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It’s no secret that Klang Valley is saturated with coworking spaces. Many of them usually establish a design theme to set themselves apart, while some will market themselves as being a space specifically for a certain group of entrepreneurs and startups.

For the latter, some examples are MOX Malaysia for creative startups, and HanaWomen Hub for women entrepreneurs.

Similarly, Naadiah, Yasmin (her sister), and Juara (Yasmin’s husband) noticed that, besides MaGIC’s coworking space all the way in Cyberjaya, there was a lack of coworking spaces that catered to the needs of social enterprises (SEs).

So in 2019, they decided to address that issue, and thus se|tempat was born.

 It’s Not Just About The Space

Juara started his entrepreneurial journey long ago in 1990, while Yasmin had been in hospitality prior to getting involved in learning and development.

10 years ago, they established neOOne Associates, a boutique learning and development solution provider that now acts as the parent company of se|tempat.

On the other hand, Naadiah only began her entrepreneurial journey 6 years ago, after leaving the insurance industry.

Each of the co-founders play their own role in running se|tempat with Juara sharing that Yasmin is their biz brain, Naadiah takes care of operations, and Juara himself “lazes around and makes events happen”, he joked.

If you were to look up se|tempat, you might notice that they don’t usually describe themselves as a coworking space. Instead, they used the term ‘co-being’. But what does that even mean?

We shot this question at them, and Juara pointed out, “Social entrepreneurs and social innovators need more than just a space to work in. They require learning and development (L&D) initiatives especially during their formative years.”

Image Credit: se|tempat

These L&D initiatives involve various interventions and events that offer mentoring, coaching, business advice, clinics, networking, motivation, peer encouragement, learning opportunities, etc.

“It is our belief that these initiatives are vital in strengthening their core, or as we say, their being,” Juara explained, “Creating an entrepreneur’s being is not a solitary endeavour. It is most effective when done together in a community, thus the word ‘co-being’ was created to describe the context of the growth essence of an entrepreneur.”

Catering To Their Target Market

Going into specifics, Juara showed just how differently things are done at se|tempat to address the needs of SEs.

With their emphasis on positive community and environmental impact as well as social justice, se|tempat does its best to incorporate these elements into their L&D initiatives.

Every third Sunday of the month, you’ll find an event called SE.Sunday being held at the space with the purpose of introducing Malaysians to the concept of impact buying.

“In this event, we rope in SEs, local youth, the local business community and NGOs together to support what we call ‘Buy With PurpoSE’,” Juara said.

“Its focus is on networking, trade, and awareness. The business model is equal profit sharing with the organisers, making it agile and sustainable.”

This profit sharing initiative is also present in the way se|tempat is operated too.

They have a coffee bar called se|chawan (taken from secawan, ‘a cup’ in Malay) that’s run in collaboration with a local SE called BosCo Coffee, which champions smallholder coffee farmers in Sabah.

se|chawan coffee bar / Image Credit: se|tempat

Explaining the advantage of profit sharing here, Juara said, “We hedge the risk, because there is no huge fixed cost to be borne by the SE, making the initiative more sustainable for them.”

“We also increase awareness about local coffee beans by using them as well as strategic information posters about our local smallholder coffee farmers for patrons to be educated.”

What Can One Find Here?

There aren’t any private office spaces at se|tempat, only hot desks that differ in rates according to duration.

Perhaps because the space is only big enough to fit 30 pax max, they’ve employed an hourly rate system for their hot desks.

Much like how a parking system works, you’d pay RM7 for the first hour and RM5 for subsequent hours.

On the other hand, full-day passes cost RM38/pax, a 7-day pass costs RM180, and you can get a monthly pass for RM350 too.

Coupled with a desk are amenities like free WiFi, access to the pantry for coffee and tea, and access to se|tempat’s library.

se|tempat currently lacks proper membership options as the team wants to set up their SE Learning Management system before they offer them.

Image Credit: se|tempat

After putting in RM650,000 to start up their coworking space, the team monetises through rentals for events, training fees, sales of coffee as well as consultancy work.

“Most income for se|tempat comes from rentals, and our focused rental users are those who are looking for training and educational spaces that suit their need to run learning sessions,” Juara shared.

Doing More Than The Occasional Event

Aside from SE.Sunday and external events, se|tempat holds some other events of its own like SE Connect (for peer support and catching up), Pocket Talks (competency building and learning), SE Masterclass (competency enhancement for SEs), Picha Kucha Nite (to enhance pitching competency), and mentoring sessions.

Image Credit: se|tempat

But they have a bigger goal in mind. One that Juara shared was, “To be able to run in-house incubators for social entrepreneurs and social innovators with a longer hand-holding period than usual.”

The other would be creating the aforementioned comprehensive Learning Management system to bolster the growth of se|tempat’s entrepreneurs.

  • You can read more about what we’ve written on other coworking spaces here.

Featured Image Credit: se|tempat

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)