with experienced Coworking practitioners from outside Africa, who will supply them with their insights and advices.
The audience of the conference is expected to be made out of Coworking space operators from across the continent, startup accelerators, digital infrastructure builders, real estate pundits, NGO’s, universities or incubator managers from Africa and beyond.