Because it’s all about that startup philosophy.
Around 15 minutes from the airport and New Cairo, nestles CO-55, a co-working space that adopts the entrepreneurial philosophy quite literally; the barriers between some of its offices can easily be removed to fit in more members if a startup decides to grow its team.
CO-55 – which gets its name from its address (55 Makram Ebeid Street) – is co-founded by three twenty-something siblings, Norhan, Ahmed, and Farah Selim, who all come from a strong real estate background. “Over the last couple of years, the ecosystem in Egypt has been supported by the government, received many foreign investments and recognised by global market leaders in different industries,” Ahmed Selim tells Startup Scene.
The 1200-squared-meter co-working space has 20 private offices with sizes ranging from 10 to 30 squared meters, with a corresponding set of storage cabinets complimented with 20 lockers. When it's not bustling with events, the shared space between the "willpower" and "collaborate" walls is usually filled with hot desks waiting to be occupied with solo entrepreneurs and freelancers. Additionally, CO-55 offers one event room for rent, fitting up to 30 people. Moreover, the co-working space also houses three meeting rooms; two fitting up to five people and the big one fitting up to 12. Each room enjoys its own landline to ensure that WiFi connectivity is of high and smooth quality.
“It’s now a trend that big companies or multinationals choose to have their board meetings or have some workers located at a remote place,” Farah Selim tells Startup Scene. “There’s no better place than a co-working space that meets everyone’s needs with the exposure, business services, sense of community, and belonging.”
With a sense of individualism blended with the privilege of collectivism, CO-55 aspires to build a community of co-workers who share a common ground: growth. “The startup scene in Egypt is on the rise because Egyptian youth are now investing more time, effort and money into their own businesses rather than being employed in corporate,” Ahmed says. However, accommodation remains a problem for small entities. “The initial investment required to fully furnish a representable office is huge and comes with more liabilities. Therefore, co-working is tailored for startups to survive and thrive.”
Ahmed and his two sisters have built this leafy hub to potentially embrace a cohort that would represent a handful of different interrelated industries. The inviting interior allows CO-55’s tenants to exchange ideas, services, and even – on a larger scale - collaborate on projects, pushing them to grow together.
In collaboration with the interior design startup, TWOEMMS, CO-55 turned out to look even brighter than the renders sent to Startup Scene prior to the grand launch earlier in May. “We wanted something warm and inviting," says Norhan Selim. The Selim siblings wanted to break the norm of dull offices carrying no "lively" feel. When brainstorming, all they thought about was colours, greenery, and warm materials. "When we briefed the designers, they came back to us with the idea of using a fusion of raw materials such as wood, glass, marble, concrete, greens and paint in basic colors to experiment. This experimental design concept somehow resembles the lives of entrepreneurs, founders of SME's and startups who experiment a lot during their initial phases until reaching the best results."
With the inflation of land prices, co-working is on a mission to dominate administrative real estate. In fact, co-working spaces now takes up 2.5 million square feet of office space across the United States alone. "The future is to co-work without owning any assets and not wasting resources. CO-55 offers fully-serviced offices in different sizes to accommodate all startups and SMEs, providing them with all amenities to help them focus on the growth of their business," Ahmed concludes.
Photography: Ashraf Hamed
Videography: Ahmed Watany and Haleem Shaarani
Sign up for the daily Startup Digest.