Spacious is the impression e27 gets when we first walk into Coworkinc, a co-working space in the trendy Kemang area in South Jakarta, where headquarters of startups such as Go-Jek, Deliveree and Luxola are located.
Designed by architect Rubi Rusli, the area dominates the whole third floor of a building where each room is separated by glass doors.
“When you want to get work done, you can sit and work here. It has a very office-like feel to it, without the cubicle. But if you feel like socialising, you can work in the other side of the space,” she explains.
The difference between the two spaces is apparent. The focus room is dominated with office desks and meeting rooms while the common room is filled with sofa and accessories.
On the balcony, apart from spots to sit and smoke, there is also a sign that points to a shower room.
“If you feel like going out after a hard day’s work, then there’s the shower for you,” she says.
Coworkinc is open to startups and professionals across all industries. It was once home to tech startups such as Deliveree and surprisingly, the newly formed Badan Ekonomi Kreatif (Council for Creative Economy), a government body that focusses on Indonesia’s creative industry, including film, gaming and art.
There are also people who are in the middle of starting over.
“I am building a new startup that is providing an online database for creative entrepreneurs in the country,” says Okta, a member and frequent visitor to the co-working space.
In building this space, Cynthia Satria Hasan was inspired by her own son’s story.
“My son has a hat-making business where he works with recycled material. We are very close and I often talk to his friends as well,” says Hasan, who spent years working in non-profit organisations in San Diego before going back to her home country in 2013.
“Then I realised that the problem with many young Indonesian entrepreneurs is that they don’t have a proper support system, be it in form of a community, a standard or even the right basic skills to start a business. I have also seen co-working spaces in the US, which are very different than what we have here … So I tried to bring that concept here,” she explains.
With emphasis on the element of collaboration, Hasan plays the role of an unlikely ‘business incubator’. She treats all the members in the space as her own children.
“We help them grow not by giving them funding or the like. Often, we help them grow simply by being a shoulder to cry on,” she says.
“Many of them came here late at night to talk about business … Sometimes we can help introduce them to someone if we need to … But there are also ones who come just to cry or talk about their problems!”
Like many co-working spaces, Coworkinc also has series of daily and weekly events for its members.
“Most of our events focus on building soft skills for entrepreneurs. It’s really surprising how much basic skills our entrepreneurs are lacking,” says Hasan.
e27 closes our visit by taking part in a Netwarming Series event, where members sit down and socialise while listening to discussions on issues.