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Peter Vesterbacka speaking for a group of students in the We+ Cowork auditorium

Finding a suitable and affordable office for startups and micro companies is challenging. As the concept of the ”work cubicle” become out-dated and new solutions such as the coworking spaces emerge, services like We+ Cowork are at the forefront of the revolution.

We+ Cowork is one of the leading coworking space operators and business acceleration communities founded in China. The company has already expanded to nearly 20 cities across the world, including San Francisco, Shanghai, Beijing, and recently Helsinki.

The first thing you notice as you enter the We+ Cowork co-working space at the old Cable Factory is the minimalist, albeit trendy design. Large windows outlooking the Ruoholahti bay offer a striking and soothing view– feng shui at its finest. 

As I enter the co-working space I am greeted by Wei Xue, from We+ Cowork Europe, who walk me through the trendy space. “Our service is the answer to needs of startup founders, remote workers, or freelancers based in the Helsinki area, says Wei. “Here they can join a coworking space, rent a shared desk, or have their dedicated office in a collaborative workspace.” The advantages of joining a coworking space, which advocates a work-life balance, include growing your network, cutting your costs and increasing your productivity. In addition to the space in Helsinki, the company has further expansion ambitions in Finland. A smaller facility in Vuokatti was launched recently. Vuokatti is a popular winter destination in northern Finland. The Vuokatti facility is perfect for those staying at a ski resort but finding themselves needing to devote some time to work. 

Cable Factory is the largest cultural building in Europe

The Synergy of We+ Cowork and the Cable Factory 

Helsinki natives consider the Cable Factory to be synonymous with culture. The building which used to be a cable factory for Nokia up until 1987, today is the largest creative hub in Europe and the largest cultural centre in Finland. The building was built between 1939 and 1954 and consists of a range of three-, five- and seven-story blocks. It houses 3 museums, 11 galleries, dance theatres, art schools, artists, bands and companies. The Factory also hosts Arctic15, a startup event in the spirit of Slush held annually around the end of May. The Factory is very centrally located in the Ruoholahti business district with excellent public transportation options. The newly renovated We+ Cowork offices and community spaces can be found on the second floor above Hima & Sali restaurant. Wei takes the opportunity to point out the popularity of the restaurant. 

As a commercial company, We+ Cowork is a slight anomaly in the makeup of the Cable Factory tenants. “We chose the Factory predominantly for it’s central location”, Wei discloses. They could not have chosen a more idyllic locale. Current customers have noted that one of the benefits of the environment is the tangible creative spirit that resides at the Factory. Tenants can take well-deserved breaks and immerse themselves in the appreciation of art.

The Benefits of Coworking Spaces and Collaborative Workspaces

The benefits of coworking spaces and collaborative workspaces are undeniable. Those seeking to get inspired and connect with like-minded individuals in a creative coworking space, need to look no further. Customers, and in particular freelancers, using the space in Helsinki have commented on the significance of the community aspect. The mutual interactions between customers are considered useful and small companies and freelancers generally benefit from the contacts they make at the space. 

We+ Cowork is a testament to how powerful and effective word of mouth truly is.  Wei points out that bringing We+ Cowork to Finland was a project in which, most notably, Peter Vesterbacka actively participated in. Vesterbacka is a prominent name in the gaming industry largely due to the success of Rovio and Angry Birds.

The workspace also has excellent facilities for clients wishing to hold events. The trendy open auditorium with the inbuilt sitting area is where Vesterbacka himself recently held a keynote speech for an audience of around 100 attendants.

One of the co-working rooms

We+ Cowork Accommodates the Needs of Gaming Developers

Gaming developers in particular, will be glad to hear that We+ Cowork offers a separate space for developers. The focused space, dedicated to the developers, is found on a separate floor at the Factory. Developers make their way up the rustic stairs and through a corridor decorated with various art portraits. The space, with its distinctive interior design, also includes a room known as the ”black hole”. Despite the ominous name and the pitch-black sound insulation on the walls, the room is far from sinister. Instead, developers can expect a conveniently soundproofed room that allows them to perform necessary testing.  

Gateway to the Chinese Market

We+ Cowork is has a clear added value: a portal to the Asian market. Wei emphasises that though the space in Finland welcomes all, those with a specific interest in China are likely to value the services even more.

We+ Cowork is, therefore, an obvious choice for those interested in the Chinese market as the company helps businesses with ambitions to expand to China.  Customers benefit from We+ Cowork’s Chinese network, colleagues, and contacts in China. For example, Transfluent, a company with extensive experience in translations form and to Chinese has its headquarters here. 

In order to help customers in Finland to understand how business is done in China, a weekly event titled ”China for Beginners” was initiated recently. “The event encompasses a wide range of topics and educates and prepares those interested in the business culture in China,” Wei explains. The event, held on Thursdays, is free for everyone to attend. 

Windows from the kitchen open to the Baltic Sea

No commitment needed

Wei concluded by telling me that another advantage of We+ Cowork is the flexibility the company offers. Customers are not tied into long contracts as the company prides itself on understanding the reality start-ups and small companies are in. We+ Cowork recognises that changes come often and quickly and therefore offers a one-month notice time for clients. 

A desk and chair, Internet connection, coffee and tea, printer and paper, and the possibility of reserving meeting rooms are all included for a monthly fee.  Soundproof “phone booths” are also available for having a relaxed and private phone conversation.

We+ Cowork is located at:

Tallberginkatu 1C 2nd floor,

00180 Helsinki

 

Helsinki Times

Jagoda Sekular

Images: We+

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