Visit most any coffee shop in Portland and you’re likely to run into an entrepreneur hashing out an idea over a double latte. But let’s face it: launching a startup while competing for electrical outlets and trying to block out the din of coffee grinders is not always ideal.
Access to a quiet conference room and your very own electrical outlet are just two benefits of a coworking space. Really though, coworking is about so much more.
Elton Kwok, the expansion lead for WeWork Portland, elaborates:
What is coworking really about?
It’s about the community experience from being part of a collaborative workspace. The organic moments that take place in a kitchen space or common area lead to business interactions and relationships that wouldn’t have happened in a traditional office space. The energy you feel when you walk into a space like WeWork is transformational.
We also partner with a lot of companies, ranging from healthcare providers to car rentals to food delivery to web service platforms. We want to create a sense of ease and provide foundational tools so that company can focus on its work and be as successful as possible.
Who is coworking for?
Anybody, really. In our spaces you’ll find freelancer designers, early stage small startups, small businesses, large Fortune 500 companies who need a satellite office, and educational institutions. They all find value in working around others and being part of a collaborative environment.
How does WeWork foster collaboration amongst such diverse businesses?
Our team helps facilitate interactions among members and plans events to connect members. Our event space is free to use for members. They use it to host brunches; demo days; holiday markets; new member happy hours; health and wellness classes; educational events and workshops; and office hours with mentors, experts, and VCs.
We also foster virtual collaboration—every WeWork member has a profile online so they can connect to our global community. When you travel, you have an opportunity to visit other WeWork spaces and connect and collaborate in person with members you’ve met online.
Do you have an example of how the collaboration WeWork fosters can lead to positive outcomes?
A few members of our New York SoHo office were sitting in the lounge, drinking beer, and talking about how great it would be to start a liquor delivery service. They decided to join forces and ended up starting a company called Swill.
What is your hope for the Portland WeWork community?
I really believe coworking is the future of work. Portland is already known for being so collaborative, and I hope the community in Portland is one of our strongest communities in the world.