Nurturing the entrepreneurial dreams of ‘Real India’, small cities to emerge as the next pit-stop for global business giants and start-ups.
The stage is set for the co-working revolution 2.0, and its arena is Indian Tier-II cities. While urban cities and economic hubs such as Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai continue to experience a co-working boom, stakeholders in the segment have already started plotting the map of its next growth cycle, coursing through the hitherto unexplored regions of the country. As metropolises reach their saturation point in terms of infrastructure availability, market potential, and talent pool combined with increasing living costs, businesses are making inroads into the country to keep the co-working juggernaut rolling.
As per the Trade Association of Indian Information Technology and NASSCOM, India is expected to develop more than 11,500 startups by 2020, that too in the technology sphere alone! Although urban areas are currently providing for this boom, the pressure from migration and increasing population has made the price of resources skyrocket. Additionally, the features that distinguished these areas from other regions, such as better connectivity, premium resources, the best of talent, etc. are increasingly being decentralized, which has started to level out the playing field more.
Entrepreneurship, the great leveller
One of the most significant causes of co-working reaching Tier-II cities, however, has been the increasing numbers of home-grown startups and entrepreneurs from these areas. Earlier, talented individuals used to move towards cities as only these places could provide the avenues for growth. But, with the emergence of the internet, everything from ideation to development and marketing can be done over the web. This has taken the entrepreneurship spirit to every corner of India.
Recently, Jaipur got five co-working spaces. A large number of co-working brands are also becoming visible in other cities such as Indore, Rajkot, Udaipur, Bhubaneshwar, etc. Even Kota, a tiny city in Rajasthan famous for its thriving coaching classes industry, has its own co-working space. A large number of sharp young minds in the vicinity would have definitely played a role in such a decision.
Demands of the modern workforce
With an average age of 29, India is touted to become the country with the youngest workforce by 2020. However, the economy is failing to generate jobs that can absorb such a prospective employee base. As a result, the number of freelancers, consultants, and gig-based professionals is increasing. These resources, apart from high remuneration, are also looking for added perks such as flexible working hours, comfortable work locations, and the availability of high-quality utility services such as the internet, etc.
Co-working spaces provide an ideal combination of these diverse requisites, thus becoming a popular option with businesses and professionals alike. From bootstrapped startups to established corporate houses, every organization is looking to explore the opportunities offered by Tier-II cities the co-working way.
Strengthening the fabric of the startup ecosystem
Although the Indian startup saga has seen more highs than lows, its growth has been sporadic and around certain pockets. The entire nation has not been able to enjoy the fruits of such stellar growth. As co-working spaces increase their proliferation in Tier-II cities, young entrepreneurs, homemakers, agricultural workers, and a vast section of the population will be able to establish a network with global conglomerates, investors, and industry veterans. This community creation aspect of co-working spaces makes it extremely important for them to flourish in Tier-II cities to empower the prospective entrepreneurs long shackled by societal conventions and lack of opportunities.
From allowing a woman from a small city to go out and work in a safe, secure, and comfortable environment to ensuring the modern professionals need not compromise on their familial duties by introducing crèche services, co-working spaces have redefined the perspective of work for us. As the shared workspace culture takes to the streets of real India, it is destined to shape a strong, content, and willing global workforce that is ready to take up any challenge.
Sudeep Singh is Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder at GoWork, India’s largest co-collaborative co-working space.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)