Interviews

Finding Strength in Connectivity

Marc Navarro
Apr 14, 2020
Finding Strength in Connectivity
Faye Alund

Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí.

If you want read directly about the effects of COVID-19 on coworking in Indonesia please scroll to the COVID-19 Report.

After working for non-profit organizations like Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF, ​​Faye Alund wondered how she could get people in Indonesia to share their skills with their fellow citizens. “In 2014 I analyzed different business models: I was trying to find a way to find something that would allow me to have the same impact.” That’s when she discovered coworking. “At the time there was not much demand but I saw coworking as a way to create an ecosystem able to activate the community anywhere.”

Today Faye Alund is co-founder of Kumpul, Director of Ke {m} bali Innovation Hub and President of Coworking Indonesia. “ I live in Sanur (on the eastern coast of Bali), but our HQ is in Jakarta actually and KE{M}BALI is in Seminyak, South Bali.”

When you talk to Faye it is clear that everything is part of a plan, of a greater vision more than the sum of its parts. Faye wants to promoting entrepreneurship with programs like 1000startupdigital or Startup Weekend Indonesia. In this sense, coworking is an excuse, a way to bring all parties together and be a platform to improve the lives of the their members and the communities, because, after all, It was never about just improving what’s contained in four walls.

The network that Faye has woven contains different elements: Kumpul is the Hub that connects all the projects and creates the programs to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem. These programs (1000startupdigital and Startup Weekend Indonesia) are carried out not only in Ke {m} bali or in Ruang & Tempo, but these programs are available to any coworking space that wants to carry them out. The goal is to take them to all of Indonesia currently they have 50 partners in 24 cities.

To carry out all this, Faye is not alone; she has a team of 40 people who manage the spaces. Of these, 10–15 are those who work to develop the programs. The programs are supported by three ministries of the Indonesian government, the co-owner of these programs, as well as various private partners who also provide the project with the necessary funds to operate.

“One of the things we realized could be improved from Startup Weekend programs is what happens between the events: you must not forget that you are a coworking space, you must not forget that you are a community.” From that thought 1000startupdigital was born, a program that through training in soft skills seeks to improve the results of startups in Startup Weekends and in real life.

Faye’s vision is clear and direct: “Our strength is that we are super connected. The way to sell what you do is to sell the ecosystem you have created around you.” This clear, simple and direct way of tackling a value proposition (or the way of communicating it) I think deserves to be recognized.

“To make an impact, you need to talk to big sponsors, but luckily big companies have realized that content is everything.” And obviously when you have been doing a job that has produced an impact it is much easier for a great player to want to join the project than if you approach a large company or a public institution without any case of previous success. “Coworking spaces, continues Faye, can catalyze economic growth in the areas in which they are located, but for that they must have the will and resources to do so. What we have observed is that sometimes spaces do have the will to do so. But they lack the resources to develop a program that encourages local entrepreneurship and this is where we can help them with the programs that we are promoting. “

1000startupdigital Data
Startup Weekend Indonesia Data

COVID-19 Report

As president of the Coworking Indonesia association, Faye tells us about the coworking situation in Indonesia and how it’s affected by COVID-19.

“The government suggested that businesses close their doors for two weeks. Coworking Indonesia passed the government recommendation on to its members and we advised them to close for two weeks.”

Like most coworking spaces we are aware of, the spaces in Indonesia have focused on keeping the community connected and taking advantage of these moments to gain some skills. “During these two weeks the spaces have focused on doing skill sharing sessions, social streams, even online Zumba sessions!”

After the two weeks of closure Faye shares some measures that will be taken in their spaces. “The dimensions of our spaces make it easier for us to take steps how to override some chairs to increase the distance between people using the space.” Faye has also told us that in their spaces, memberships only represent 30% of income.

“Last Friday in a townhall we decided to cut wages by 25%. We only applied the measure to program manager positions upward so as not to harm the staff with lower salaries but it was a necessary measure to avoid layoffs. We also shared the policies and templates that we are using to communicate with our members to other coworking spaces.”

As for what the future holds, Faye explains us that many large and small companies are laying off a large part of the workforce: “We have heard from a large company based in Jakarta that has cut 75% of its workforce, to restaurants that they have ask their staff to take unpaid vacations while informing them that if they find another job they can take it without issue.” Faye continues: “if the situation lasts for two months, we will surely end the year without profits, if it lasts between four to six months, it will be more complex: I must assume the worst and be prepared to adapt to what may happen.”

We could not end this conversation in any other way than with the phrase that we found most inspiring, especially for moments like these: The role of coworking is to stir up the economy — let’s not forget that.


If you aren’t already using Cobot as your coworking management software, give it a go! You’ll find that our features can help you run your coworking space more effectively and grow your community. Just sign up for a free trial or a live demo session. And if you have questions, our support team is all ears!

Stay safe.

Marc Navarro

Coworking and organization consultant. Content Director of the CoworkingSpain Conference. Created the coworking with social return concept.