With three co-working spaces going operational within the last six months, the concept—we can say—has taken off in Pakistan.
Cheer up, deserted freelancers and lone entrepreneurs, you can now join others like yourself while still being free from the chains of a conventional 9-6 job.
For the sake of understanding the idea, a co-working space is an office environment shared by many people who are otherwise working independently. It provides you a ready-to-move work environment with facilities like electricity, internet, business address, and a desk.
Agree to pay a small amount and you get a desk along with the frills of an office without spending money or time in setting one up.
Not to mention that a co-working space is a lot cheaper than doing all of it yourself.
DotZero in Karachi were the pioneer in this space. They have recently been joined by Basecamp from Peshawar and TechHub from Lahore. Let me give you a brief overview of the three:
DotZero, started in July 2013, wants to be more than a mere co-working space.
Launched with the goal ‘of creating and catalysing an ecosystem for technology start-ups,’ DotZero labels itself as community space for entrepreneurs. DotZero caters to technology entrepreneurs, no matter at what stage of business they are.
If you are just a starter without any funding source or a revenue stream, you can apply for the Rs. 4,000/month community desk. Otherwise, you will have to pay 8 to 12 thousand rupees for a desk. Considering they launched just 6 months ago, it’s remarkable that they are running at close to full capacity with over 80 (out of 110) desks already occupied.
Located in the heart of Peshawar, on the main G.T. Road, Basecamp also brands itself as a co-working space for startups. They started operation just a week ago, on January 15th.
Although still in beta, they are accepting a select number of people to join the facility. Fee isn’t mentioned on their website, maybe that will change when they launch.
For now, you can contact them for details.
3. Plan9 TechHub, Lahore
Backed by Plan9, TechHub is an upcoming co-working space to be launched on February 3rd, 2014. Plan9 is a technology incubator of Punjab Information Technology Board headed by the the former LUMS professor and serial entrepreneur Dr. Umer Saif.
TechHub primarily wants to attract the freelancers. Their open day, held on January 21st, attracted around 100 people. With only Rs. 5,000 a month, it is priced quite reasonably.
I, for one, as someone who has worked freelance for extended periods of time, welcome this trend. Although freelancing earns you a lot more than a day-job but that comes, for most, at the cost of getting cut off from the day to day interaction with real people in the real world.
A co-working space should help with that.