In Hamilton, ON, a team of entrepreneurs are putting a new twist on the concept of co-working spaces.
“For us, it’s part of the community mission, wanting to make sure that any small business that develops here has a leg up and the ability to boost itself and actually become something,” says Ryan Moran, co-founder of CoMotion.
In its simplest form, co-working spaces allow small businesses and individual entrepreneurs to share common amenities to keep overhead costs down. By the end of 2017, more than 1 million people worldwide will have worked in a co-working space, predicts the 2017 Global CoWoking Survey. CoMotion is taking its spaces to the next level, with attractive facilities, membership perks, and events that focus on building collaborative, community-minded work environments.
“We’re trying to make this a space where you can have the benefits of a big company, but the flexibility of being able to focus on your own goals as an individual or small business,” says Moran.
CoMotion is Moran’s second community development venture. He is also a founding member of Hamilton Hive, a collaborative network that works to empower and support young professionals.
The sequence of events that brought CoMotion to life is what its founders hope to spark for other entrepreneurs. At the time, fellow co-founder Joe Accardi was making a name for himself as a serial entrepreneur, having a hand in a few different projects at once. He had already started a co-working space in central-east Hamilton but knew there was potential for growth. Through conversations with Tammy Hwang, he was inspired to start another one with her help.
Hwang then brought in Moran to discuss ideas, branding, and development. The team was almost complete, but the trio needed one more player. Enter Chad Fullerton, known within the community as an “entrepreneurial Swiss army knife”. CoMotion was born.
Today, CoMotion serves a community of more than 100 members with two co-working spaces: a 10,000 square-foot flagship location downtown, and the original “cottage” location in East Hamilton.
Most co-working spaces are built around three things: affordable rates, a place to network socially, and event hosting. CoMotion offers these, and more.
“We have a full corporate perks package our members can be a part of, that provides discounts at certain businesses, stores, and restaurants,” says Moran. “We’re also in the process of starting up our insurance benefits package, so members can opt-in to a health and dental insurance plan. One of the risks of being a startup is not having access to that safety net, so we’re trying to provide it to our members.”
CoMotion also has a full-time Community Manager within each space to help facilitate member connections as well as internal member-only events.