ASTANA – Although a novelty several years ago, the coworking culture seems to be gaining popularity within the city’s business community. Coworking sites in the capital offer a similar core product – a membership-based workspace and unique concepts, each with certain amenities that differentiate them from their competitors.
Multispace is a pioneer among the city’s coworking sites. Opened in 2014 with 6,500 square metres, it is the second largest coworking company in the world. The firm, which offers individual workplaces, smart offices and meeting rooms, received the Best Office Kazakhstan award in 2015.
In an interview with Atameken Business Channel, Multispace Founder and CEO Emil Maldjanov noted the coworking culture provides the key things needed for small business – a cheap workspace and communication across different industries. The most important thing for small business owners is to overcome the fear of doing business and face the risks associated with it. The coworking culture creates a community of like-minded people and helps eliminate the psychological limitations of first-time entrepreneurs.
IQ Coworking, created by Vostok Invest Group, offers 2,000 square metres in the heart of the city.
“Renting commercial real estate is the main activity of our company. We have managed traditional business centres for many years. We have strong experience in the industry of commercial real estate. As any business, our company changes to meet the needs of our customers. The profile of an Astana entrepreneur changed a lot during the most recent five years. We now clearly see that the number of freelancers and solopreneurs has increased. I am sure that they will be a large part of the Astana business community in the coming years. We offer small businesses all the conditions for growing their business,” said Vostok Invest Group General Director Dinara Kabdullina in an interview for this story.
IQ Coworking has the option of renting an individual workplace or an office for five-six people. The space has conference halls, meeting rooms, a kitchen, canteen and relaxation areas. Managers also organise events and meetups to boost cooperation among users.
“Our unique offer is a capsule hotel with nine places. Each guest is accommodated in a separate suite which is well ventilated and has power facilities to charge a phone and laptop. It is a great option for people who want to take a shower and relax after a trip and to save time for the meetings which can be appointed right here in our coworking centre. A very convenient and democratic option for the people who plan a short business stay in Astana,” she added.
New York Coworking&Networking is a new coworking space in the new part of the capital. Founder and CEO Azamat Kappas, an entrepreneur well-known in the city’s business community, operates a chain of building materials stores, a dental and cosmetology clinic and café.
“In 2017, I spent six months in the USA. I went there to seek business and migration opportunities. Every day, I used to go out and walk along New York streets thinking about what I could do in this country. One day, I visited a lawyer whose services I used to prepare my personal documents. She rented a working place in WeWork (one of the largest coworking chains in the world). I liked an atmosphere there. It is easier to stay motivated and inspired when you are surrounded by other people doing business in different industries,” he said.
“I decided to return to Kazakhstan and build my future here,” he added.
The main difference of New York Coworking is the focus on networking and business education. Kappas has initiated regular meetings known as Honest Dialogue with Azamat Kappas, when he invites experienced entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and skills with young people.
Managers and users organise other events to create an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration.
The company does not offer separate offices for its clients. Instead, users rent a workspace in an open area, allowing them to easily communicate and network. Residents have 24/7 access to their workspaces and the package also includes use of conference and meeting rooms and the services of a lawyer, accountant and marketing expert.
“I am an entrepreneur. I know what entrepreneurs need when they start their business. Our coworking has it all and I am sure we will be a success,” said Kappas.
“I often meet with young people. Most of them dream about building their own business. Careers in big corporations are not something which attract the youth any more. It is a worldwide trend. Individual entrepreneurs with great ideas and skills to communicate and collaborate with others are the future. I am happy that our coworking helps them in their first steps in business,” he added.