Small business co-working spaces abound in Toronto

Last week, I tried out ING DIRECT Cafe’s new Network Orange co-working space in Toronto. What’s great about the space is that small businesses can drop-in for just $20.00 per day. To be a member, all you have to do is fill out an application form and explain how your business can collaborate with and give back to the other small businesses who use the space.

Network Orange has everything that a small business would need including: meeting rooms, work benches, a reception, free wifi and coffee, access to printers and much more. You can also book their event space for free. However, I’ve heard that you have to schedule it far in advance, as it’s becoming a pretty popular venue for startups.

What’s interesting is that Network Orange seems to have a partnership with AutoShare – a Toronto car sharing service (like Zip Car). Clearly, ING is also attracting advertising/promotional dollars from businesses who want to cater to startups. Great idea!

Th ING Café concept is very similar to what I described in a blog post about how coffee shops can capitalize on the small business market about a year ago. The trend is definitely catching on!

In the past few months, I’ve heard about two other new co-working spaces opening up to serve the Toronto technology startup community:

  • [IN]Cubes: a new incubator launching in November. You can read more about this space on my blog on Techvibes from last month.
  • MaRS Commons: MaRS announced this week that they have created a new space for 50 of their Information technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice startups. However, other startups and entrepreneurs can apply to collaborate with these businesses and become mentors. You can read more about it on their newly launched website.
There is obviously a growing need for these services. Have you heard of any other new co-working spaces that have launched in Toronto in the past few months? If so, please share a link in the comments section below.
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6 thoughts on “Small business co-working spaces abound in Toronto

  1. Technology Blog

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  3. Ian

    Interesting article, but I have to say this is not a new concept to Toronto, it is a new name for shared office space within a business centre. Co-working can be great for those who do not need a business address, because no one one wants to do business with a company who lists a P.O. Box out of fears that the business may not be around tomorrow.

    The advantages of going with shared offices in an office business centre, is that you can get a virtual office Toronto package to start off with and rent shared offices on a daily basis. Then when you want to grow your business, you could get into a monthly shared office, semi-private office or even a private office without changing your business address or telephone number.

    Reply
  4. Co Workative

    Awesome post ! Nice information regarding co- working spaces.
    A coworking space is a shared space that anyone can use for any kind of quiet work they like.The more you head out to these co-working spaces, the more people you can meet and spread out your name in the industry for potential employers in the future.

    Reply
  5. rachel (@ruyoung)

    Actually, none of these spaces are coworking facilities.

    INCubes is an incubator and doing well as a mentor, as is the amazing and incredible MaRS Commons, though it’s also a business centre. The ING Cafe is still a cafe, a drop-in workspace with strangers around. It’s hard to build community with a revolving door of a corporate branded environment.

    And community is the key differentiator from shared spaces, incubators, accelerators, cafes, libraries, and your kitchen table. The coworking movement is built on five common values for workspaces, but it’s not about the physical desks or the scheduled programming or the fancy glass walls or the mentorship. It’s community, collaboration, sustainability, openness, and accessibility. It’s about the face to face interactions, networking, and support between members. It’s nearly impossible to do that with a business built on drop-ins and equally hard to support a small business when they are locked into annual leases and considered tenants.

    There are now 13 coworking spaces in Toronto, including the newest CSI building, and another 4 known spaces opening up who believe in the values of coworking .There are now 1800 spaces worldwide. I don’t even know the number of shared offices, executive centres, accelerators, incubators, and other work spaces, but that number is astronomical too, I’m sure. There’s a place for everyone, but not all spaces are alike. Coworking offers something that the other spaces can’t, and the movement is thriving.

    Some resources:
    http://coworking.com
    http://www.coworkingtoronto.ca
    https://www.deskwanted.com/coworking/coworking_survey_booklet.pdf

    Reply
  6. Ali Shazad

    Hi, a new space has opened up on top of Eaton center at 250 Yonge Street where they are renting out offices as well as CoWorking space and Dedicated Desks. If a company needs an address they are selling virtual offices with free meeting room hours and CoWorking hours as well. take a look. http://www.agileoffices.ca

    Reply

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