SUC project  : EU Best Practices Report



What is coworking ?. 2

Coworking in Europe. 2

Overview from the partners countries. 3

UK. 3

France. 3

Italy. 3

Germany. 4

Spain. 4

Cyprus. 4

Sweden. 4

Bulgaria. 4

Finland. 4

Turkey. 4

Best practices from each country. 5

UK. 5

France. 5

Italy. 7

Germany. 7

Spain. 8

Cyprus. 9

Sweden. 9

Bulgaria. 10

Finland. 11

Turkey. 11

Our proposal 12

What is coworking ?


“Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.[…] Coworking is not only about the physical space, but about establishing the coworking community first. [1]

 “The term "coworking" was coined by Bernie DeKoven in 1999 and used as a domain in 2000 and in 2005 Brad Neuberg used it to describe a physical space which he originally called a "9 to 5 group".

Coworking in Europe

According to a study conducted by Deskwanted[2] in February 2013, Europe is the continent that has the most of coworking spaces[3] with 1160 spaces across the continent.



The study shows that coworking spaces increased of 82% within a year; concretely, there were 1320 coworking spaces in February 2012. In February 2013, there were around 2500 coworking spaces around the world.

The classification by county is rewarding, at the European level, both Germany (2nd of the worldwide classification with 230 spaces behind the USA) and Spain (3rd of the classification with 199 coworking spaces around the country). Then, we find UK at the 4th position with 154 spaces and France at the 6th with 121 spaces[4].

Overview from the partners countries


As of 2012, the UK is among the most responsive European country to the idea of collaborative working, with a special focus on London. The city leads the co-working market not only for the large number of co-working spaces it offers but also for the variety of spaces that exist to fit the differing needs among start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers. In March 2012 Google along with several local partners opened a co-working space in the heart of East London. Campus London is located in Tech City and helps multiple start-ups to grow under the same roof, by mentoring them and giving them the chance to learn more through the events that run every day.


France used to be late regarding coworking experiences compared to others European countries. But, since few years, it has changed; France hosted major events such as the European Conference about coworking in 2012. France has now more than 60 coworking spaces. Regional and local authorities, as well as development agencies such as La Fonderie in Paris area, support coworking with organizing calls and events about this topic. Currently, coworking has become a tool for public policies and economic development.


Italy has 91 coworking spaces referenced on the Global Coworking Census 2013.[5] Italy presents a slightly more complex case for the compilers of coworking statistics. There are counted 39 coworking spaces there, though others might find there to be 69. This is because the Italians have a looser definition of what makes a real coworking space. Italy is home to the Coworking Project, an organization that also promotes flexible workspaces within traditional offices and temporary spaces. Pop-up workstations are available in many different locations that might not be considered coworking spaces elsewhere.[6]


St. Oberholz opened in 2005 as one of the first cafes in Berlin to offer free internet access and allowed people to work on their laptop, without considering them to be annoyances. In 2009, Betahaus took the concept to a new level in terms of size and media attention. Since then, the market has boomed. New coworking spaces popped up in all parts of the country – from small villages to big cities.


Spain is one of the champions in Europe regarding coworking. The 4th Coworking Europe conference was held in Barcelona in 2013. Due to the crisis, the unemployment rate increased consequently and therefore people were entitled to start their own business. That is why a lot of coworking spaces were created and in a lot of original places. In fact, buildings and construction were hard-hit sectors. A lot of free spaces were therefore available which was a great opportunity for coworking. 


Cyprus is at an embryonic stage in the coworking area. The start-up theme is very new in Cyprus, only now, after the collapse of its economy, but it has been seen lately some initiatives at the governmental and corporate level.


Culturally, Sweden is close from coworking. Places in this country are not numerous since the survey[7] counted 15 places in February 2013. However, experiencing coworking in a country like Finland will permit to find some outstanding venues. For instance, some spaces have been created in historical venues such as the Church of Entrepreneurs.


With the rise of the entrepreneurship, co-working spaces popped around Sofia to be the shelter for entrepreneurs. Bulgaria has 4 coworking spaces referenced on the Global Coworking Census 2013.[8]


Finland is the country in Europe where people are the most working from home and yet, coworking is not that developed in this country since the international survey counted only 6 coworking spaces.


Turkeky has 6 coworking spaces referenced on the Global Coworking Census 2013.[9] Coworking is a quite new thematic in Turkey. That is why it is difficult to find sources about it. But there are coworking spaces offered on the Internet. It would be interesting to have a study on what is offered and what really exits.

Best practices from each country


·        Campus London                                                                                   
Campus London is a coworking space, near Tech City, powered by Google.  Seven floors of flexible work space, free high-speed internet and support to fuel ideas, from mentoring programs to networking events and much more. 

·        The Cube                                                                                                
The Cube’s aim is to make workers feel ‘calm, focused and happy’ through the design of the space.  Co-workers are selected or curetted by The Cube, so as they form part of a complementary group of individuals and companies.



·        La Cantine                                                                                                        la-cantine-logo_0.gif

La Cantine is a space focusing on new technologies. La Cantine was the first coworking space in France in 2008. Since its beginning, it has been supported by the local government (Conseil Régional & Mairie de Paris).


·        Studios Singuliers                                                                         LOGO-studios-singuliers-11-11-11.png

Studios Singuliers is a coworking space hosted in a building dedicated to innovative companies. One of his founders, Basile Samson will come and present us their work.



·        La Ruche                                                                                            téléchargement (1).jpg

La Ruche is a coworking space dedicated to social entrepreneurship.






·        Ashoka                                                                                               logo-ashoka.gif

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.



·        Soleilles                                                                                            20130712_164253_d31d28314a964f3521114ef1d449f333.jpg

Coworking spaces focusing on boosting women entrepreneuship.



·        Casa Netural                                                                          
Casa Netural is a coworking space located in Matera. Matera is a small town and many of its young people have left, moving to big cities to seek opportunity. To activate the serendipity that comes with coworking, you have to bring new people and fresh ideas into the space.                        

·        Work in Co                                                                              
Coworking space in Roma.



·        Betahaus                                                                                 
Coworking space in the heart of Berlin. Several Betahaus around Europe (last to open was mid-December 2013 in Barcelona).

·        Agora Coworking Space Berlin                                                      
Coworking space created in May 2011. 30% of the coworkers are German and 70% are coming from abroad.



·        Welance, space for professionals                                
The core idea of this space is to pursue collaborative online projects within their coworking space and to apply effectively the freelancers expertise.

·        Netting, the coworkers space                                         
Located in the city of Paderborn, Netting is a platform for networking and exchange of ideas between stakeholders and different industries.



·        Utopicus                                                                  
Utopic_US is a network that supports new talents, a coworking space where innovative and transformative initiatives launched generates its own projects that bring value to society. But it is also an original concept of coworking space where freelancers professionals, freelancers and companies working in a production environment, collaborative and exchange of services, products, ideas and knowledge.

·        Wayco                                                                                       
Born in 2013, and managed by AJEV, now Wayco is beginning to develop its activities as Utopicus space in the city of Valencia.


·        GAR-AJE                                                                                                  
An area of ​​800 m2 to provide a complete service for entrepreneurs formed by an open space where you can hold events, meeting rooms, training rooms, coworking space, café, chill out, bike parking, kids area, and best the CAR (High Performance Centre) . The CAR is 8 boxes which house the projects of entrepreneurs Madrid. The garAJE is a meeting point of knowledge, ideas and networking opportunities, being chosen to host the headquarters reference events as Google, Pink Slip Party, Innosfera , Spain Sports Network and many more , thanks to its capacity of 114 people.



·        Rent a desk  Cyprus                                                            
Coworking space overwhelmed with interest and demand really quickly. Several spaces available in Cyrpus (Limassol, Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos).




·        The Hub                                                                                                                            Impact Hub Logo                                        
Impact Hub Stockholm is a collaborative work space where the collective action of its diverse members accelerates inspiration into realization-- creating a sustainable impact in the local community and far beyond.

·        Studio Verket                                                                  
Coworking space in Stockholm offering facilities such as 3D printer, architecture and project managing or web & graphics.                

·        Entreprenörs Kyrkan                                                                         
Nothing strange, just a co-working space in a church!




·        Sofia Holistic Coworking Company (SOHO)                                            
SOHO provides freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other creative professionals with easy and flexible access to a fully furnished workspace.

·        ABC Coworking                                                                                              logotype
ABC coworking space provides facilities to freelancers in Sofia.


·        Init Lab                                                                                                     
Initially a hackerspace, Init Lab is the oldest coworking space created in Bulgaria.



·        City Office                                                                                        Ville de bureau Hôtel Helsinki Hakaniemi
Coworking space in Helsinki.

·        Regus                                                                                                                       
Regus has two cowoking spaces in Helsinki .



·        Urban station                                                                                       
Urban Station is the first place in Turkey (located in Istanbul) designed especially for mobile workers and for those who share the idea that it is possible to work or meet in a different way.



·        Fors +                                                                                                                                 Fors plus Logo
Fors + is offering in Istanbul coworking spaces.

Our proposal

After our first meeting in Paris where we have met a young entrepreneur who created a coworking space, several key points appeared. Then, during the second day we discussed some points in small groups and several ideas appeared.


Questions to ask yourself before starting a coworking business:

·        Is there an existing demand for coworking space? Understand the kind of the demand.

·        Size, economic structure, government support, space, age demographic, identify the needs

Characteristics needed:

·        Space pulled not pushed to the market => answer to a demand

·        Sustainability, links to other offers, location, identity…

·        Don’t be afraid to say no to people


Ideas to be integrated to a business model:

·        Unique selling point: common goal/common community OR provide superior facilities

·        Understanding the target market in details (prices, facilities required…)

·        Be flexible

·        Financial control needed

·        Curate the members, make sure they fit

·        Combining the co-working offer with something more = add services: parking, gym, networking…)

·        Marketing campaign: public relations, stories of successful entrepreneurs

·        Start small then try to reach a critical mass: identify the first target, contact them before starting

·        Common identity

·        Scalable offers

·        Find out existing courses, trainings for entrepreneurs/possibilities for funding (national & international)

·        Use European structural funds (extra strength)

·        Decide how to manage your group: be aware about how to manage conflicts: ability to remove members in a relatively short notice (UK: 1 month)

·        Intercultural communication

·        Dissemination plan needed: who to contact, where, how…

·        Sustainability: how sustainable your products are => general evaluation of your activities is needed

·        Research the community

·        Business model: maybe not sustainable at the beginning but absolutely needed

·        Physical space

·        Value add


[1] Wikipedia, consulted the 31st of December 2013

[2] The survey is available on the fallowing website:

[3] consulted the 3rdof January 2014

[4] Ibid.



[7] Ibid.