IWG races to catch up with demand – seeks African partners


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IWG Workspace

The market leader in flexible workspace and coworking environments in Africa and the world, seeks franchise partners in all countries across Africa, in exchange for the opportunity to invest in a high-growth industry and achieve exceptional returns on investment.

Finding the right partner is crucial to the success of any relationship. Especially true when the reputation of the world’s leading flexible workspace provider, IWG plc and its operating brands, including Regus and Spaces, is at play. Earlier this year, IWG pioneered their franchising program in Africa off the back of a global boom in flexible working. Following an exhaustive selection process, the first franchise centres have already opened in Angola, with Guinea, Djibouti, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia to follow and with more in the pipeline.

The flexible working industry is estimated to be growing by 24 percent each year. By 2020, 50 percent of all workers will be remote most of the time. In 2022, the global mobile workforce will be 1.87 billion people. Consequently, global real estate giant JLL estimates that up to 30 percent of corporate real estate could be flexible workspace by 2030, up from 5% today.

“Three in ten buildings on every inner-city street around the world could offer a new franchise opportunity in the coming years. The serviced office market is one of the most exciting growth markets in the world, and the next frontier for franchise operators. We are excited to partner with new franchise operators to bring the many benefits of flexible working to more people and businesses across Africa,” said Mo Nanabhay, Franchise Development Director of IWG Africa.

“We’ve seen great demand in Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, South Africa and Ghana in a short space of time,” says Nanabhay. “With advances in technology and an increase in urbanisation, flexible workspace is proving to be a growing reality. Flexibility is, in fact, becoming one of the key factors in assessing new career opportunities, as well as being a crucial element for companies to attract new customers.”

Here he shares four of the most important qualities they look for in a potential IWG Franchise Partner:

Be a champion of the brand

Nanabhay says, “It is important that prospective capital partners are passionate about the brand and the industry we operate in.

For over 30 years, IWG has been running successful workspaces, ever since it founded the industry in 1989. It has developed its business model through many economic cycles. Its operating model is proven, demonstrably successful and can provide partners with a highly attractive return on their investment. With brands like Regus and Spaces, IWG is the global operator of leading workspace providers with a network of over 3,400 centres in more than 1,100 cities and 120 countries.

All the more reason why franchisees need to sing from the same hymnal when it comes to the ethos of IWG brands like Regus and Spaces.

Become an industry expert or enthusiast

IWG, with its substantial experience in the industry, affords potential franchisees the benefit of gaining an in-depth understanding of ideal areas, market cycles, investment opportunity and the cost vs. benefit ratio of a franchised flexible working site as opposed to restrictive traditional leases.

“We provide our franchisees with full support in relation to their choice of location and everything else they need to succeed. Experience in running businesses (ideally multi-brand franchises) is more important than flexible working industry experience in this case,” Nanabhay says.

Have access to business resources

From human capital to the knowledge of how to run a business, you need to ensure that potential franchisees will be able to oversee the daily operation of the business.

“Our franchisees will be responsible for the operation of the business centres to ensure that the IWG brand quality is upheld. We come across possible franchisees who want to outsource the running of business centres, but flexible workspaces are a niche market and entail more than a quick fit out and adding a few desks and couches. Multi-brand franchise operators are the ideal candidates in the sense that they know what is expected and have a proven record in managing franchises,” Mo says.

Be financially secure and committed

The greatest challenge for any franchisor is ensuring that the candidate is fully capable of the financial commitment and has ease of access to funds. The same applies to IWG, who closely works with potential franchisees to ensure the partnership will be successful both for IWG and for the franchisee.

“Whether they are high net worth individuals, REIT’s or multi-brand franchise operators, we have found it important to make the potential partners part of the process and create goodwill. We want the relationship between IWG and the prospective franchisee to be a lasting and fulfilling one. That way we all win.”

If this sounds like an exciting opportunity, join our network and become part of the fast-growing workspace and coworking market.

About IWG 

IWG is the global operator of leading workspace providers, with brands to match every requirement and style, like Regus and Spaces.

Our companies help more than 2.5 million people and their businesses to work more productively. We do so by providing a choice of professional, inspiring and collaborative workspaces, communities and services. 

Digitalisation and new technologies are transforming the world of work. People want the personal productivity benefits of living and working how and where they want. Businesses want the financial and strategic benefits. Our customers are start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large multinationals. With unique business goals, people and aspirations. They want workspaces and communities to match their needs. They want choice. 

Through our portfolio of workspace brands we provide that choice, and serve the whole world of work: Regus, Spaces, HQ and Signature by Regus. We create personal, financial and strategic value for businesses of every size. From some of the most exciting companies and well-known organisations on the planet, to individuals and the next generation of industry leaders. All of them harness the power of flexible working to increase their productivity, efficiency, agility and market proximity. 

We’re reaching a tipping point. The workspace revolution is coming.