Two years ago the number of coworking spaces in Cairo could be counted on one hand, but as their numbers have multiplied they’re now beginning to specialize and offer services to very specific groups of entrepreneurs.
But more and more spaces are popping up every month and are being used by an increasing number of startups. Each is trying to offer competitive benefits while still maintaining their own unique revenue model.
As a result, the business model of Egyptian coworking spaces is no longer limited to providing offices, conference rooms, internet connection, and office supplies. By the end of last year, at least three new spaces launched with a focus on providing specialized workshops for their customers.
El Co-working – Mohandeseen
“When we launched our coworking space El Co-working, we had a different goal than our current business model which is to open our doors to companies that offer training courses. And we indeed operated as such for a year before deciding to expand our work and host entrepreneurs looking for equipped premises for meetings or work,” says Farida Mohsen, El Co-working manager.
“We are doing this by taking advantage of our current PR network, and providing training workshops on crisis management, HR management, accounting, legal affairs, and other topics that interest entrepreneurs. We also offer web and mobile app design and development services.”
El Co-working includes a multimedia room, computer lab, conference rooms, and training rooms. In addition to all these features, the project organizers are relying on luxurious furniture and state-of-the-art equipment to attract startups.
The space allows entrepreneurs to rent a spot by the hour or by the day. Monthly rent is around $260.
“We get technology, media, and programming startups, and we are set to exploit the human, moral, scientific, and financial resources to launch other startups, the first of which will be a travel and tourism platform that we will launch soon,”says founder Moheb Zaki.
Zaki opened Makanak at the beginning of this year and aims to help startups generate business ideas.
“The idea was widely welcomed by the working space customers; so much that I was surprised with how fast positive responses and feedback started pouring in. I think we will succeed at showing that small entities grow faster than corporations that merge.”
Zaki says he is currently working on monetizing Makanak’s business model.
The cost of renting a space in Makanak varies between $10-200 per month depending on the package rented, and also has hourly options.
To promote the space, Zaki says Facebook is the best tool to expand his customer base.
“Even if it’s the costliest one, it’s an efficient tool to achieve quick popularity.”
Mushtarak – El Dokki
Launched only a few days ago, this co-working space aims to use technology to serve social enterprises.
“We host young social initiatives and support them with advice and technical mentoring on topics such as digital security, coding, and email and SMS protection, as well as other topics that interest young people,” says, Rami Raouf, one of the six cofounders.
Mushtarak is a project by Metoon, an information security consultancy, and the co-founders are preparing to launch workshops on documentation using Wikipedia, seminars on Free Open-Source Software (FOSS), and training sessions on digital archiving skills.
The founders are currently offering Mushtarak’s features free of charge “until we change the monetization model,” Raouf says.