Workstation is a hip new co-working space in the heart of Lagos Nigeria. It was born out of the founder’S own need for affordable tech-enabled work spaces. Workstation’s mission is to drive innovation throughout emerging and frontier markets by providing dynamic, curated work-spaces designed to cultivate creativity, increase productivity and encourage community building.
In this interview, TechMoran spoke to Workstationng founder to learn more about the coworking space’s past, future and mission.
Tell us about yourselves, your team, your educational and professional backgrounds.
I was born and raised in Lagos. I relocated to Washington DC after high school to study Finance at the Howard University School of Business. I have a lot of experience across a diverse set of industries including advertising, energy and real estate. Currently, I am the Managing Partner for Pacific Vanguard Limited, a Director at Midland Resources Limited and a Business Development Executive for Ikot Abasi Power. My ultimate goal has always been to make a social impact in Nigeria and across Africa, so at the moment, Workstation is my main focus.
The Workstation team comprises of value-building individuals with career and skills ranging from marketing to accounting to property management. We have a nice mix of a global and local team, allowing us to understand the culture but also bring in a global perspective. On a daily basis, they apply these skills to the day-to-day running and building of Workstation, affording me with time and opportunities to focus on our expansion plans and overall vision.
How would you best describe Workstation, what does it do?
Workstation’s mission is to build a global ecosystem that provides entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses with access to emerging markets. We strive to drive innovation throughout emerging and frontier markets by providing dynamic, curated work-spaces designed to cultivate creativity, increase productivity and encourage community building. We’re more than a coworking space — we’re a lifestyle.
In just a year, we have been able to sign over 2,000 businesses and individual members onto our Digital Member Network which gives them access to our physical locations on-demand. Each day, we see progress in our programming, membership, and partnership strategies.
What market gap did you spot that motivated you to start this company?
While there are other great coworking spaces and office solutions in Nigeria, most do not offer the flexibility, affordability, programming and on-site amenities that Workstation brings to the table. We made sure to cater to all aspects of the modern day worker’s life: their work, their health, their growth and their happiness. Our mantra is “Live. Work. Play.” because that’s what life is about. More importantly, I am our target market — I was someone looking for a reasonable office space for myself and I couldn’t find it. So, I created it. Knowing our customers and providing this solution has accelerated our growth in a little over a year of existing.
Who is your target market?
Our target market is quite broad, which is really one of the great things about Workstation. Our services are not limited to just Nigerians, locals, tech folks, etc. Workstation is for anyone who needs a space to work on whatever goal they have. Be it the everyday entrepreneur or freelancer, SME, student, full-time employee working on extra projects, blogger, developer, journalist, or someone who just needs a space to catch up on some reading, there’s a space for them at Workstation.
We even have a plan that’s good for those who need a virtual office, meaning a place they can have their mail sent to or use as a business address. Because we have enterprise solutions, private offices, fixed desks and a variety of hot desk plans, we’re also able to serve a variety of team sizes. In a nutshell, we provide business support for anyone and everyone who is in need of this service.
Workstation is the cool new way to work for anyone!
How does your company make money?
We have a few revenue generators including membership subscriptions, event space rentals, and meeting/conference bookings. We keep our operating costs as low as we can and work hard to increase membership and keep our private offices at full occupancy.
What is the biggest challenge the company has faced in its journey so far?
Capital is and has continued to prove itself as a major challenge for our business, like many of those starting in Nigeria. The effects of lack of funding can really limit a business in areas of customer potential, growth, and speed of scalability. Despite this challenge, we’ve continued to succeed by microsoping costs, making informed decisions in all expenses and driving revenue.
Our relentless and resilient mindset remains to be the best coworking space possible. With the right investors, we are hopeful our business will scale to levels that supersede our vision. Our vision is large and this keeps us motivated as we continue to knock on doors and present our plans to individuals we believe understand our mission of connecting businesses across key cities in the emerging and frontier markets.
Who would you say is your major competition in this space at the moment?
We believe we are in competition with just ourselves, meaning we are only in a race to ensure our services supersede itself time and time again. We take notice of global coworking companies to ensure we are keeping up with world-class brands. Surveys sent to our community also give us a constant check on just how well are doing and where we can improve.
What is your vision for the company in the next 5 years?
Five years from now, we hope to be one of the largest coworking communities across the emerging markets with a massive footprint across key cities in Africa, North America, South America, Asia and Europe. Our eyes are set on leading the pack of workspace and business service providers across developed cities and emerging markets.
What advice would you give upcoming entrepreneurs?
Spend quality time finding and forming a team that you can trust and rely on. In order to scale, you need to be able to delegate tasks and surround yourself with a team that is diverse in their skills.
Find the gaps that need to be filled. Make sure you understand the needs of your market and that you’re solving a problem or making some part of life easier.
Pay close attention to your market and how your idea fits with their lifestyle, traits, character, and decisions.