Vassilis Bazinis, the Country Manager for UAE and Oman at Regus speaks about the startup ecosystem in the region and his company’s offerings for entrepreneurs
Tell us about Regus’ offerings in the region.
Regus has been in the region for over 17 years and offers ideal workplace solutions for almost any size company – whether a single entrepreneur setting up a business, a small team startup, or a global corporation as large as Google, Microsoft, and Dell. We have been at the forefront of the workplace revolution globally because we understand the requirements and are able to meet the needs of businesses today.
Our Regus business centres across the region offer options that include:
Serviced Offices – providing a productive, flexible and cost-efficient work environment, with full and part-time workspaces that can be fully personalized to reflect the brand or culture of each business.
Co-working Space – that are often used by start-ups and micro businesses. Our cost-efficient collaboration spaces offer individual workstations within an open-plan, professional business environment.
Business Package – that include a professional address for your business, a local telephone number with call handling and message management, as well as mail collection and forwarding services anywhere in the world. Used by all types and sizes of businesses especially those looking to enter new markets in a low-cost, low-risk way.
Meeting Rooms – that are customizable and conveniently located in a dedicated business environment. They are cost-efficient and flexible and can be booked by the hour, not just by the day.
Business Lounges – that offer unrivaled convenience for our members needing to stay productive on the move and between meetings. Comfortable, well-equipped workspaces with dedicated support teams, access to secure Wi-Fi, print, scan, copy and refreshment facilities.
Businessworld – our signature global membership scheme gives customers instant access to any one of our 3,000 business centres worldwide. The ultimate in productive mobile working, with more than a million members.
What is the USP of Regus’ offerings compared to the competition?
Regus is the number one global workplace provider, offering working environments to suit any business structure and size. We pioneered flexible working almost 30 years ago and now lead the world in helping companies requiring flexibility for their business and their people.
Our global network of 3,000 business centres in over 100 countries makes it easier for businesses of any size to succeed by working in new and more productive ways. Enterprises also get access to our connected network of business centres, giving them a dedicated place to work. We provide a convenient, high-quality, fully resourced space and highly flexible space to work, whether they need it for an hour, a day or for as long as they need.
How big is the startup community in the region? How can co-working locations benefit them?
The startup community in the region grows every day. Driven by the economic reality of the population growing at a faster rate than there are new jobs being created, entrepreneurialism has become critical across the Middle East and Northern Africa.
If we look at the challenges startups face, the biggest ones are managing their capital expenditure, managing their growth, and maximising productivity. They are all challenges for which Regus is perfectly equipped to address.
Not being locked into a long-term lease for expensive office space is the first way to keep capital expenditure to a minimum. At Regus, we offer total flexibility regarding length of the lease. Other operating costs such as cleaning, maintenance, servicing, and full-time administrative staff are also removed from the operational costs for startups working from Regus business centres.
In terms of managing growth, as a startup, you don’t always know how fast you’re going to expand and how much space you’ll need. Taking too much before you need it can prove unnecessarily costly while taking too little and having to move offices adds just as much additional strain. Regus allows you to expand your workspace requirements easily and quickly as you grow.
The third major challenge for startups is using their time as productively as possible – working in a comfortable well-equipped workspace, having access to the latest IT infrastructure, and benefitting from administrative services frees up time to work on your core business.
Of course, flexible and collaborative spaces also encourage networking, knowledge exchange and potential business opportunities with other like-minded entrepreneurs working in Regus centres.
What according to you are the top five things that entrepreneurs need to look at before selecting a co-working environment?
We’ve mentioned a few already, but the five most important elements to consider when choosing your working environment are:
Find a flexible workspace that gives you the flexibility of choosing when, where and how you work, whilst not being tied into a long-term lease.
Look for a co-working space that can provide administrative services to save you time so that you can concentrate on your business.
Proximity to central business districts, a good address for your business card, and ease of access for you, your staff, and clients is important.
Ensure the co-working space offers flexible packages that allow you to expand or reduce your package as your business changes. Check whether the packages include hot-desking space based on a first come, first served basis? Do their packages include permanent desk space with your own phone line? Do their packages include facilities that allow you to print, scan and courier?
Entrepreneurs of today must think globally and the right choice of co-working space can make this immediately. With workplace solutions providers like Regus, you get access to a global network that allows you to connect with businesses from around the world, to have a workplace in whatever city you’re visiting and to have a base for meetings.
How are co-working spaces better than virtual offices / shared offices / hot desks provided by most free zones in this market?
This really depends on what business license you’re trading under. There are significant differences between co-working spaces located onshore and others located in free zones, in terms of legality. Regus has made it really simple for startups by opening a dual license business centre at the Dubai World Trade Centre, to better serve the business community, no matter where they are licensed.