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This is how co-working spaces can help early stage startups in Pakistan

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This is how co-working spaces can help early stage startups in Pakistan

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In recent years, with incubators and accelerators popping up in Pakistan’s major cities, an ever increasing number of Pakistanis are opting to forego traditional career paths to pursue their entrepreneurial journey and explore the startup landscape.

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles young companies face is not knowing what’s out there in terms of opportunity.

Plan9 celebrates global entrepreneurship week.

Pakistan’s startup sphere, while evolving, still remains far from being mainstream and easily accessible to many. Whereas large corporations benefit from decades of established relationships in their field, startups often leave networking until later stages, not realising the potential of building symbiotic relations in the industry.

Incubators and accelerators such as Plan9 and NIC have one thing in common with co-working spaces: the endless opportunity for networking.

Your neighbour at the next table maybe be your next client. You may even run into an investor at a community meet-up.

Co-working space members network at COLABS

This is not to say that sitting in a co-working space is a sure shot way of securing an investment or a fast track road to success. However, the infrastructure and flexibility of a co-working space such as COLABS, in Gulberg Lahore, can facilitate a young company. A smooth running co-working space affords its members time to streamline internal operations rather than worrying on issues such as buying furniture, getting an internet connection, hiring office help staff or even security.

The exchange of ideas is an integral part of building an evolving startup community, the same dynamic can be seen between members of a co-working space.

Sara Ali, the marketing lead at COLABS, shares how two groups from the co-working community developed a partnership following a brief chat during a coffee break.

Hadia Shahid (L) from the influencer marking agency Gramit and Sara Ali (R)

“A member from the COLABS community, Asim Khan of AQD, was looking to furnish their new flagship office and as things turned out, one of the other members at the community ended up being the answer.
Asim placed an order with Ali Ahmed from Urban Galleria for workstations, chairs, tables etc worth PKR 700,000 – 800,000. They reduced the bill further by 25%, their delivery was on-time, quality as described, and on credit.”

“This is just one example of a fruitful partnership that manifested in the COLABS community”, continues Sara, “Our vision with COLABS has always been to build relations and allow startups the opportunity to benefit from the experience of a fully equipped space.”

Leaving an incubator or an accelerator can be a daunting step for any new company. Perhaps co-working spaces such as COLABS that prioritise networking and community building can help cushion the blow of having to leave the nest and step into the daunting world of business.

This article is part of a collaboration between ProperGaanda and COLABS.

COLABS launched Pakistan’s largest co-working space back in May 2019; a space that boasts a community of over 500 members across 75+ companies and is now opening its second location in Johar Town, Lahore Learn more about COLABS here.

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