Young mum makes cash from quiet, shared workspaces
By Joackim Bwana | June 24th 2021
After giving birth to her second child, Cindy Ondego wanted a quiet working space away from home to concentrate on her projects, but she could not find one that suited her in Mombasa.
Feeling the need to interact and share ideas with other professionals pushed her to start a shared office named MombasaWorks.
“I got into this business because I didn’t have space to work from and being a mother of three young children, I was not really able to concentrate on my projects at home,” Ms Ondego says. “I also felt intellectually starved and needed people to talk to and help me think.”
The company offers affordable co-working office suites, meeting and conference space to independent or remote workers as well as small and big businesses.
Ondego says office space for new and small businesses is expensive and locks in a lot of cash considering tenants have to sign leases of up to six years, pay at least three months’ rent and deposit on utilities.
“We provide a landing pad for professionals and businesses transitioning into Mombasa,” she says.
The conservation management and international development professional says the role of the office is changing fast and is no longer just a place to work.
“MombasaWorks is a place for meaningful connections, meetings and chance encounters,” she says. “Although a lot of people initially build their businesses from home, sometimes the journey gets lonely and you require energy, motivation and inspiration from other entrepreneurs who can relate with you.”
At Sh16,000 a month, one gets a desk, internet access, four private meeting rooms, a printer and scanner, receptionist and unlimited water and hot beverages.
The place also has a lounge and a coffee bar. Ondego says where one meets with prospective client matters.
“We provide an alternative to noisy and less private environments such as coffee shops,” she says. “If you’re pitching for business, or establishing a relationship, it’s likely to reinforce your message if you meet in a smart and private meeting room.”
Ondego says Covid-19 has revealed to business owners how important it is to be flexible.
“If as a country we are trying to promote entrepreneurship, risk-taking and innovation, then there is need to provide services that are aligned with these objectives,” she says.
“The tricky part is finding a business model that is sustainable and profitable.”
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