This Saturday, 18 coworking leaders gathered from throughout New Zealand at Carterton’s 3Mile coworking space to share, collaborate and discuss the future of coworking in New Zealand. This is the second meeting of this kind; an inaugural Cowork Hui was sponsored by Priority One, Venture Centre in Tauranga in 2016.
The hui was called to accelerate collaborations in response to the growing global phenomenon of coworking - with 30,000 spaces and 5 million members forecast by 2022, New Zealand has much to learn domestically and from countries further ahead in what the team agreed must finally be called an ‘industry’.
3Mile owner Marie-Claire Andrews, appointed spokesperson for Coworking Aotearoa Association, says the formalisation of Coworking Aotearoa into an association is an important first step towards having a collective voice to champion the industry.
“Although every coworking space operates differently, we all agree that coworking has fundamental principles that benefit individuals, businesses and the communities that they operate in.”
“We are all conscious of the need to more effectively engage with policy makers and the business ecosystem that surrounds coworking spaces, this Association signals our intent to do just that,” says Andrews.
Since the hui in 2016, the coworking industry now boasts 41 operators throughout New Zealand, helping create a connected and collaborative business landscape in centres across New Zealand.
Hannah Delaney from Kāpiti Collective says coworking is more than just about sharing a space with others, it’s flow on effect can benefit the wider economy as well.
“These spaces provide a focal point for entrepreneurship and innovation. People working from these spaces are often exporting their services, bringing in money from overseas that gets spent in the local area.
“They also bring opportunities, for example, we at Kāpiti Collective recently helped launch the smartphone app Nowsnapp. Based in Hong Kong and France, the Nowsnapp team developed this instant services app out of Kapiti and choose to pioneer and launch it back into the community.
“They flew the international team over, sponsoring community events and spending money in the community in the process.”
“The economic impact we are seeing on the communities in which we operate is hugely substantial.”
Saturday saw coworking owners from Invercargill to Tauranga represented, with all attendees, from small regional providers to major industry players such as BizDojo, citing similar economic, social and business impacts on the businesses and individuals that partake in coworking.