Co-working used to be a foreign concept to Filipinos. Coffee shops, as much as they were the hangouts of students armed with books, notes, and laptops, have also been the usual work locations of freelancers and startup entrepreneurs.
But when co-working space Co.lab was established in 2011, it was the dawn of a whole new era for “professional nomads”. To date, there are 40 co-working spaces in the Philippines, said MVP Global’s Enrique Gonzalez at the Wild Digital Networking Event last March 22.
This 2018, another group is joining the list armed with their unique brand of co-working: Common Ground, one of Malaysia’s largest co-working space chains.
Freelancers and entrepreneurs in the country will be able to experience the efficiency and perks of having a 2,300 sqm work have replete with Common Ground’s signature system.
From Malaysia to the Philippines
Image Credit: Common Ground (Malaysia co-working space)
Common Ground is debuting in the Philippines through a partnership with MVP Global Infrastructure Group (MVP Global).
MVP Global, a private investment firm encompassing Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, will focus their expansion on Metro Manila, which is where over a third of the Philippines’ economic output is located.
Common Ground started its operations in Kuala Lumpur in March 2017, and has since grown to other venues around Malaysia.
“It’s pretty extensive, the expansion there. But we’re always gonna have the intention to go into other markets,” shared co-founder Erman Akinci to Vulcan Post at the Wild Digital Networking Event last March 22.
The event was held to encourage and provide a venue for entrepreneurs and companies to maximize the large business opportunities that are currently present in the Philippine startup scene through panel discussions and networking opportunities.
“What we wanted to do is enter each market by finding the right partner, somebody that can bring the elements [office algorithm and lifestyle] we need to the table, and that’s really the starting block that we used to begin analyzing the market,” Akinci added.
MVP Global entered the scene, providing a perspective that can incorporate Common Ground’s vision to the Philippine business setup.
“The Philippines has an energy like no other country in South East Asia, I can feel it in the energy of the people, I can feel it in the energy of the city, like there is a buzz. I think that’s a sign that there’s so much opportunity in here, and that’s what I’m most excited about,” he said.
Common Ground: A Haven For Better Work Experience
Image Credit: VideoBlocks
To elevate the experience of workers, Common Ground aims to focus on building crucial non-tangible pillars inside their community such as friendship, family, networking, progression, and excitement .
“It gives you a very unique insight on how we view quality of life so what we wanna do is to give our members all of the tools that they need to achieve the milestones that they wanna achieve,” Akinci said.
More than a place where you go to work and a place where you can possibly find partners or investors, Common Ground will help you build a holistic life and authentic relationships.
“It’s not even about a community that can just benefit you financially, it’s a community you enjoy hanging out with.”
The first ever Common Ground office in the Philippines will be located in the 2,300 sqm penthouse of the newly-launched Arthaland Tower in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), and will be patterned after the structure of their offices in Malaysia. More offices in Makati and Ortigas will be launched by Common Ground within the year.
“Unfortunately we’re not looking into a lot of data so we’re basing the algorithm of the office from what we built in Malaysia.”
“We’re trying to take into account cultural and market nuisances, and from that we try and tweak the data, but you can only really get quality information after you got a venue running,” he said.
Common Ground will also be a lot different from the co-working spaces we know here, following its original vision to promote a more sophisticated and convenient lifestyle.
“The software side, meaning the lifestyle element, there are elements of what we do in Malaysia that are going to be transferred here.”
He mentioned certain services that their Malaysia spaces offer to their members—dry cleaning services, grocery delivery, bucket list programs, and other activities that can either boost their productivity or enhance the convenience of their day-to-day living.
Akinci also shared that a partnership between Common Ground and a university in Malaysia has been formed where members can go through an entire course in sessions in the co-working space and can get a full MBA degree. It has yet to be confirmed if a version of this will be available in the Philippines.
“It may take a little time to get a community going but at least they have the platform to use, then besides that, really it’s going to be up to the local team to start to build up the software, the lifestyle element of what we create in Common Ground Malaysia.”
As to the space’s price range, Akinci said that the prices will be no different from any other co-working spaces in Manila.
“In fact, we’re slightly cheaper, but not by much, like 5% cheaper,” he adds.
Since Common Ground Manila is still under construction, they have yet to confirm their official rates, but we look forward to the services and features this Malaysian co-working pioneer will bring.
With reports from Rhea Persad
Featured Image Credit: Common Ground (Malaysia co-working space)