South Australia takes national lead on coworking

By Glynn Jones

It’s difficult to understand just how effective coworking is, until you experience it for yourself.

Just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I ensconsed myself inside one of Adelaide’s newest coworking spaces; Little City.

It didn’t take long to realise coworking is infectious. Wine makers, migration agents, financial planners, software designers and marketers alike – everybody here is doing something different, but there’s a common drive, an excitement and sense of activity that picks you up and carries you along.

Spaces like this exist all over Adelaide, and many believe the collaboration and new ideas they generate can help drive South Australia’s economy.

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Little City coworking studio and workshop space in Prospect

Leading the way in Australia, the South Australian coworking community is the first in the country to set up a state-based association, and South Australia’s Little City is the first to start a relationship with the coworking communities in the Asian region.

Helen Ahrens, who is a founding member of the state association and represents South Australia on the Board of the National Shared Work Hubs Association says co-working spaces offer an ecosystem that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.

“When small businesses thrive, the economy thrives and the South Australian coworking group brings together all the necessary stakeholders to help grow this community,” Helen says.

“As the new state association grows, we aim to help more South Australian small and medium businesses enter into Asia markets.”

Hub Adelaide, Peel Street

Hub Adelaide, Peel Street

Coworking is more than just shared office space. According to Helen they provide a collaborative community made up of like-minded people that want to see each other succeed.

The rest of Australia is now looking at South Australia’s model to help their own state-based groups grow.

Helen has previously represented South Australia at the Global Coworking Unconference Australia in Sydney and has recently represented South Australia at the Coworking Unconference Asia in Bali.

There were 31 countries represented from 55 different coworking communities.

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Coworking Unconference Asia held in Bali

Out of this amazing collaborative event, Little City became the first coworking space in Australia to build an alliance with Asia’s coworking communities as a foundation member of CAAP: Coworking Alliance of Asia Pacific.

This new agreement paves the way for membership benefits and exchange programs. It’s an important milestone that will attract Asian innovators to use Adelaide as their Australian hub.

The South Australian Coworking Association plans to set up many more partnerships across China, Japan, Indonesia and indeed across the world.

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Mike LaRosa, international coworking advisor and cofounder of Coworkaholic, says as more and more members of the South Australian coworking community engage the Asian marketplace, there will be opportunities to share successes and lessons learned.

James Stewart, founder of Kick.It, took part in Hub Adelaide’s Spark Program and is creating a mobile app which is designed to help people kick the smoking habit.

“South Australian coworking community enabled Kick.It to get our initial seed investment and since then, the community has given me the support and motivation to keep working hard and continue to stay focused and build my business,” James says.

If you want to try coworking, Helen suggests contacting your local coworking space but to also check out some other options around Adelaide.