Since 2013, María Santos, Martiño Fortes and Manu Álvarez run the Magma Coworking Space in Ourense, Galicia. At Coworking Spain Conference, we got the chance to chat a bit about her space, her community and the coworking scene in Ourense.
Hey María! Where is Ourense, and what is the Coworking scene like?
Ourense is in Spain — it is the only Galician province capital with no maritime coastline. It is a small city with about 100,000 inhabitants. It isn’t very industrial, many people work in the public sector in traditional offices, and so it’s not easy to find something different for those who want something else as a workplace. We are in fact the only Coworking Space in Ourense city! For us that means not having any local competitors, but also we’re the only ones spreading the coworking philosophy.
What makes your space, Magma Espacio, special?
I’ll quote what others have said about us: It’s like an oasis in the desert :) An ecosystem of companies and especially of people.
How do you explain the idea of Coworking to locals in your community?
We actually don’t explain it so much. Usually people come to us looking for a cheaper office, and for a place where they don’t have to work alone. We always offer them a free week, to try it out and see for themselves, to test if they like it. Then they just fall in love with the space and the concept of Coworking.
What’s one affordable thing that any space can do to make its members happier?
In addition to professional relationships, what is created above all are personal relationships. Everyday, when they arrive, you greet your coworkers with a smile, and ask about something that is going on in their lives. You should know if they — for example — have a father in the hospital, if it’s their birthday… just pay attention to what is important to them!
If you could go back: What would you do different in running Magma Espacio?
Make a list of rules and give it to every new coworker. When you just start out, you think you can rely on common sense. But really, it saves you from problems in the future if you set rules first. And not only legal and data stuff — that’s in the contracts — but how you behave in the space. We now have our “Normas” and it helps a lot.
Thanks María for finding the time to answer our questions and sharing some of your Coworking knowledge!
You can find María and Magma Espacio Coworking Space online: