We believe coworking is at a growth inflection point and the number of U.S. and global coworking facilities will substantially increase over the next 5 years. A key reason for this growth forecast is the recognition of coworking's value as a driver of business acceleration, job creation and economic development.
Business incubators and accelerators, for example, are starting to add coworking options to their facilities. A good example is VT KnowledgeWorks, Viriginia Tech's business acceleration center. Their JumpStart community program is designed to provide coworking facilities to "freelancers looking to escape a home-office or no-office situation."
Another example is General Assembly, a business accelerator that functions very much like a coworking facility with one major distinction - membership is by invitation only. Cooltown Studios, one of my favorite blogs, has an excellent article on General Assembly and its $200,000 grant from New York City's economic development agency. Key quote from the article:
"What makes General Assembly so significant is that it represents how coworking has finally been recognized by a city as serious job creation."
Just as incubators have discovered coworking, so have economic development groups. Arizona's Gangplank, for example, is working with local economic development groups to add new facilities across Arizona.
Also from Arizona is Launch Pad Prescott, which has close ties to the local government. One of the founders is even the former mayor.
There are over 1200 business incubators in the U.S. and their numbers are growing. There are also thousands of local economic development groups and agencies looking to create jobs and grow their local economies.
With these groups recognizing the power of coworking to help entrepreneurs build businesses and create jobs, their support and backing will lead to many more coworking facilities.