As the co-founder of MySpace Coworking, one of the leading flexible office providers in Morocco, Redwan Belhadri wanted to create a space that is filled with light, life, and energy. The coworking space, which is located in eastern Morocco in Oujda and is the first of its kind in the region, was established out of necessity after Belhadri struggled to find an office rental that suited his expectations.
Learn more about the founding of MySpace Coworking and what the Moroccan coworking market is like in our latest interview.
How did you first discover coworking?
MySpace Coworking was created out of necessity after a long and tiring experience of moving around the city from an office to another. There was always something missing or something I wanted to change about the office I was renting, so my partner Zakaria El Akkaf and I decided to build our ideal space to work from. We wanted to create a space that inspires us, that has enough daylight, that has life and energy in it, and that gives members the flexibility and comfort they’ve always wanted in a workspace.
When did the market for coworking first become popular in Morocco?
From non-official resources, the first coworking space in Morocco opened its doors in 2012. Regarding the growth of the market, we started to notice more popularity in the last three or four years, mostly in the big touristic cities like Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, and Tangier.
Casablanca in particular is where the most coworking spaces are located, including independent ones (which make up the majority) and franchises like Regus. Rumor has it that Wework was planning to open a new location in Morocco as well before the scandal with its former CEO Adam Neumann.
What are the key characteristics of the coworking sector in Morocco on the whole?
I think like most coworking spaces around the world, operators in Morocco or in Africa like to define themselves as incubators for startups, especially the independent ones. However, this is not the case with MySpace Coworking, as we don’t want to fall into that cliché.
We are more dedicated to the spirit of coworking and the networking opportunities our space presents, helping each other grow, mentoring our community, and just guiding our members through their journey as much as possible. We also believe it’s important to recommend experts from our professional circle when our members need something outside of our areas of expertise.
What insights can you share about Morocco’s coworking operations? Has business been impacted this past year in a significant way?
Like any other industry, coworking spaces have been greatly affected because of the pandemic, as people weren’t really sure what’s happening especially in the beginning. But after a few months when people started to get used to the pandemic (humans are great creatures — they learn how to adapt, survive, and live with any type of circumstances), things started to get back to normal, with many new precautions put in place.
How has COVID-19 affected your operations at MySpace?
We opened our doors in February 2020 one month before the lockdown in Morocco, which was enacted in March 2020, so we don’t really have a pre-COVID experience. Our business is growing slowly for this reason and because the coworking model is still new in our city and the country as a whole. In that regard, there is plenty of homework for us to do to explain and expand the concept.
What are your predictions for coworking in 2021?
The coworking industry isn’t going anywhere and will still evolve in the future, especially since remote work is gaining more popularity. This means that many more people will adopt the idea of working from a coworking spaces as an alternative option to working from home. Since many companies will look to cut costs post-pandemic, I think coworking hubs will prove to be their best economic choice.