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Budding entrepreneurs latch unto co-working models to boost business

In a bid to thrive amidst the harsh business climate in Nigeria, business owners, especially startups are now latching unto co-working models, which provide soft landing, networking opportunities and synergy that reduce their risks, and improve business profitability.

The co-working model provides spaces outside the conventional corporate office where budding business owners converge to do their business, sharing and innovating ideas, as well as, using same facility.

The imperative of the model was brought to the forefront at the long-awaited Co-working Conference, which held for the first time in Lagos recently.  The Nigeria edition of the global conference themed ‘The Nigerian Co-working Industry: Opportunities and Benefits’, which held at Imax Cinema, Lekki Lagos, brought together global experts, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, and leading figures in Nigeria’s co-working industry, to explore the drivers of the growth in co-working spaces in Nigeria, and the opportunities and value being created.

In his opening remarks, Kola Oyeneyin, creator, Co-Working Conference Nigeria and founder/CEO, Venia, noted that co-working spaces are the future of work places in the world because by being a co-working space, entrepreneurs can identify, network, and create funding opportunities for their businesses.

For him, about 40 percent of the world’s workforce will be entrepreneurs and freelancers by 2020, and this is a major driver in the rise in demand for co-working spaces even in Nigeria.

Explaining further, Oyeneyin said, “The impact of co-working spaces can be far reaching as young people, who are also called the millennials, can now work from anywhere. They are the digitally nomads. That is the future of work. You see a guy in a café, buys a cup of coffee and doughnut working away on his PC. In the new co-working spaces, there are no more receptionists rather community managers because they manage different businesses.”

As well, Tonye Cole, chairman, Sahara Group, who doubled as a speaker at the conference, ignited passion for entrepreneurship among the participants. According to him, the only way Nigeria and Africa can catch up with other nations of the world economically is for young people to seize opportunity and work together as entrepreneurs. He regrets that many successful people like him are not from Nigeria, yet the country has far more talents than other countries in Africa.

“We should not go to sleep as if the rest of Africa is asleep. Other African countries are challenging us and are moving fast. The continent has realised that entrepreneurship is the only way. They are seeking new opportunities because they realise they need to move forward,” he noted.

In his presentation at the conference titled: ‘Future of The Co-World’, Franklin Ozekhome, CEO, Tink Africa, said it is important to understand the consumer when co-creating.

“The brand must have a purpose, something that a consumer must feel that they are a part of. We have to look at what communities are creating for a better understanding of the consumer. You can no longer base consumers on their age or location. We need to create an ecosystem where the product is already embedded in the service.  How can we trigger the evolution of consumerism?”

However, Oyeneyin assured that the conference has come to stay in Nigeria and would continue to further the ideals of entrepreneurship, synergy and platform for those looking for opportunities to soar with their innovations.

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