The number of spaces available for coworking — a concept mostly unheard of just 10 years ago — has grown dramatically around the world in recent years.
While only about 160 coworking spaces existed worldwide in 2008, the global coworking space market size is expected to grow from $13.60 billion in 2021 to $16.17 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9% & the market is expected to reach $30.36 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 17.0%
According to coworker.com there are over 27,000 coworking spaces in the world and about 1158 of them are based in Africa.
Even with the pandemic, the flexible workspace thrived with more spaces opening up and others expanding to meet the demand of companies as they adopted the new work trends like hybrid and remote work.
The spaces have also experienced growth majorly determined by the increase in the number of start-ups globally.
According to petersfik.com publication in October 2019, the global start-up economy was worth $ 3 trillion in 2019.
The growth is also backed by the expansion of internet space, exposure to the knowledge of entrepreneurship outside the boundaries of the country, and improved literacy rates.
It hasn’t been rosy all through though for the sector of the flexible workspaces with spaces like Knotel, which had reached as many as 200 locations worldwide in 2019, for a combined managed office area of over 4 million square feet filling for bankruptcy & its activities being taken over by the commercial real estate brokerage firm Newmark for $70 million.
WeWork also faced quite a challenging face following its public rise and fall in 2019. However, the company has found a new footing with the new CEO managing to get them back on a successful path — even through a global pandemic, hence keeping WeWork in one of the top spots among large coworking companies.
With most of the coworking spaces having been in existence for less than a decade, here is a list of the Top 10 Coworking Spaces in Africa that have showcased phenomenal growth in terms of scaling in the recent past.
Located in Nairobi, Kenya….Nairobi Garage is a premium fully serviced shared office space for innovative and fast-growing companies. They enable business by providing high-value, flexible office space solutions where networking & community building are part of the package.
Launched in 2014, Nairobi Garage is home to over 200 high-impact member businesses located across its 4 office spaces and counting in Kilimani, Karen, Spring Valley, and Westlands. Nairobi Garage offers all-inclusive, 24/7 access workspaces designed with the purpose, to suit the needs of businesses at all stages. All spaces are powered by fast, reliable internet.
Members enjoy access to business opportunities, networking events, workshops, marketing support as well as outsourced professional services to support business growth as well as bottomless coffee & tea.
With six locations spread across South Africa, Workshop 17 Coworking space offers spaces with distinct character. Each share the Workshop17 ethos – to do all we can to make your workplace work brilliant.
Founded by Paul Keursten & Mark Seftel, Workshop17, has over 10 years of experience and its highly motivated teams in locations and in HQ.
Unlike most businesses, the pandemic had a big positive impact on shared spaces: it propelled shared and flexible workspace from a niche offering to a mainstream solution. Through this Workshop 17 seeks to take on the next phase of its journey: growing its locations from 6 to 15 in the next 3 years.
Part of the Workshop17 journey is about finding strategic partners who can contribute to the success of our members while growing our footprint
With over 8 spaces in South Africa, The Workspace is one of the largest coworking spaces in South Africa. The spaces are spread between Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal.
The Workspace also features an incubator called Ideas Lounge for brainstorming new ideas together or just holding more unofficial meetings, with small meeting tables and writable walls.
There are also private offices and office suites with dedicated work areas in a shared space for startups or small teams looking for privacy.
They all feature lock-up-and-go facilities, cleaning services, and access to amenities. Currently, more than 470 entrepreneurs and 100 companies work there.
What’s more interesting is that you can also join the Workshop 17 community across South Africa without committing to a membership, by buying a day pass for as little as USD 16.18.
With over 4 locations in Nigeria. WorkCentral Nigeria offers a great Co-working Space with Business Support Services to new and existing businesses, start-ups, multinationals, corporate execs, and freelancers.
Their products and services are carefully orchestrated to suit various business needs, whether they are a budding entrepreneur or veteran businesses, local or international.
Kofisi Africa has about 10 locations spread across Kenya, Tanzania, Johannesburg, Accra, and Cairo.
KOFISI Africa is a provider of flexible workspaces and is part of Sunbird Africa. Sunbird Africa is a leading provider of flexible workspace, fit, and facilities management.
Responding to client demand and the market opportunity, Sunbird, rebranded its flexible workspace offering to Kofisi.
Currently, in six countries, KOFISI’s vision is to open in 25 cities, representing a market size of 11 million users.
From Impact Hub’s global network, Impact Hub has launched several Coworking Spaces in Africa with some notable spaces being Impact Hub Lagos which was launched in 2017. Founders Solape Hammond and Bolaji Finnih observed that although the average Nigerian had entrepreneurial motivation, they lacked meaningful support and were unable to gain traction or opportunity.
Impact Hub Lagos was created to provide access to many forms of support in one place: a conducive workspace, community, inspiring events, collaboration opportunities, incubation and acceleration programs, and business-consulting services.
It attracts a diverse range of people, from government representatives and multinational CEOs to social activists and artists.
Impact Hub Lagos is situated in a welcoming green space in the exclusive Ikoyi neighborhood.
It features a coworking area, dedicated offices, a room for nursing mothers, a rooftop patio for events and parties, and a hardware lab with tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters.
A food truck stops by three times a week, and the building itself is included in the impact-driven mission, with a hundred solar panels reducing its carbon footprint by about 30%.
Impact Hub has about 13 locations spread out across Africa including Impact Hub Accra, which has 15000 innovative members.
Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) began operations in 2010 as one of the first innovation hubs in Lagos, and today it’s at the heart of the city’s startup ecosystem.
Located in the center of lively Yaba, it has four floors in a six-floor building. The coworking space on the sixth floor, aptly named The Sixth Floor, is where members including technologists, entrepreneurs, creatives, and students can experiment and collaborate.
Many fintech and eCommerce companies work from the space, alongside design agencies and creatives. The CcHUB team runs regular events including hackathons, pitch events, and workshops. Membership is flexible, with options ranging from daily to yearly commitments.
In 2019, Cc-Hub also entered the Kenyan market by acquiring Nairobi-based iHub.
Based in Nigeria, Lead Space has about 7 locations. Leadspace was founded in 2016 by the team behind Passion Incubator, who saw that entrepreneurs need infrastructure, office space, reliable internet access, and a support system to succeed.
Leadspace Yaba is bright, colorful, and meant to inspire young people, and Leadspace Ojodu is full of inspiring artwork of disruptors including portraits of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg.
A third location named Hub One was created in partnership with First City Monument Bank and has a simple and elegant design to provide a calm working environment. Each space is open to startups at all stages and has an emphasis on community and collaboration.
Membership is flexible, with both long-term contracts and hourly desk rentals available. Leadspace is home to a range of entrepreneurs but has a strong focus on technology.
Current members are working in software development, edtech, health tech, agritech, travel tech, and logistics tech.
Members appreciate the collaborative environment and there are examples of people joining as independent freelancers joining forces with other members to become startup cofounders.
With over 3 locations in Nigeria and planning to launch more locations in South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana, Workstation Nigeria currently has 4,000 members and can seat more than 650 people between the two spaces.
Though it markets itself as a space for tech startups, it welcomes and supports all industries.
The goal is to be more than a coworking space and to provide an environment where entrepreneurs can feel part of a community, collaborate and succeed.
There is definitely a trajectory of growth in the coworking space market. As more companies in Real Estate look into the space the demand is set to go higher hence leading to new market entrants, franchises, or ultimately the expansion of the current market players.