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The Cobot team is proud to highlight the vibrant, diverse, and remarkable Latin American coworking scene. This series of articles uncovers the character of coworking across the American continents.
Coworking in Argentina
Capital: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (CABA)
Population: City (CABA) 2.9M / Gran Buenos Aires (metropolitan area) 13.5M *
Number of coworking spaces *: 62 in Buenos Aires / 100 in Argentina *
Average monthly coworking rate *: $57 USD/month (ARS 2.091/month)
We talked about coworking with Paul Iribarne, the founder of Céspedes Coworking Space in Buenos Aires. Céspedes was founded in 2011, which makes it one of the first coworking spaces in Argentina.
Céspedes coworking is one of the first spaces born with the goal of developing a sustainable company based on values that are closely related to coworking, such as trust, collaboration and respect, with a diverse community. Today they continue to maintain that vocation and continue in their original location, the old factory of Revlon, in the neighborhood of Colegiales in Buenos Aires. Almost two years ago, they also moved to a loft with two floors in the building where he was born.
Do you think there’s a common LATAM coworking scene, or there are different markets?
In the largest cities of Latin America, coworking spaces are starting to coexist that have very different scales and styles, from independent spaces to large-scale companies that are present in many cities. There is something for everyone and that is positive.
What is the status of coworking in your city and your country? Do you have to do a lot of education around the term “coworking”, or are people familiar with the concept?
In Buenos Aires coworking is growing a lot. New spaces are appearing every, with a great diversity of styles and approaches. Today the sector is much more well-known than in 2010, when the first spaces started out, but there is still a long way to go and for many people it is still a novel subject. At the same time, more and more companies are becoming interested in the sector, not just small groups or independent professionals.
What makes the coworking community in your country special? What are the challenges for operating a coworking space in your country?
One of the challenges is to position and differentiate yourself within a context with a growing offer, mainly in Buenos Aires. On the other hand, for the past several years Argentina has had an average annual inflation of around 40%. This — besides being crazy in itself — makes it very difficult to “educate” in this new market through stable prices that would allow us to put the focus more on the service and the environment (intangibles that are key and what is most valued at the end of the day). The permanent adjustment of prices, related to the inflation, means that there is a constant drive to compare costs between coworking and other options. There is not sufficient importance given to proving that coworking is an investment not only because of the impact on labor (which is very specific), but also in terms of improving of quality of life in general. The vast majority of people who try coworking (in our experience) recognize the value of this investment. The challenge is to communicate this in these times.
What does Coworking mean to you personally?
For me, it means sharing a workspace with other professionals and groups, within a framework of values and guidelines with which I feel comfortable, where each person recognizes that they have a quota of responsibility to care for and nurture the environment that they value.
Do you have a favorite coworking experience you’d like to share with us?
I love when people who don’t know each other connect socially or through their work, and that happens often. In a rather incredible case, a graphic designer who was a client of a foreign online company that focused on development for the world of design discovered that the owner of that company (a Frenchman who lived in Buenos Aires) was sitting in front of him.
Which are your three favorite spaces in your country beside yours?
(What is a question we have forgotten to ask you and what is your answer?)
What would you recommend to someone who is interested in coworking?
That they should try it! There are many options with all kinds of offers, and it is important to take the time to look for the right environment where you are the most comfortable. I do not think coworking is for everyone, because there are people who work very well from home, in bars, or in their own office. But for many people, coworking is is a very powerful solution for their work, and for their life in general.
We like good coworking in all shapes and sizes. If you visit Buenos Aires and you want to try coworking in its pure state, Céspedes is without a doubt a great choice.
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