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Could Free Co-working Spaces Be the Way of the Future?

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by Startacus Admin

If you’ve ever had a clever business idea, chances are there have been moments where you’ve thought ‘I couldn’t possibly go ahead with this - I can’t find workspace and I don’t have anywhere to share my ideas.

Seats2Meet LogoIt’s a problem that a lot of budding entrepreneurs experience at least once in their lifetime. Finding the right place and tools to develop your ideas can be tricky.

Rest assured though, because Seats2Meet, an innovate business incubator currently located in the Netherlands aims to tackle this issue with full force!




Thankfully, they provide a platform for entrepreneurs so that they can unleash their creative ideas and collaborate with like minded people so that they can reach their full potential.

It started out as a simple social experiment, but now Seats2Meet has over 65 locations in seven countries with over 70,000 members, and the reason for their great success is simple yet effective. Since 2007, they have been allowing freelancers and just about anyone who has an idea that they want to share, to work for free in their workspace.

You can find different Seats2Meet locations just about anywhere - from schools, train stations and even hospitals! But why on earth would any entrepreneur want to work in a train station? Well, the answer is quite simple, because all of their locations make use of excess space! So you can find them in just about any nook and cranny. Gone are the days of empty offices or venues.

According to their website, the founders of Seats2Meet believe wholeheartedly in creating serendipity - why not make your own opportunities and see where they could take you?
Seats2Meet aims to allow you to be proactive, productive and push your dreams forward.Home Office Digital

Just about anyone can take advantage of the workspace that is on offer. Each location also comes with free Wi-Fi and printer access, free coffee, tea, chairs and desks. You’ll even get a free lunch - sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Those who wish to hire workspace from Seats2Meet simply have to build an online profile by becoming a member on their website. If you do this before your session, you’ll be able to outline your expertise, what you’re interested in and what you’re working on. This will mean that you’ll be alerted to who will be working alongside you for the day and whose ideas and interests are the most similar to your own.

This is beneficial for everyone who attends as it means that individuals can use their enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise to bounce off of and encourage one another! Inspire and be inspired!

This is a really interesting idea and we’re very curious to see how it pans out, as it could possibly change the business model of co-working or at least shift the business structure of a few.

Of course, you must be thinking “what’s the catch?” and we wouldn’t blame you.

Well, those who book a session with Seats2Meet have the option to either pay by the hour or by social capital. If it’s the latter, you earn your keep by supporting the projects of fellow members. This is often done through beta testing, or perhaps you can offer strategic advice to those in need of it. In short, you can give a little back and pay by helping like-minded entrepreneurs reach their full potential.

Seats2MeetIt’s quite clear that the idea of free coworking space seems to work for Europe, but could this really be the big change that it seems to be?

Of course, temporary office rental space / or co-working spaces is nothing new and  been around for some time now, but it would seem that free coworking spaces are a little harder to come by. While we love the concept, perhaps the industry just isn’t ready for it yet. After all, there’s a lot less effort and perhaps just as much convenience in brainstorming at your favourite coffee shop with a reasonably priced beverage or actually paying the pretty reasonable daily / weekly or monthly fee to work in a coworking space.


Also, and its not a bad point - paying for ‘office’ rental and so on, gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction with regards to the ol’ ‘monetisation’ of your business. If it’s free, perhaps the pressure might not be quite as much in terms of making that business idea a full, trading commercial and profiting business?

We’re quite interested to see where this business model is headed. Perhaps the rest of Europe and the US will warm to the concept, but for now it is believed that it will give birth to a lot of competition and would create too much of a divide between paying a non-paying members
which in the end up would contradict all that the model stands for; helping others to help yourself.

We’ll take a seat and wait and see...


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Published on: 22nd April 2015

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