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Affordable rent draws startups to co-working spaces

One such company is Mettle Work, which serves as a one-stop hub for budding entrepreneurs. 

SINGAPORE: Small companies just starting out often have to keep a tight watch on their finances. One of the biggest strains on the bottom line is usually rental, and some companies have turned to co-working spaces to save on this aspect and find inspiration.

One such company is Mettle Work, which serves as a one-stop hub for budding entrepreneurs. The co-working space at Lorong 17 Geylang recently hosted a one-off night market event known as Geyworld, as a means for tenants to showcase their products.

Mr Daniel Tay, who runs Mettle Work, explains how the concept works: "They come, they plug in, and we provide furniture, utility bills and high speed internet. Then we have meeting rooms, event rooms, places for collaboration and even workshops that they can be held here. We provide common tool facilities, and they can tinker and work."

Co-owner of Koji Photography, Ms Karen Kuik, says affordable rental is the main attraction of such an arrangement. Ms Elaine Tan, who owns two jewelry labels, likes that she can network with like-minded peers and says her contacts have grown ever since she started at Mettlework

"It's really helped my business grow in a direction that I want to. I've got a lot of customers now and I can get my customers to come down to preview my collections. I've also been able to conduct workshops here, and use the space here for my jewelry making classes," said Ms Tan.

Also tucked in Geylang is 13, another co-working space. The startup's owners both work and live on the premises, and the emphasis is on building a community.

"This space creates opportunities and platforms for people to meet, people who previously felt like they were alone and had nobody else to work with. The cross-pollination between startups is absolutely critical for startups to learn from each other and just get better at everything that they do," says founder Darius Cheung.

Despite the benefits, co-working spaces are not for everyone. Mr Seah Ying Cong, co-founder of Glints says a co-working space can be distracting. "I know of a lot of people who find it very collaborative, open and creative. But the downside of that is that 80% of the interactions do not directly contribute to business value. 

"For companies who hire programmers, co-working spaces can get especially distracting. Because having programmed myself, I know how important it is to have a quiet environment where you can focus," he said.

So while some startups may reap the benefits of cost affordability and a sense of community, others may find quiet, focused spaces more suitable. 

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