Lebanon Businessnews News

Bader and MIT launch
workspace for startups
Sursock Palace hosts Coworking +961
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The MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan Arab Region and the Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program have launched Coworking +961, a mutual working venue for startups in the information and communications technology (ICT) field. Robert Fadel, founder of Bader, and his spouse Hala Fadel, Chairperson of MIT Enterprise, were originally behind this initiative.

The venue is hosted within the guest house of the Sursock Palace in Ashrafieh.

The Coworking +961 concept involves leasable desks for startups. Tenants benefit from access to all shared facilities including a studio, a garage, a meeting room, and a lounge, along with high-speed Internet and other administrative facilities.

The venue aims to offer entrepreneurs, investors, and startups a space to connect, network, and exchange expertise. Tenant startups will also have access to funding, as they will be introduced to venture capitals and angel investors.

Catherina Ballout, Chief Doer at the MIT Enterprise Forum for Arab Startups competition, said that interested startups are mainly from high-tech fields. Three startups (Zoomal, e-Club, and Natasawak) are already tenants. Monthly rates start from $220 per person for a working space in a common area, $500 for a permanent desk for two persons, and $900 for a 'garage' workspace.

Coworking +961 differs from conventional incubators. “In incubators, each tenant rents an office and desks, and works on his own project; whereas in our space, tenants will be able to work together and share experiences and ideas, and will therefore develop better projects,” Ballout said.

The project won’t be limited to the local market. In time the concept will tap Arab markets too, said Ballout: “Later on, we will be studying a 'Coworking +971' space in the UAE for example.”
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Jul 08, 2013
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