Many times, we at Amritsar Founders are invited by Colleges and Universities to work on proposals of Incubation Centers at their respective places. It's an audacious project, and something that can change the corporate face of our city.
I wanted to talk about one of the features of Incubation Centers that is seen as a necessity in the whole framework: co-working spaces.
Ideally, co-working spaces can provide necessary infrastructure such as an office with a desk and chair, power connection, internet and meeting rooms to the budding entrepreneurs & small businesses. Co-workings can also provide private cabin spaces for bigger teams. Other perks include security, permanent office address & cafeteria. Luxury ones may consist of gyms & fitness centers too.
Let me start with how co-working spaces can be valuable to our community.
1) Never feel lonely
If you have worked as a solo entrepreneur or a freelancer, you know that it is lonely to be doing things on your own without a peer group. Co-working spaces provide an excellent opportunity to be surrounded by those who are also working on their dreams that would keep you motivated and inspired to work on yours.
We at Statusbrew have seemingly been working from our cave, Statusbrew HQ, with little interaction with the outside community, and it had been a lonely journey. Amritsar Startups was our initiative to create a community of go-getters and our answer to eliminate working alone. Later, I found solace with my newly formed group of entrepreneurs at Amritsar Founders. It's truly remarkable how ideas and thoughts can be shared and transferred when you have a group of like-minded people you can call your own.
Having surrounded with like-minded people and the ability to interact with them, many opportunities can unfold. You can learn new skills, connect with potential clients, and even get a direct connect to the investors.
3) Save costs
No rental contracts (office, internet, electricity, etc.), no maintenance, no hassle of dealing with infra! Co-working saves you not only real money but also saves you time and opportunity costs. This is great for freelancers as well as small to mid-sized companies.
And oh, the improvements to infra is also part of the job of your co-working provider. You don't need to worry about upgrading infra anymore.
As promising the idea of networking is, it can also be a perpetual means to distract oneself. Some teammates would be found more often at common spaces or someone else's desk than getting their own job done. Other teams at the space can be loud. There will be circumstances out of your control and can lead to reduced productivity.
Since you do not own the place, you would be potentially stuck with one allotted desk space for a considerable time. You would not be able to change orientation or decorate your workspace the way you like. Even bringing personal work amenities like whiteboards might require approvals.
3) Bloated costs
It might prove to be cost-effective for freelancers or small businesses by saving some upfront costs. However, it can prove to be quite expensive for mid to large companies as pricing is usually set on a per seat basis.
Co-working scope in Amritsar
Talking about this puts me in a very slippery slope as I am still part of the local communities, but I feel we need to talk about the core challenges that surround co-working, which ironically, have little to do with co-working.
I think creative teams, HR and admin teams can work out of co-working spaces efficiently without significant concerns.
But it can be an issue for core, tech (product or service) companies to be working out of co-working spaces due to requirements of safeguarding intellectual properties and private information. Core development and sales teams can be the ones under a more rigorous scrutiny for this.
However additionally, since in Amritsar, a majority of the companies are into IT services - digital marketing, web & app development, etc., there can be understandable concerns about keeping their internal business processes secret.
Issues with Co-working spaces in Amritsar
- Hoping clients - since both your clients and other teams can now know about each other (visits, or overhearing discussions), they can quickly jump.
- Copying of ideas - expertise in creative content
- Information security leak - personal information of clients, contracts and intellectual property
- Talent poaching - other teams can pay more to recruit your trained staff
Ways Co-working spaces can work in Amritsar
Co-working can be a great fit for companies that do not have major overlapping business processes since there will be no concern about clients or team spillovers.
Companies that require a high level of information security can work out of cabins so that their internal discussions or plans cannot be overheard by other tenants. Sales teams can make use of conference rooms to make sales calls, deliver product demos, or meet clients.
Moreover, a simple agreement must be signed by all co-working tenants to ensure they adhere to a certain level of information protection. Defaulters should be penalized and may also be asked to leave the co-working space after a thorough hearing process.
I believe co-working is terrific and it would provide many opportunities for the community in growing their ventures. With this, we may also be able to attract a lot of investors, perhaps have a global incubator from our city. With a good plan and careful execution, we can see many global companies starting from the Holy City.