Those Who Cowork Together, Succeed Together

Coworking is not a new idea. However, its popularity is relatively new to Hamilton. Coworking spaces are on the rise in the city and are quickly becoming the desired work environment for entrepreneurs and freelancers alike. As Hamilton continues to move through its renaissance, the emergence of start-ups and small businesses are vital to the city’s success and growth. Coworking spaces in Hamilton allow these small businesses the resources and space that they need to contribute to the economy with an impact.

The concept behind a coworking space is simple – smaller businesses come together in an office setting to share a physical location and resources. With any start-up, budgetary concerns are often a driving force in the decision-making process. Keeping overhead costs low by entering into a shared workspace allows businesses the flexibility and financial stability they need during the first few crucial years of operation. Being able to work alongside a number of other businesses in a coworking space helps to reduce costs and accommodate for growth by sharing an office, resources, and amenities.CoMotion 302 is home to a number of small business

CoMotion 302 is home to a number of small business success stories that have used a coworking space to jump-start their business. CoMotion 302 is located in the east end of Hamilton and is regarded as a tight-knit, cottage-style space. One early adopter, Niche For Design, a commercial and residential interior design company, really understands the benefits and overall value of coworking. “Operating Niche For Design out of CoMotion 302 has had an enormously positive effect on our growth and success over the past two years,” says Erika MacKay, Owner and Principal Designer of Niche for Design. “Coworking provides a unique opportunity for businesses to thrive.”

As these spaces are able to provide value to small businesses, they are in turn able to provide value to the city. “Small businesses are, in my opinion, a key element to any sustainable economy,” says MacKay. “The fact that so many small businesses are opening their doors in Hamilton is an excellent indication of the level of ambition this city truly does possess.”However, having a physical space to operate a business

However, having a physical space to operate a business is not the only benefit that small businesses receive in a coworking environment. Businesses are presented with a number of opportunities including collaboration, referrals, networking, and professional development.

The Seedworks is an established coworking space in the city. Located in downtown Hamilton, this coworking space houses a number of small to medium-sized businesses including architects, BCIN designers, contractors and more. Zoran Tomasevic, Owner and Construction Manager at Harbour Hills Construction Management believes that “The Seedworks coworking office is much more than simply a workspace,” says Tomasevic. “The convenience of having several project resources under one roof including the other coworking businesses helps the flow of communication and information, which overall results in better projects.”

As small businesses begin to work together, they can scale their services and production to accommodate large-scale projects – allowing them to compete with larger, more established companies. “It seems inevitable that small businesses will be the major employers in the near future,” says Yvonne Woodley, Seedworks Manager. “This is especially true in Hamilton which has seen the disappearance of the one-company culture.”

Collaboration is a big component to coworking spaces. CoMotion on King is another coworking space in the city that strongly supports the idea of collaboration. With a central location and affordable spaces, this coworking space is home to over 70 businesses. One member in the space who supports the coworking framework is Next Era Building. They are a quickly growing architectural design firm that specializes in residential and commercial renovation designs and permits. Becoming a coworking member has allowed Next Era Building to create a number of partnership opportunities. “I take every chance I can to collaborate with other businesses,” says Jeff Hannah, Principal and Owner of Next Era Building. “Having two or more perspectives for creative work can really solidify partnership opportunities in the future as well as improve project outcomes.”

Hannah believes that collaboration with other small businesses in the city helps to contribute to a shared economy and stimulate economic growth for Hamilton. “We are passionately working with other businesses to provide a holistic design and building experience,” says Hannah. “This approach is a driving force in Hamilton’s economic revitalization.”

Going beyond the standard offerings of a coworking space, some spaces are now offering even more perks to their members, rivaling that of a large corporation. The CoMotion Group, owners of CoMotion on King and CoMotion 302, have recently launched their benefits program. “We’re deeply invested in the overall experience of our members as business owners and professionals,” says Ryan Moran, Co-Owner of The CoMotion Group. “This is why we’ve put a lot of effort into creating a health and dental plan, as well as a commercial perk package for our members. Basically, we want to ensure that with CoMotion, you can have all the benefits of a big company, in a space and community where you can do your own thing.”

By offering this program, members have the perks of working at a large corporation, while still maintaining independence within the coworking framework. Small businesses that are starting out don’t always have the budget to consider benefits packages for their team. However, because many individuals are working together in a shared work environment such as they would in a large corporation, discounted options become possible.

There are other examples of successful coworking spaces in the city including The Cotton Club, Uptown Business Club and CoBuild, as well as a number of small business incubators such as The Forge, Surge and Innovation Factory. Each space offers unique characteristics and environments to their members.

As the concept of coworking continues to become even more popularized in Hamilton, we are sure to see the emergence of more small businesses contributing to the shared economic success of the city.

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