The idea of having co-working spaces where independent workers
can work and socialize has already spread like wildifire throughout
the Arab world.
In Morocco, Casablanca kicked off the trend in mid-2012 when iNSANE! was launched. Unfortunately, it shut earlier this year when its rent was increased, leaving the city without a co-working spot. Now, the city has a new spot: on May 20th, the New Work Lab opened its doors to welcome entrepreneurs to the Gautier neighborhood of Casablanca.
A holistic co-working space
After working for years at a management consulting firm, Fatim-Zahra Biaz went traveling for nine months and learned two life-changing concepts, she says: the power of community, and the power of a mobile work set-up. When the two meet, you have a community of workers who can meet, share, and support each other from anywhere in the world, especially coworking spaces.
Once she moved back to Casablanca, her city of origin, last July, she decided to launch her own co-working space. In order to build a community that could foster creativity and innovation, Biaz launched the space to offer three elements: the co-working space itself, an event series, and labs.
The New Work Lab co-working space can host up to 30 people in 5 different spaces, which each have a different theme illustrating a value useful for startups: there's a library to foster the pursuit of knowledge, a sport-themed space to encourage entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles, a travel-themed space to symbolize adventure and the importance of meeting people, a green business space to remind founders to have respect for sustainability, and, of course, a cafeteria.
People can choose to pay 60 MAD (US $7) for half a day, 120 MAD (US $14) for a day or 2500 MAD (~ US$300) for a month.
Biaz also organizes networking events- the first of which was attended by 80 people- celebrations, which have included a Wordpress birthday party, and various talks and salons. After organizing the first TEDxSalon in Casablanca, Biaz will organize a virtual talk with Betsy Hoover, the Online Organizing Director of Barack Obama's 2012 campaign.
Soon, she will unveil the Labs, which will offer trainings and workshops to support members’ creativity and innovation.
Morocco is working to build infrastructure for young entrepreneurs. With
any luck, New Work Lab will stick around to accelerate that