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New Year, Big Changes: Coworking in Africa 2016

New Year, Big Changes: Coworking in Africa 2016

Another year, another chance to come back to life and work feeling refreshed. But just because we get the chance to shed our skin of 2015, doesn’t mean that we should forget all that we accomplished in 2015, like the first Coworking Africa conference in Cape Town, and the expansion of the Nairobi Garage in Kenya. As we are gearing up for the second Coworking Africa meetup, we would like to look back on some of 2015’s biggest moments, to get a feeling of the big things that will be accomplished this year.

The demand for coworking spaces is increasing

Sure, frequent power outages and a lack of reliable internet connections might be inconvenient, but it certainly didn’t stand in the way of the African entrepreneurial community. With the help of coworking spaces, which serve as an affordable platform for reliable business practices, freelancers and entrepreneurs are now able to achieve professional autonomy, leading to job creation and economic growth.

Kenya’s, Silicon Savannah is a prime example of how innovative platforms and coworking spaces have garnered international attention and simultaneously shaped Africa’s tech incubator model, producing innovative concepts like mobile money and a global crowdsourcing app.

As a result, the Nairobi Garage was able to expand, opening a new space on December 1st, 2015. Looking to become “Africa’s largest coworking space”, manager Hannah Clifford explained that there was a greater demand for workspace in the region highlighting the rapidly growing entrepreneurial community.

In Egypt, a new coworking space joined the community, recently opening in Dahab. In fact, the project is not just a space, but also an inn, hence the name: Coworkinn, which caters to the growing population of digital nomads. With the rise of nomadic workers, this initiative offers professional travelers the chance to experience all the natural beauty the Sinai Peninsula has to offer, while also bringing economic and professional opportunities to the region.

On a global scale, Rise Cape Town, a Barclays Accelerator in collaboration with Techstars, is bringing an international fintech-focused accelerator to Africa. This 13-week intensive program is designed to take your startup to the next level. The program includes support from Barclays technology and “world-class mentorship”.

With the booming coworking communities of both Kenya and South Africa leading the way,  the word has spread and there are now an estimated 200+ innovative spaces throughout the entire continent.

Upcoming events for 2016

Later this year, She Leads Africa, a female-led entrepreneurship support organization will also be taking the lead by expanding their bootcamp program to 5 African countries. This initiative is custom built to support women entrepreneurs achieve their goals through coaching and various events.

And, of course, the annual Coworking Summit will return again this year. Calling all founders and managers of hacker, art and coworking spaces, the Summit is designed to cater to the needs of spaces and communities in the Mediterranean region. The event aims to better these spaces, helping them to become pillars of their community helping to support entrepreneurs, with the goal of creating new jobs, and breathing new life into their communities.

In February of this year, Coworking Africa will be hosting their second event in Cape Town. The meetup will be focused on continuing the conversation sparked at the premier African coworking conference, by exploring the growth of coworking in Africa.

The meetup aims to offer best practices, knowledge, and also give coworkers, managers and all interested individuals the chance to learn how to better collaborate across Africa. The event will also offer a co-creation workshop, that will be focused on helping space operators improve their business, by discussing performance, funding sponsorships and community management.

2015 was a big year for coworking in Africa, and this event hopes to make 2016 an even bigger one. Tickets for the upcoming Coworking Africa event in Cape Town can be purchased here.