Building A Common Ground

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This article is part of a series exploring co-working spaces in Malaysia. Stay tuned to Smart Investor for more updates!

One of the most established co-working operators in the country, Common Ground Works Sdn Bhd has expanded aggressively since the launch of its first venue in Wisma UOA Damansara II, Bukit Damansara in March 2017, with its portfolio now comprising seven venues in strategic locations throughout Klang Valley.

“Aside from the millennial influence, I think what’s driving the uptake of co-working spaces is shifts in the way organisations view their accounting practices and financial structures. People are also looking for a much more enhanced experience in the workplace,” says Common Ground Works Co-founder Erman Akinci.

“Co-working operators tend to be cookie-cutter in approach, almost like a franchise model. They go into a country and import their look, feel, style and the way they run their communities. But because we started in Malaysia, we have a different set of USPs which really encapsulate the fact that we are a homegrown brand,” adds Common Ground Works Co-founder Juhn Teo.

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Teo (left) and Akinci: Common Ground plans to open five more venues across Klang Valley and Penang.

With regard to value-adds, the Common Ground team has invested significant effort over the past six months into building a  hyperlocalised value proposition. This comprises an extensive pool of local business partners, including accounting, marketing, HR, legal, tax and design specialists, the depth and breadth of which are enhanced by the operator’s agnostic approach to industry collaboration, with no prospective partners turned away.

This pool is positioned as a key resource for clients such as SMEs and start-ups to leverage on in growing their businesses. In addition, Common Ground actively fosters community interactions between its members through opportunities such as employment notices, job postings and more, which it has developed into a digital bulletin board of sorts, available through the Common Ground app.

Looking to the future, Common Ground will maintain its strong forward momentum with plans for the opening of five more venues across Klang Valley and Penang by year-end, including locations in Petaling Jaya, Mutiara Damansara and Mid Valley. Three venues currently under renovation in Manila, the Philippines, are slated to open this year as well.

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