Networking is one of the most useful tools in any entrepreneur’s arsenal: the opportunity to make business contacts, receive advice, gain new ideas, and strengthen relationships with other startups and clients is invaluable in getting your business ahead. Fortunately, Singapore has a thriving startup networking scene, with many opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of shared contacts, knowledge, and skills. This post highlights some of the shared workspace facilities that also act as networking venues in Singapore.
Shared workspaces provide a number of advantages for a startup – they are a relatively cheap way of securing working space, they provide useful resources for a business such as conference rooms for giving presentations or teleconferencing capabilities, and perhaps most importantly, they offer the chance to network and interact with other businesses. TNF Venturespace is one such shared workspace from startup incubator TNF Ventures, which is offered to IT startups looking for office space in Singapore. TNF Ventures is part of an established network of entrepreneurs, business executives, and investors. These executives offer support and business consultancy for new startups in addition to premium office space.
The Hub is more than just a co-working space; it is a holistic service for startups that are launching or are in the early stages of their business. It offers a range of networking services, such as mentoring programs, fundraising workshops, and marketing support. They frequently run networking events like Hub Members Speed Dating to get to know other Hub users or Meet the Angels for the opportunity to meet and ask questions from investors from the local area. They also offer specialist services such as Conjunct Consulting which finds interns from a pool of student volunteers and matches them with The Hub members.
WorkSpace Design Studio
For creative startups which are looking to position themselves with a strong brand identity and have an interest in graphic design and photography, WorkSpace Design Studio is a serviced office space offered by Waha Office. In addition to the use of full rooms as well as just desks, WorkSpace Design Studio offers fundraising services and support with company incorporation. This is the ideal solution for creative entrepreneurs who are seeking support for the technical aspects of their startup, from a community of like-minded creatives.
Joyful Frog Innovation Campus
Joyful Frog is a startup accelerator which opened an Innovation Campus to provide 4,800 sq ft of space for investors, freelancers, and business founders to meet, work, and relax. They aim to provide a space which provides practical support and teaching for those who are new to business. Rather than teaching corporate strategy such as that learned in an MBA, they focus on teaching the early aspects of business management, such as how to discover and engage with customers. The experiential education approach distinguishes Joyful Frog from other learning spaces. Other amenities such as an on-site coffee barista who provides free drinks, or “lily pad” casual meeting areas, make for a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere to learn and network.
Hackerspaces can be found all around the world, where they bring together IT professionals, programmers, and software developers to provide an open and inspiring workspace. For those working in digital technology or science, they offer a unique space for meeting others in the field and working on collaborative projects. Hackerspace.sg has been open since 2009 and was Singapore’s first co-working space, so it has a relatively long history. As well as workspace during the day, hackerspace.sg offers events, presentations, movie nights and more for the public during the evenings.
Cowork@sg offers space for incubation and acceleration of startups, as well as space for artists, programmers, and entrepreneurs. Their office space is designed to meet the needs of the independent and creative community in Singapore, including meeting spaces, storage space, private offices, business services and a pitch stage for promoting to potential customers or investors. The spaces are chosen to be close to great restaurants, cafes, and bars, as Cowork@sg believe that great locations help to inspire great work. For young professionals, it offers good networking potential as it combines social opportunities with business networking.
The Co is an eight-storey space including co-working and office rental space, plus events spaces including a stylish bar area and a bright, modern meeting space termed The Cove. Located right in the centre of the city, the space is designed to be convenient and inspiring for individual workers or small businesses and offers features like included IT support and comfortable lounge and brainstorming areas. For a small startup seeking to network with larger businesses in a smart, professional environment, The Co is ideal.
Video highlights of Barcamp Singapore (September) 2014
Further networking opportunities abound at tech and startup events in Singapore, ranging from the informal Barcamp evening events which feature discussion on tech topics at local universities or libraries, to annual tech conferences such as Echelon which have demos from startups, workshops, and over one thousand attendees. There are also specialist events like IXD Sessions, a series of talks on Interation Design, or the Open Coffee Club, a meeting place specifically for startup entrepreneurs, developers or investors to hang out and grow their networks. With a large and vibrant startup scene, Singapore offers many opportunities for networking, whatever the nature of your startup.