THE shared economy created by shared platforms, such as Facebook, AirBnB and Uber, has radically changed not just the way we live but also the way we work.
Increasingly, large companies are reimagining the way they work and are becoming more agile and active, and their work spaces need to be as equally nimble, as well.
Shared work spaces are no longer just for start-ups but for companies that cannot be constrained by geography and being tied to one office.
Acceler8—the first Philippine coworking space to expand across Southeast Asia shared with this columnist its recent milestone as it consolidates under the UnionSPACE brand.
Backed by two investors, Kejora Ventures and Gan Konsulido, UnionSPACE plans to build more workspaces toward the end of year 2018. Kejora Ventures, a distinguished start-up investor for the companies like Investree, Cekaja.com, Qareer and Pawoon recently invested $100 million to Southeast Asian start-ups, while Gan Konsulido is currently administrating Plug and Play Accelerator Program from Silicon Valley and was also appointed by President Joko Widodo during his last visit in the United States.
Cofounder of UnionSPACE, Albert Goh said that there are new workspaces on its way in more than 20 locations. “At the moment, we have a total of 161,400 square feet across our five centers in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.” According to Goh, their main goal is to develop the start-up ecosystems in Southeast Asian countries.
Mikko Barranda, cofounder of Acceler8, meanwhile, explained that the rebranding and alliance of Acceler8 with UnionSPACE is one way of opening a portal for its clients to UnionSPACE’s Southeast Asian reach. “As we started this venture back in 2015, we are proud to be one of the only Filipino coworking operators to expand regionally, taking us to the next level. Since we began, we’ve been consistently promoting Acceler8’s campaign called ‘Creating Real Connections’ and with this milestone, we are truly able to help companies expand their business across South East Asia.”
“Like Acceler8, our plan is to uplift more Filipino businesses and expose them in the international market,” Goh said referring to UnionSPACE’s upcoming programs that aims to match local companies to potential business partners and to educate them about the different business practices in other countries.
“The Philippines is believed to be the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia and, although we’re just really in our early stage, we’d like to set an example that being a driver of global development is achievable even if you’re just a start-up,” Barranda said.
Furthermore, Acceler8 have recently added business solutions and consultancy to their services that will further provide accessibility to support their clients’ needs. “Acceler8 and UnionSPACE is a place for businesses to thrive. We aspire to become one of the advanced platforms for the modernity of work and we provide end-to-end business solutions to help companies grow and expand in Southeast Asia,” Goh said.
“We provide access to venture capital, private equities and business solutions, such as company incorporations; accounting and bookkeeping services; tax and legal advisory; spaces; and of course, free coffee. Our team has always believed that entrepreneurship is the key to a sustainable and strong economy, and we want to enable as many aspiring entrepreneurs to achieve that, and I’m excited to announce that we’ll have be all over Southeast Asia by year 2020.”
Besides providing business solutions, Acceler8 also pioneered the idea of consistently redefining the term “collaboration” through the culture that they have established ever since. “Nowadays, the term collaboration sounds more repetitive than inspiring. But we try to keep redefining it by keeping up with the whole community and creating a trend. The culturally diverse atmosphere that we create in our community each day is something that we aim to maintain and use to influence throughout our centers in Southeast Asia,” Barranda emphasized that it takes a dynamic team to preserve the culture of Acceler8 while delivering their message to the whole community.
“We have to come up with fresh ideas to make our spaces exciting everyday like having our own Happy Hour, a weekly gathering where we encourage our members to mingle and keep up with each other over free beer and snacks,” Barranda pointed out.
Acceler8 currently operates two centers in the Philippines and is now among the 20 plus locations of UnionSPACE. It was launched and formalized in Jakarta, Indonesia, in January 2018 with nearly 200 attendees mostly investors, startups and SMEs. They reiterated their goal to support all blooming start-ups and entrepreneurs in tapping business partners both locally and abroad that will lead to a massive growth in business collaboration.
Since Acceler8 started, the team has been proactive in growing their network through its community and technology. The flexibility and functionality of their space organically attract businesses to come in and meet the Acceler8 community.
They also developed an online platform called Entreprenity that allows UnionSPACE members to share their business activities, innovations and collaborations. The platform is also designed to reserve facilities of UnionSPACE centers in Southeast Asia—providing more exciting opportunities provided by the networks in Entreprenity.
Mari Ugoy, community manager of Acceler8, also expressed how this new online platform provides convenience to their members. “Entreprenity has helped our members connect easily with each other. They can ask for recommendations, business opportunities, plug in their events and even use the platform to survey trends. Communication is easier now and even gives our members a wider reach—tapping other members around the globe. Moreover, they get to book any UnionSPACE meeting room in any location in real-time,” Ugoy said.
What’s next for UnionSpace and Acceler8? “We are excited to announce that we will be opening our next branch in Bangkok, Thailand, by the second quarter of 2018. Thailand is slowly becoming the center of digital nomads, start-ups and entrepreneurs and we want to be at the forefront in helping them grow their business,” as per Barranda.