With over 2,500 venues around the world, a massive increase compared to just a few years ago, coworking spaces are here to stay. Known for providing an inclusive, creative environment, along with being ideal for networking and small business events, it’s no wonder why the number of startups and freelance professionals choosing to call coworking spaces home is on the rise.
Talent Garden is no exception to the trend. Since being founded in 2011, the Italian venture has become a brand name in Europe with ten locations across the continent, and is looking to expand into new markets.
The company’s Co-Founder, Davide Dattoli took the time to answer some of our questions regarding his journey from one location in his native Italy to running a global franchise, along with his vision for the future of the brand, and coworking as a whole.
Tell us about Talent Garden. What were your main goals when beginning this venture?
When I started this adventure in 2011 in Brescia, a small city in the north of Italy, my vision was to bring talented professionals within the digital and creative sectors together in one space; to foster an atmosphere of collaboration, where individuals and startups could help each other’s businesses to grow.
This remains the main goal of Talent Garden (TAG) today. Now we have over 10 campuses across Europe and we are opening five more, connecting people not only on a local level, but also internationally.
What can coworking offer a new startup, or aspiring entrepreneur which the traditional office lacks?
Usually, an office environment gives you a circle of colleagues and basic facilities; that’s it. In a coworking space you have the whole ecosystem under one roof – startups, agencies, freelancers, companies, journalists and even investors. What’s more, you don’t have to go far to find after-work activities or some ‘skills help’, because you have access to events, courses, partner offers and even other campuses, what makes it easier when travelling for work.
Since being founded in 2011 you’ve branched out around the world. Tell us about how that development has been for the brand.
Our brand is built around a desire to help each campus as a whole, which involves moving beyond the geographical boundaries of the space and even the city where the campus is located. We go out, scout for new opportunities to involve different players, and help to facilitate innovation, so a global vision is of paramount importance to us.
In terms of coming growth, what new markets are you hoping to reach?
We are now mainly looking at the CEE regions and Africa. We think that our expertise within the Italian ecosystem can make a real difference in these markets, which are already growing fast right now. It’s important for us to expand into regions where people have a need for international reach to help bring out their ideas.
Talent Garden campuses also host numerous events. How important are those to what you’re looking to achieve?
Events are one of the key parts of our business. They provide a platform for people to meet, share and learn, and from this we believe great things can happen.
As a successful entrepreneur, what advice can you give to someone looking to grow the coworking scene in their own city?
I have seen many beautifully designed coworking spaces fail because the founders were unsure about how to run them or did not have a clear picture of what true coworking is. The secret is to make people feel like they are part of something bigger, providing motivation, and offering real growth opportunities.
It is also of great value for the coworking founders to be part of a larger network, rather than a single locale, offering global as well as local opportunities for each member. The most common mistake is to think of the space purely in terms of ownership. Don’t. Remember that innovation is rarely generated alone, and it is the connectedness of coworking which makes the real difference.
To conclude is there anything you’d like our readers to know about Talent Garden, maybe some news for the future?
The big news is that we have just announced our plans to build 50 campuses by 2018. This is a huge challenge for our team, but also an exciting roller coaster ride and a positive shift in our work-life culture that lies ahead. We will work tirelessly for the next years to reach this goal, and I’m certain that our energy, passion and drive will make it happen!