Coworking in the Mediterranean
The Driving Force Behind the Regional Creative Economy
Across the Mediterranean region, a diverse collection of young men and women are seizing the opportunity to spread a new movement of creative spaces.
From the bustling capitals of Beirut and Cairo to the sleepy Moroccan surf town of Taghazout, entrepreneurs are congregating within a rapidly expanding ecosystem of coworking spaces, fablabs, and art studios. Initially born out of necessity, there are now over one hundred shared workspaces across the region, 88% of which were established after 2011 and 30% of which were founded in the last year. More than just a place to work, these spaces serve as an anchor for communities of young, motivated individuals who are transforming the ways in which people work, creating new types of jobs, and reinvigorating the cultural life of their cities.
To further catalyze this movement, Hivos Mideast Creatives will gather the founders and managers of these spaces from countries around the Mediterranean for its first regional Coworking Summit in Tunis, Tunisia.
Some entities, like the Cogite Coworking Space, grew out of a revolutionary context, where a new sense of freedom and civic responsibility led to Cogite’s launch in 2013 as the first coworking space in Tunisia. Others, like Baghdad’s Fikra Space, were born out of a country grappling with war. While most spaces originally sprung up in capital cities, 40% of coworking spaces in 2015 were founded in smaller population centers. Moreover, in the male-dominated environment of start-ups and entrepreneurship, there is significant female participation in coworking spaces, with women founders representing 30% of applicants to the Mideast Creatives Coworking Call to boost the growth of coworking, art, and innovation spaces in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. But regardless of location or context, these spaces are all linked by their commitment to empowering people with unique, innovative ideas and to working together to build something new.
And this is just the beginning. As David Munir Nabti, CEO of AltCity in Beirut, explains, “the tech and creative economies in both Lebanon and the MENA region are growing rapidly, fueled in part by a stronger network of coworking spaces, accelerators, and investors.” Coworking is also changing the approach to entrepreneurship and creative endeavors in the region. In the words of Mazen Helmy, founder of Cairo’s The District, “coworking for us is a lifestyle, not just a product…the world needs more doers, and coworking spaces–such as District–are the places to be.”
Together, we are building a creativity economy in a region whose young people are an asset, not a liability. Please join us at the Coworking Summit Launch Event on October 8 at 7:00pm at the Cogite Villa as we gather to elevate, and celebrate, the collective talents of today’s entrepreneurial role models.
For more information about the Coworking Summit, please visit the website at http://www.coworkingsummit.org/.
For press inquiries, please contact Kevin Coyne at [email protected] or +21620562785.