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Are Coworking Spaces Doing Enough for India's Entrepreneurial Community Do coworking and mentoring startups go hand in hand?

By Rahul R

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Roman Samborskyi | Shutterstock

With the startup culture today having extended to beyond just being ventures with skeletal teams, it is worth noting at this juncture that the trend has given rise to numerous coworking spaces which go beyond just offering working areas. Coworking spaces today are also engrossed in actively mentoring startups to pick up the nuances of successful business models and sometimes even funding aspects as well.

In this regard, Entrepreneur India in a bid to delve deep into what exactly goes on within coworking spaces, interacted with Clarisse Tonon who is Managing Director at Numaa Bengaluru which is a full service innovation hub that offers customized Accelerator and Startup Programs apart from the conventional coworking area. Numa is headquartered in Paris and has a presence in Bengaluru in India.

Clarisse Tonon, along with Farish CV who is Head of Acceleration and Startup Programs for India, was generous to offer insights on a variety of aspects ranging from actively mentoring startups to analysing whether coworking spaces would stand above the conventional office spaces. A notable aspect here is that Numa also works with the Government of Karnataka in a program called DataCity that gathers corporates, startups, cities and citizens in order to address the cities most persistent challenges and develop innovative solutions using data and technology

Entrepreneurs today are no more just a group of people – They Require Nurturing

Clarisse adds that the main motivation behind setting up Numa in Bengaluru was to offer the right ecosystem to entrepreneurs to enable them stay connected. With today's entrepreneurs no more just a conventional team, the right network around entrepreneurs becomes vital.

"We came to Bengaluru to provide space and create the right communities for entrepreneurs to learn and grow together," states Clarisse to Entrepreneur India.

"We all have something to offer to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. At Numa, we offer mentoring for startups, events as well as corporate innovation programs," informs Clarisse.

With the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem more mature now, it only becomes imminent to ensure that the creative juices flow in the working environment as well, thereby not underestimating the entrepreneurs (and startups) as merely being "another group".

Farish CV (squatting fifth from left) and Clarisse (squatting seventh from left at Numa Bengaluru)

"We are not just a coworking space; we are an international innovation hub located in 8 different countries. We help entrepreneurs with mentoring program, quality in-house experts, international network (founders, experts, exchange programs & scale hub), corporate connections and strong methodologies like Design Thinking, Growth Hacking, and OKR," adds Farish.

"We have been running acceleration programs for startups from the last three years. Tech-enabled startups are welcome to our acceleration program."

Introducing quality resources to mentor startups

At Numa, quality in-house resources are brought in to training programs, apart from external mentors. Specific mentors are also involved with startups on a weekly basis to monitor growth, progress, and avoiding common mistakes.

"We take early-stage startups, and leverage Growth Hacking techniques to help them find new ways to acquire users and channels," explains Farish.

As far as one-on-one mentoring is concerned, Numa also assigns lead mentors to select startups. The former comprises of industry experts. Numa's global network also comprises of more than 500 mentors.

"Our doors are open to all entrepreneurs, and innovators. We invite them to be part of our events as well," states Farish.

Mentoring events at Numa Bengaluru

Coworking cum startup acceleration is here to stay

"International players are now starting to enter the Indian scheme of things which is a good development," believes Clarisse. With lot of customized events today taking place across India, entrepreneurs have lots to cheer about as far as connecting with the right resources and obtaining learning opportunities is concerned.

"In the coming years, we would have more results to see," sums-up Farish.

Coworking spaces and conventional office spaces would co-exist

Clarisse adds that with expansion of teams by entrepreneurs, the need for regular large office spaces would see an upward spiral. Coworking spaces would serve as founding stones for successful large teams having started small but "innovatively".

Both coworking spaces as well as office spaces have their own value in the ecosystem.

Is the working culture in co-working facilities a tad too informal?

"It depends on the value proposition actually, there are coworking spaces that have a more formal culture," states Clarisse.

However, when entrepreneurs meet certain clients, they are mandated to follow benchmarked standards. At Numa, the focus is also on following corporate standards as the venture works with corporate clients as well.

Motivation for the newbie entrepreneurs

With a venture like Numa to solve entrepreneurial challenges, Clarisse and Farish believe in unison that it is important for people not to join the rat race with respect to starting business ventures. Picking up the right problem, and ensuring that the vast majority faces this problem, is vital.

"Do not start companies without the right idea and the right team. Do not start one just to further an entrepreneurial trend," recommend both Clarisse and Farish.

Other Prominent Coworking spaces in Bangalore

With the coworking trend catching up with the entrepreneurial community faster than expected, there are a host of other hubs in Bangalore that offer more than just an office space. Atthis juncture, the entrepreneurial community in Bangalore has shown a fetish for shared spaces (alongside Numa) such as 91 Springboard, WeWork, Regus, Bhive Workspace, and Sneed.

Rahul R

Former Staff

Rahul R is a media professional with over 6 years of experience. Prior to Entrepreneur India, Rahul was a Senior Technical Journalist at EFY digital magazine. 
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