WeWork is offering subsidised work spaces to Australian startups through a new community initiative intended to help turbocharge the tech sector, post-pandemic.
The WeWork Growth Campus will see the global co-working giant offer subsidised work spaces and mentoring to startups to the tune of $8 million.
It has already rolled out the scheme in the UK, and attracted more than 800 signups in the first six months.
Residents will also have access to WeWork Labs, which offers access to online mentoring and coaching opportunities, as well as access to a global community of members. The scheme also promises live education sessions and on-demand learning opportunities.
In Australia, spaces will be available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
To be eligible, a startup must: be less than five years old; looking to scale internationally; have fewer than 20 employees; and be either bootstrapped with a turnover of $100,000 or more, or have funding up to and including Series A-stage.
Accelerator or incubator programs may also be eligible if their core service is to help startups grow and — if they’re cohort based — if they support a minimum of five startups per cohort.
Venture capital funds, investment funds, syndicates and individual investors can also apply, as long as they’re actively investing in Australia.
Finally, social impact or not-for-profit enterprises are eligible, but must support communities in developing STEM skills, facilitate employment in startups, or help build entrepreneurial skills.
The Growth Campus is also about resource-sharing and partnerships, according to the WeWork website. Participants are invited to contribute mentorship, education, brand or engagement, exclusive services and community enhancing events.
In a statement, Monica Wulff, head of WeWork Labs for Australia, Southeast Asia and South Korea, said WeWork has played an “integral role” in the growth strategies of many startups and small businesses.
“As COVID-19 continues to impact the economy and disrupt the way we work, we saw the need to offer a network and workspace designed to help businesses thrive,” she said.
As the economy across Australia starts to recover, Wulff suggested more businesses will be considering what their workspace looks like, and how it can be used “to advance productivity, collaboration and creativity”.
According to Wulff, the WeWork Growth Campus is about strength in numbers.
“Founders know that building a business isn’t a solo endeavour,” she said.
“Through subsidised workspace, virtual mentoring, customised education and access to our global network of members, we can provide more to help startups grow and kickstart this sector.”