With the growing popularity of the sharing economy, more people are turning their properties into sources of income. A popular choice for property owners is use their assets as co-working spaces. With office sharing having become a big business in Indonesia, Estubizi is one of many establishments catering to the workspace needs of professionals. Benyamin Ruslan Naba, chief executive of Estubizi, spoke with Globe Asia's Gilang Al Farisi about the craze behind this growing industry, and the company's vision. Here is an excerpt from the interview.
With the popularity of the co-working spaces, how can Estubizi compete with other companies, and what is unique about Estubizi?
I believe what is different about our company, is our experience in running a business center prior to opening the co-working space we have now. So in a sense, we know the different needs of individuals in a professional setting to work and also what individuals need to cultivate their talents. We built our brand from a service that offers office space to work in, into a space where communities can grow. And I think that is the biggest difference between the two business models – the business space is a workspace that anyone can use to work in private with colleagues. While co-working space is something beyond what a traditional office would be, it is an ecosystem that allows different businesses in different fields working alongside each other and allows collaboration between them. I personally believe that this is the way business should develop, especially in the sharing economy.
What do you think of the growing industry of sharing workspaces?
Like I said, it is the way to conduct business in this digital era and it is also the future of office space. How people collaborate in the ecosystem of a co-working space is limited only by imagination, and the partnership between business occurs naturally. We have plenty of instances where a startup company working in the same space with another ended up partnering to develop both of their businesses. And it just happens by a chance meeting, both groups of people have never met, except in the space provided by Estubizi. And that is the most exciting thing about a co-working space; we never know who we will share our office with, but some sort of collaboration can happen by sharing resources and expertise. The communities built by these co-working spaces are brought by the tenants of each space, and it is a rapidly growing community that intertwines with other communities from other spaces to develop their businesses.
What is the biggest draw for people to enter the co-working space industry?
One of the biggest and arguably the primary reason so many people are getting into this industry, is that there are little to no barriers to establishing a co-working business. If a property owner deems it suitable for an asset to be invested as a shared office space, then the hard work is half done already. The second factor to make a successful co-working space is the content and activity within the space provided. This is what I feel most people going into the industry often neglect; the events held within the working space will attract attention from clients and create a stronger community by holding events that suit the businesses in the space. So we are very much a community-based industry that thrives by making connections with others.
How many clients have you worked with and what services does Estubizi provide?
Well, we have worked with several businesses, both those that have already established themselves and those that have just started. Estubizi has collaborated with thousands of startups in various fields. Most of them, we have on our database for future reference. The services provided, other than office space, are access to a private meeting room, providing a mailing address for the business, providing business cards to our clients, and holding events that may interest our community. The events we hold are designed to hone collaboration between the companies, which would in turn develop their respective businesses. We use our client database to design events that would motivate partnerships and provide a better ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups to succeed.
Is Estubizi working with other co-working space companies?
We are. The community is our biggest strength, which we are capitalizing on to develop both our business and that of our clients. Therefore, we have been making strides in collaborating with other companies in other regions through the Estubizi Network. Through the network, we can provide our clients with an office in every part of the country where our partners have an established place. The network would extend to events we held for our clients. Estubizi can use a venue provided by our partner to present an event for the communities of businesses that are part of the network. The network serves more purpose than just catering to the people using the service, it also allows players in the co-working space industry to be in contact with each other. In effect, this creates a community of players to further develop the industry.