The African environment’s hostility to upcoming entrepreneurs especially in the technology ecosystem on the continent, has given rise to the likes of the Co-Creation Hub, Idea Hub, Hot House, LeadPath and CapitalSquare in Lagos Nigeria; iHub, m-Lab, Garage Nairobi in Kenya; Open Innovation, Habitaz South Africa among others.
In an exclusive interview with Tech360ng, the founder of CapitalSquare, Modupe Macaulay, revealed that co-working space is the future for African entrepreneurs as great working environment will attract like minds and increase productivity.
Inspiration Behind CapitalSquare
I asked her on the motive behind the establishment of the co-working space, the founder said Modupe Macaulay wanted to be an entrepreneur but doesn’t want it to be a ‘work-from-home boring one’ as she enjoys working around people even though the people she’s working with are not working on the same project. An experience that also motivated CapitalSquare was during her final year days in school while working on her final project when bulk of her course-mates worked from the same hall even when everyone is on his or her own.
Working alongside other people even though it’s on individual projects, she said, gives room for networking with other like minds who are either prospective clients, customers or partners.
With the mindset that nobody has a monopoly of idea, she said working from a co-working facility gives users the opportunity to share ideas with like minds in a conducive working environment, far better than the work-from-home model.
In her response to the motive behind the creation of the co-working space, Modupe cited the challenges of start-ups on the continent to include securing affordable office space and expenses associated with running an office which include power supply which in Nigeria’s case is not that reliable, so alternative has to be taken into consideration which is more expensive.
It was a wet morning when I visited CapitalSquare and the only member I met at CapitalSquare as at the time I signed their register at about 12:32pm was Ahmed Magem who said CapitalSquare has succeeded in lessening the burden of his business – a team of over 50 employees, all of who work remotely.
He affirmed that working from a co-working space gives users the opportunity to maximize profit which also comes with the affordability compared to running an office. “With CapitalSquare, I don’t have to bother myself about power supply, the internet connection, hiring an office assistance or a sanitary personnel.”
In his word, co-working space is the way to go for Africa as users need not bother about the day-to-day running of the space except for their membership subscription fee.
CapitalSquare Space in Years to Come
While sharing her expectations for CapitalSquare in the near future, Modupe is very optimistic that CapitalSquare would acquire more space on the building it’s currently occupying while having more occupants, including occupants that prefer an enclosed office space.
The Demo Day conducted earlier in March 2014 would be a monthly activity with more elaborate ones like a quarterly or yearly Demo Day which will give start-ups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to prospective users, investors, partners, et al.
Modupe expressed her delight about the turn-out of the first Demo Day which has more than 20 applicants out of which 3 start-ups were selected to pitch their ideas. Launched in November, the co-working space keeps having sign-ups on a monthly basis with a positive effect on revenue generation.
The Best Side of Being a Founder
Her best part of being the founder of the co-working space is that she gets to meet interesting people that are coming up with incredible ideas.
She’s of the opinion that the ‘technology isn’t for the women folks’ is an African mindset which needs change and that the women-folk need to be supported and encouraged to take up careers in technology as well as other technical professions.
Her words for fellow developers and entrepreneur is that they should tend to work by time-table and consider themselves as employees of their companies rather than treating themselves as the company itself.
- This article originally appeared on Tech360