As the world’s fastest-growing economy, India also holds the distinction of having the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. This is propelled by conducive government policies, availability of funds, and transition of citizens from a lower-income to a middle-income nation, spelling out a higher disposable income and propensity to spend. Here, the role of coworking spaces in India’s startup journey cannot be underscored due to its dual role as a provider of a democratized Grade A office space and an ecosystem offering the features of an incubator and accelerator to empower startups in the country.
From offering a space for occupiers, mostly startups, to network with each other and empower the development of business to providing mentorship and dedicated programs towards fundraising, coworking operators are offering the best of incubators and accelerators to startups, thereby fueling their growth.
Industry reports suggest the share of startups in occupancy at coworking spaces remains one of the highest followed by established organizations, small businesses, and freelancers. By creating a bustling community of startups, coworking spaces provide a space for small businesses to come together, learn from their experiences, and collaborate, helping each other grow. Therefore, there is an interesting correlation between the mushrooming of startups and coworking spaces in India as they support each other’s growth.
According to real estate consultant Anarock Group, coworking spaces represented a 27% share of the net absorption of 8.2 million square feet across the top seven cities in the first quarter of 2023, a significant increase from 14% in the first quarter of 2019, in a testament to its increasing adoption.
Nurturing startups with a startup ecosystem
Coworking operators are a living startup ecosystem within itself with a community of new-age businesses from various sectors. By organizing networking events, they allow startups from different backgrounds to connect with each other and identify synergies together. This becomes important to engage in discussions around building and scaling brands through knowledge sharing and collaboration. National-level coworking operators have an edge in terms of building a community of startup founders from across different locations owing to their presence across the country. Interestingly, this allows startups from small cities to connect with their metro counterparts and learn from their journey.
In addition to this, coworking operators are developing their own startup incubator programs, catering to the vast needs of a new-age business. These programs are centered around the early-stage founders and investors and help systematically eliminate barriers to growth.
Accelerating the path to profitability
As infrastructure cost is one of the important cost centers for companies, coworking operators by design enable the occupiers to significantly slash office expenses by using its subscription-based services for a limited period of time as against a traditional office space at a longer lease. This subscription-based model goes beyond just the physical space but encompasses other office amenities such as cloud, legal, accounting, transportation, and a host of other services in an affordable manner. Additionally, their dedicated accelerator cohorts with dedicated business programs and access to quality capital, mentorship, access to customers, and investors significantly support the new-age businesses, thereby fast-tracking their path to profitability.
As India progresses towards building a self-reliant economy, the role of startups and coworking operators in particular will play an imperative role in establishing the building blocks of a new economy built on technology and customer convenience. Therefore, the coworking spaces over the next decade should focus on emerging as an entity that can empower startups in the country and collaborate with ecosystem partners in bringing true value to its occupiers.
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