With several coworking spaces humming throughout the Region, Kitchener-Waterloo has become a city full of opportunity to grow your career – especially as an entrepreneur.
While these spaces have predominantly focused on supporting businesses within the tech sector, downtown Kitchener has recently become home to a co-working institution called Workhaus, which intends to accommodate professionals from a wide array of industries.
“KW is unique in that there are a lot of tech start-ups surrounding us and while we are excited to welcome them, we believe the whole point of co-working is to have all kinds of industries under one roof. I hope we have all kinds of companies here, we’re not limiting at all,” said Adam Mawer, director of Workhaus KW.
Workhaus was launched in 2014 by a couple of serial entrepreneurs living in Toronto, who saw a need for an entrepreneurial space that offered the right policies and programming to support start-up businesses. Since then, they have opened ten locations throughout Toronto as well as one location in Calgary in addition to their new home in Kitchener.
“One thing that sets us apart [from other co-working spaces] is that we stress community above and beyond anything else. Internally, everything we do is in the best interest of our members so that they can grow personally and professionally,” Mawer said.
Depending on the level of membership purchased, a resident would have access to different amenities and spaces. At the base level, 24/7 access to a hot-desk in the main lounge is provided. Workhaus also offers dedicated desks and private offices for more invested members. That said, all members are invited to participate in the additional services they offer.
“One of the most important things to understand is the fact that the way we work is changing. Work is now more pervasive in our lives due to globalization and IOT. It’s much harder to turn off, and you have to have that counter-balance in your life,” Mawer said.
“That balance is hard to find … if we can bring that balance here through our workspace, programming and member socials, we think we can help entrepreneurs achieve that.”
Expanding into this community was an obvious choice for Workhaus, since it is full of resources for start-up businesses.
“You can look at the Waterloo Small Business Centre, Communitech, Waterloo EDC and even Google who offers a great deal of relevant programming. It makes sense that this city has the fastest growing ecosystem in Canada, and it makes sense for us to be here,” Mawer explained.
Additionally, Mawer is confident that this new Workhaus location will help to bridge the innovation corridor between Toronto-Waterloo, since their members can work out of their Toronto spaces if needed and vice-versa.
The building Workhaus has taken over was constructed along with the Kitchener Market. Interestingly, the big, beautiful infrastructure remained unoccupied for the past 11 years, collecting garbage and becoming an eyesore in a rather prominent area of the city.
“We’ve completely renovated the second floor and brought it up to code. Everything in the building is brand new and we’ve made the first floor a very open, bright space,” Mawer admired.
Eager to get involved with the local community and build relationships, Workhaus intends to occasionally open its doors as an event space with a capacity of 100 people. They look forward to testing out the space’s aptitude for events as they plan their grand opening on May 9.
“The grand opening will be invite-only due to our capacity, but we are very excited because it will be a celebration not only of Workhaus, but of all that Kitchener-Waterloo has to offer … everything we will be serving will be entirely locally sourced as well,” Mawer shared.
“The biggest thing to know about this location is that we want to be a part of the Kitchener community and we want to work with the entire ecosystem to help make this a special place to be.”