To unlock the potential of businesses, AfricaWorks has provided a transformative ecosystem in the form of workspaces, business services and visibility for start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and multinationals to convert opportunities into real projects, value, and jobs across Africa.
It is challenging for businesses – especially SMEs – to form partnerships, work collaboratively with other industry players, or expand into new markets since they typically operate from a single small office location, garage, or even in some cases no specific location. When this happens, trust and security of investment cannot be ensured.
However, AfricaWorks – a leading provider of pan-African co-working spaces – is opening its third workspace in Accra to allow businesses to use its facilities to spur growth.
It believes this will help businesses to own world-class office space, have an office address, administrative staff and professional consultants, and get access to a vast global network.
In an interview with the B&FT, Managing Director-AfricaWorks Ghana & East Africa, Josephine Doegah, said her outfit is confident a supportive and empowering workspace is the catalyst businesses and entrepreneurs need to achieve their goals and bring their ideas to life.
“The third will be fully operational in the next 3 months on the premises of Kempinski Hotel. AfricaWorks already has two locations within the Airport Residential Area and Airport City, therefore this third location will enable us to be more accessible and strategically-positioned in the key business areas across Accra.
“This is ideal for our third AfricaWorks in Accra due to its proximity to the traditional central business district, i.e. Accra Central. This traditional business district has the headquarters of several organisations located there, as well as the ministries and other governmental agencies that I am confident are prospective Africaworks clients. Also, the fact is that some of our potential clients conduct business with these agencies and therefore prefer to be closer to them.
“Typical indigenous office spaces are not inspiring or motivating enough, resulting in burnout; however, AfricaWorks provides not only a workspace but a complete ecosystem of a serene, comfortable, luxurious and conducive work environment that nurtures great business ideas – hence success for my cherished clients,” she noted.
Ms. Doegah emphasised that locations can kill or make a business, hence it is imperative that one identifies the right ones.
This, she said, has influenced AfricaWorks’ locations in Accra, and its positive impact on businesses will be realised by potential clients.
“As Managing Director it is one of my key responsibilities, and this is not done haphazardly. It takes knowledge of the market and industry, years of experience and knowledge of the areas as well as an analytical mind based on demand to make this decision.
“We have exciting plans for the Accra market that will be brought to light within the next six to nine months. We are on track to becoming a leading player in the co-working industry. The company’s mission to unlock Africa’s potential through work is evident in the effort put into ensuring its entry into the Ghanaian market is successful,” she indicated.
Readers can now enjoy the full text of the sit-down interview with the managing director
Q: Can you give us a brief overview of AfricaWorks and its mission?
Answer: AfricaWorks is the leading pan-African co-working space provider that was founded in August 2019 by CEO Gregoire Schwebig in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Since then, it has rapidly expanded to other major African capitals including Cape Town, Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, Lusaka and Dakar, with a mission to unlock Africa’s potential through work.
At AfricaWorks, we believe that a supportive and empowering workspace can be the catalyst for businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals and bring their ideas to life. That’s why we provide a transformative ecosystem in the form of workspaces, business services and visibility for start-ups, SMEs and multinationals to convert opportunities into real projects, real value and real jobs across Africa.
We offer a range of products and services within each of our spaces – including meeting and boardrooms, private offices, shared offices, virtual offices and administrative and business support services. Our aim is to create a flexible and dynamic environment where businesses can thrive and reach their full potential.
In summary, AfricaWorks is more than just a co-working space. We are a pan-African brand on a mission to unlock Africa’s potential through work.
In Ghana, AfricaWorks began its journey in Accra in 2020 with the first being opened at Volta Place in Airport Residential Area. Shortly after that, in April 2022, the second was opened at Stanbic Heights. Clearly, the business has been very successful in the country – as at the moment both centres are at a combined occupancy of 80% and still growing. The third will be fully operational in the next 3 months on the premises of Kempinski Hotel.
Q: What are some of the challenges AfricaWorks has faced in Ghana since entering the market?
Answer: Entering any new market comes with its own set of challenges, and AfricaWorks in Ghana was no exception. Initially, the brand had low recognition among prospective clients; and this was a challenge as they were more familiar with established players in the market. To overcome this, AfricaWorks was strategic in its approach by hiring an experienced market expert, myself, to lead the charge in breaking into the Accra market. I then assembled a talented and motivated all-female team.
To increase brand-awareness and recognition, AfricaWorks implemented a comprehensive marketing plan that included a major launch event, which was covered by the Business Financial Times of Ghana and a local television station. Digital marketing was also a key aspect of the plan, and was executed efficiently by the marketing team.
As a result of these efforts, AfricaWorks is quickly becoming a household name in Ghana and is on track to becoming a leading player in the co-working industry. The company’s mission to unlock Africa’s potential through work is evidenced by the efforts put into ensuring its entry into the Ghanaian market is successful.
Q: Do locations play a role in your expansion plans? Explain how…
Answer: Locations can kill or make this business, so it’s imperative that we identify the right ones. As the Managing Director, it is one of my key responsibilities and this is not done haphazardly. It takes knowledge of the market and industry, years of experience and knowledge of the areas as well as an analytical mind based on demand, etc. to make this decision.
Q: Kindly take us through your various locations. Are they priced the same?
Answer: As I mentioned earlier, we are currently operating from two locations in Accra, the 4th Floor Volta Place in the Airport Residential Area and the 4th Floor of Stanbic Heights in Airport City.
AfricaWorks has a specific look and feels that this is evident across all our spaces – not only in Accra but across Africa, which is paramount; so even though we aim at catering to a wide range of prospective clients and our centres range from budget to standard to premium, we do not depart from this minimum expectation that differentiates us from our competitors and is loved by our clients.
Q: What is your next project?
Answer: Aside from the Kempinski project that I already mentioned which is underway, I would like to say that’s our secret! It’s not the best idea to give away all our plans to our competitors! All I will share is that we have exciting plans for the Accra market which will be brought to light within the next six to nine months.
Q: Kempinski sounds interesting! Tell us more about this new project!
Answer: AfricaWorks already has two locations within the Airport Residential Area and Airport City, therefore this third location will enable us to be more accessible and strategically positioned in the key business areas across Accra.
Also, this is ideal for our third AfricaWorks in Accra due to its proximity to the traditional central business district, i.e. Accra central. It’s perfect in the sense that it’s not exactly caught up in the hustle and bustle of congestion in that area, but is close enough to be considered a part of it. This traditional business district has the headquarters of several organizations located there as well as the ministries and other governmental agencies that I am confident are prospective Africaworks clients. Also the fact is that some of our potential clients conduct business with these agencies, and therefore prefer to be closer to them.
The other advantage of this location is the fact that it’s on the third floor of The Galleria Mall on the grounds of 5-star Luxury Kempinski Hotel, which I refer to as a prestigious landmark. Our intention is to tap into the hotel’s high-net-worth business clients who are typically in the country for investment purposes.
This AfricaWorks will be of premium level, and some of the products and services will be tailored to fit specific needs of the clientele.
Q: What image would you want people to see when they talk about AfricaWorks and your next project as a whole?
Answer: AfricaWorks has set the bar in terms of services provided to our esteemed clients: a state-of-the-art workspace that takes into account other aspects of business such as networking within the spaces.
Typical indigenous office spaces are not inspiring or motivating enough, resulting in burnout and stressful feelings that employees tend to feel; however, AfricaWorks provides not only a workspace but a complete ecosystem of a serene, comfortable, luxurious, and conducive work environment that nurtures great business ideas, hence success for my cherished clients.
Q: Where do you see AfricaWorks in Accra over the next 2- 5 years?
Answer: A leader in this industry that has overtaken its competitors in all aspects – such as products and client base in terms of size and calibre, and achieved high business sustainability.
AfricaWorks will be able to serve its clients in all key locations in Accra, and possibly beyond into other cities of the country depending on the demand.
Q: Who are your targets?
Answer: Generally I would say all businesses including retail shops, stores, factories, restaurants and the like are fair game – grouped as SMEs, multinationals and start-ups, etc.
Q: Can you share a short list of your clients?
Answer: Car manufacturing companies such as Toyota Manufacturing, Volkswagen and Hyundai have passed through our doors. Fintechs including Paystack etc.; Construction companies like Quadrant and Colas Afrique; Call centres such as Majorel; NGOs including Viola Ford Fletcher; Human Resource companies; L’oreal; Oriflame; Oil and gas companies, etc. are just a few of our prestigious clients.
Q As a successful woman, what advice would you give to young ladies with ambitions but do not know how to nurture them to be successful?
Answer: This is a very passionate topic for me. Personally, I have not achieved all I desire in terms of my career; but am very grateful to be where I am despite all the hurdles I’ve had to overcome.
Ambitious young ladies, to be honest, are already half-way to being successful as the desire exists within them; therefore, all that needs to be done is position themselves in situations and learn to identify the smallest opportunities which may arise.
They must position themselves with the right crowd of individuals who are equally like-minded, identify their passion, work hard and stay focused on the goal of being successful.