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Top 5 reasons why Saudi co-working is the country’s future of entrepreneurship

Welcomed by youth, entrepreneurs, and SMEs, co-working is also carving its place into Saudi Arabia’s economy

In Saudi, there is still a supply shortage. There are an estimated 3.4 co-working spaces for every 1 million workers The Saudi government aims to raise the contribution of SMEs to the GDP from 20% to 35% by 2030 Co-working spaces in Saudi start as low as $18 per day

Coworking spaces across the globe are expected to grow to 30,433 by 2022, benefiting 5.1 million people.

Welcomed by youth, entrepreneurs, and SMEs, co-working is also carving its place into Saudi Arabia’s economy.

Here are the top 5 factors supporting this market. 

1. Saudi: A ready market 

Saudi is the Middle East’s biggest economy, with a $680 billion GDP and a population of 33 million, 70% of which are below 30 years old. 

Dr. Eyad Reda, Chairman of Servcorp Saudi, a leading remote work operator, recently said: “The flexible workspace market is projected to reach $44 billion in value by 2021, and an increasing number of newer businesses and well-established corporates increasingly prefer to use serviced workspaces in Saudi Arabia.”

Demand is growing for modern co-workspaces where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and SMEs can share offices, ideas, and services.  

2. Saudi: A growth market

The number of global co-working spaces doubled in the past three years and their membership has tripled, according to the Saudi Gazette. 

However, in Saudi, there is still a supply shortage. There are an estimated 3.4 co-working spaces there for every 1 million workers, compared to 32 for every 1 million workers in the US. 

More people, including recent university graduates, are choosing to become entrepreneurs, which has further stoked demand for co-working spaces.

Price, flexibility, a sense of community, and networking opportunities, plus training to stay attuned to the latest innovations in the business world are what’s driving the growth and demand in the Kingdom.

3. Saudi: Government support
Can’t talk Saudi co-working, without mentioning WeWork, an American commercial real estate company that provides shared workspaces for technology startups and services.

WeWork ran into trouble but is now majority-owned by SoftBank at a valuation of $8 billion, well short of the $13bn that’s been put into it, and the $47 bn that it was once valued at.

Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has a $45 bn investment in the first $100 bn SoftBank Vision Fund.

WeWork represents Saudi’s interest in the co-working space, which is now very evident in the Kingdom.  

Saudi has also been building itself as an entrepreneurial hub. The Badir Program for Technology Incubators has been a center for startup support and delivered more than SAR 2 bn ($540 million) impact on the Saudi economy.

Monsha’at (Saudi’s General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises) was established just 3 years ago, supporting the launch of co-working spaces and hubs, raising the skills of Saudi founders, and building a culture of entrepreneurship.

The Saudi government also aims to raise the contribution of SMEs to the GDP from 20% to 35% by 2030.

4. Workspaces: Business lures   

AstroLabs, the first international business incubator licensed in Saudi Arabia, has launched an online source of information on how businesses can set up a 100% foreign-owned entity in the kingdom

AstroLabs also offers businesses with a physical address and dedicated working space in its Riyadh co-working facility, in addition to providing a connection to recruitment partners and service providers.

This attracts foreign investors but also allows Saudi-born startups to expand internationally.  

Zid, a Riyadh-based Shopify-like e-commerce management startup that helps startups and businesses set up their online stores has raised $2 million Pre-Series A. 

Zid enables people to create their online stores for free with basic functionality and up to 100 products, and manage them without having any technical knowledge. 

Entrepreneurs can choose to work from co-working spaces that Zid provides and according to its website, Zid currently has over 1200 active retailers using its services. The startup claims to have sales valued at over 140 million Riyals ($37.3 million).

5. Places to co-work: Choices

We can’t name them all, but out of the dozens of co-working places spread around the kingdom, we highlight these to show in no particular order range, diversity, and style. 

67/22 is an easy to access location in Riyadh where a variety of spaces is on offer, including open spaces, private offices, small and large meeting rooms, discussion rooms, offered for hourly, daily, monthly or even yearly accesses.

The 67|22 co-working space starts as low as SAR 67 ($18) per day.

Beehive

Beehive offers a flexible workplace from hourly meeting room reservations to a monthly unlimited access office space subscription.

Beehive prices start at 700 Riyals/month ($189/mo.) for a 1-month minimum.

Hot desks @ 50 Riyals per hour ($13.5/hr).

1 day @ 150 Riyals ($40.5/day).

She Works 

Saudi women, whose participation in the workforce has grown to over 20%, now have a co-working space of their own at SheWorks. The place offers business consultation and governmental services, in addition to hosting classes and workshops to empower and educate female entrepreneurs.

Dedicated Desk @ 2500 Riyals per month ($675/mo.)

Private Office for 2 @ 6000 Riyals per month ($1,620/mo.)

Jovia

Jovia aspires to develop a co-working space where people can create and develop their business; enjoy/love their work, and expand their network. 

It starts at 120 Riyals per day ($32.4/day) but prices change with subscription types as per below:

The Ceremony

Starting at1800 Riyals/month ($486/mo.), the North Riyadh co-working space The Ceremony is where digital nomads, local freelancers, innovative entrepreneurs, and small businesses congregate in bustling creativity.

ServCorp

ServCorp is offering co-working spaces with Hot Desks starting at 1200 Riyals per month ($333/mo.) and a Dedicated Desk at 1700 Riyals per month ($460/mo.).