The Ottawa Market is Booming with Collaborative Work Environments – All Different, All Great!

It seems that every other day we hear about a new ‘shared office concept’ workspace in Ottawa. In a time when people are only now catching on to the idea of a collective work environment – and yes, with all the questions we get about our own centers, we know that the concept is still not mainstream – it can be confusing for some people to understand what these centers offer.

Many of Ottawa’s co-working spaces are unique from each other, and tailor their offering to a slightly different target audience. If you’re considering forgoing a fixed office with high rent and long-term commitments, and are looking to jump into this growing trend, there are several questions you’ll need to ask yourself to determine which space is right for you.

Are you in the infancy of your business with just a brilliant idea and not much else? Perhaps you’re in start-up mode with a few clients, and a small team? What do you hope to get out of shared workspace? What are your immediate and long-term business goals? TCC's Central BizLoungeWhat’s your budget for overhead expenses such as rent, utilities, furniture? Are you looking for an angel investor/funding/mentoring? How much time will you be spending at the centre? Is location important? Will your membership get you access to multiple locations across town?

Let’s us run through the various options that are available if you’re an Ottawa entrepreneur, consultant or business owner who is considering taking the plunge toward a shared office environment. Here are some of the different types of options available in the local market:

1. Co-working Space
An environment where people who are self-employed, consultants or those who are employed for different companies come together to work in a shared space. This type of option is attractive to someone who wants to rub shoulders with professionals from a wide range of industries, and there’s a big focus on the community, social and opportunistic aspects of these environments.

2. Virtual Office
A virtual office provides a physical address, mail and reception service, along with occasional use of a boardroom or meeting space for business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for a “professional front” for their business. This option is great for someone who works from their home, but doesn’t want to use their home address for their business, for professional and security reasons.

3. Business Center
A business center is a great place to spend your time if you’re in need of a facility to host business meetings, and they are great since they often provide workstations, in case you may not have a laptop or tablet. Other amenities include support staff, telecommunications and reception services and more.

4. Incubators & Accelerators
Incubator-focused-centers help start-ups and entrepreneurs develop their business idea by providing space, management training, support, etc. They are dedicated to helping early-stage companies. A shared work center that refer to itself as an ‘accelerator’ space is that which works with businesses that have moved beyond the incubator stage, and are geared towards helping companies become stable, self-sufficient businesses. The over-arching goal of both incubators and accelerators is to contribute to economic development.

With six locations across Ottawa we’re confident that we have the type of shared work center that meets your business’s needs. The important this is to do your research, and carefully weigh the options.

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