2014 has been the year of coworking in Manila!
A year ago there was no coworking or creative event space at Greenbelt in Makati, no A SPACE Manila at 110 Legazpi, no Gallery, no bar, no café, no garden, no lounges, no HQs.
I was still writing the plan at every coffee shop in town, crunching the numbers into the night, refusing to shave until I’d negotiated with the landlords for a better deal, and spending every available minute evangelising for the A SPACE version of coworking and its potential for this great city.
There was a handful of small cowork spots around Manila, but the most creative and inspired teams were still hustling to find any place they could on the fringes for their events, work, exhibitions and collaborations. They were trapped like entrepreneurial prisoners within the grey walls of a conventional serviced office. They were juggling queues, coffee, and coding at your local franchise coffee chain. They were trying to put on amazing events in the least inspiring (but most affordable) locations in town.
When we finally signed the deal to transform the former headquarters of the Aboitiz group into Manila’s cowork central, it was almost the end of December 2013. My 2014 New Year was spent testing power sockets and wandering around the floors with a sketch book trying to squeeze in every idea I’d ever had. It was spent trying to convince talented people to quit their real jobs and design their own role within the A SPACE team. In any single day, I would be working on cash forecasts one moment, and shaking hands with a prospective coworker the next; carrying paint samples from Ace Hardware in the morning, setting up bank accounts in the afternoon (queues!!!), editing code for our first website in the evening.
A year later and, wow, things have changed. Manila’s entire innovation community has passed through our doors at some point, with their energy and their ideas and their ambitions and their vision. This community was always here, they just had fewer places to congregate, and fewer places to call home. As our space filled with inspired growing companies, and my own super talented team grew, the optimism we all have for this dynamic city became apparent, real, visible. The power of our city and its people is manifest at A SPACE, you can see it every single day.
As I look back on the past 12 months with a sense of accomplishment, I feel that 2014 really has been the year that coworking started in Manila. For me personally, it’s the baseline for what comes next – the real opportunity, the moment when the city begins to meet the needs of its most innovative community members. For 2015, there is a sea of possibilities – at A SPACE we’ll be opening up more space for HQs and teamwork, launching more event space (Foodies take note!), and even a studio for the creative industries. But it’s not just us – it’s you. Your ideas, your vision, your connections, and your ambitions. If 2014 was the year of coworking in Manila for us, maybe 2015 can be the year of Collaboration for you. After all, you have our space and our support – what will you do with it?
Matt – Founder