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Startups in the Philippines find new home in co-working spaces

Adrian M. Reodique | Sept. 13, 2017
The notion of workplaces for startups and nomad freelancers has expanded since 2011 when the concept of co-working space was first introduced.

Penbrothers also set a fixed price for their services, which saves owners from the stress of fluctuating costs of water and electricity.

Bianca Natola, managing director of local digital agency GetSocial who has been renting from Penbrothers for a year now, commented: "What is good about the space is that it keeps us very nimble and flexible because we don't have to worry about administrative or operational things that we used to worry in traditional offices like internet connection, water, and electricity. We don't have to think of these things, giving us more time to devote to actually grow."


Promoting a collaborative environment

To create a vibrant work atmosphere, Penbrothers' offices are adorned with eclectic designs and furnishings - from graffiti walls, colour field paintings, pendant lights to multi-shaped tables, multi-colour lounge and bean bag chairs.

This environment attracted IBIM 3D, a supplier of 3D modelling and 3D draft services for mining and infrastructure companies in Australia, to scratch its original plan of having a work-from-home set up.

"Everyone likes to work together, to exchange ideas and be progressive. The atmosphere here in the office is not stiff; it's very funky, and creative. I think everyone enjoys being here rather than working from home and just calling each other up on the phone. I think everyone enjoys the personal interaction within the office," said Darren Goldsbrough, director of IBIM 3D. The company has been renting from Penbrothers for two months now.

In addition, Penbrothers' offices are open 24/7, enabling startup owners to offer a flexible working schedule to their employees. "Making sure your office is open 24/7 for them to use is one of the things that is very important right now, especially for millennials," said Trance.

Penbrothers also organises activities where tenants can gather and get to know each other. On every first Friday of the month, the pantry in every office is transformed to an event space where employees get to drink beer and eat together. They also espouse Filipinos' love for singing through karaoke sessions.

On other Friday nights, they hold Tekken Tag competitions, poker tournaments, card and board games. The company also invites fruit vendors around the city to sell their products to the employees for some 'Fruity Fridays'.

"Here, in Penbrothers, we value the community. We don't want them to feel like they're all working here but they don't know each other. So we came up with events where they can mingle, discuss, and get to know each other," said Bryan Hosingco, marketing and community manager at Penbrothers.

These events also help startups meet potential clients. "I'm able to meet different people from the startup industry and also potential clients so it's really good being in this environment where everyone speaks the same language. We can also help each other through the networks that we have and through the knowledge that we share with each other," said Natola.


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