At SpareSpace, we acknowledge that to deliver a great experience on our platform we need great customers; we would like to highlight one of our successful clients here today.
Transforma BXL is one of these clients; on Wednesday 26th July, we had the occasion to meet Anis, one of the two founders of Transforma who told us more about the company. Fun fact: Transforma was born the same month as Anis’ son, three years ago, and today they are growing up together, day after day.
There is an increasing number of co-working companies but yours is slightly different; could you define what co-working is for you and your thoughts about it?
Indeed, many companies propose either co-working spaces or private offices for rent, sometimes with some co-working within private offices; otherwise, they just rent working spaces in business centres. Co-working was originally about a sense of community and content creation.
At Transforma, our baseline is that co-working must be a playground for innovation and can integrate a multitude of different factors. Corporations can also try a new way of working and creating. They can interact with start-ups and may offer them new opportunities. They can learn from the small structures and coming to Transforma, even just for a couple of days, is a way for corporations to rejuvenate themselves with innovation and entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, we provide content to start-ups, a logistic centre but also recently a fab-lab: they can keep all of their activity here at Transforma. To summarise, we conceive co-working as an integrated ecosystem for different profiles.
How did you come to create your company? What do you enjoy the most?
I discovered co-working with the Hub Brussels a few years ago; I was part of their team for a year. Unfortunately, they had to shut down, but I wanted to keep going with this venture. This is why we decided with my partner, Paul-Henri Schyns, to create our own co-working space together.
We decided to build our community around certain main values: sustainability, reduction of societal and environmental impact and co-creation. To me, a healthy company must have a long-term sustainable business model and must answer a real need. New products and services which want to be “innovative” must be sustainable. We wanted to desacralize sustainability and make it something usual within the business world.
I was also motivated by the fact that I have selfishly always been wanting to enjoy what I do and where I do it. Transforma BXL is also involved in non-lucrative projects, not very profitable, like our peer-to-peer accelerator, where entrepreneurs help others to set up sustainable projects. By doing this, we are having fun, I meet people from different places. Without diving into clichés, I just like the way we try to change the world, for different reasons.
Everyone here in Transforma BXL has an amazing energy; they are carried by personal dreams or something more universal and it thrills me.
Could you give us an example of a success-story born within Transforma’s premises?
I could tell so many stories but if I have to choose one, I would talk about En Stoemelings. It’s a Belgian brewery from Brussels and they grew entirely within Transforma’s premises. Indeed, our first location was in a former tennis club, and they started to elaborate their first recipes in the kitchen. The alcoholic fermentation was made in the basement in plastic tanks, as well as the bottling. They organised their first crowdfunding campaign at Transforma and also sold their first beer from here. Today, they just opened their second brewery at Greenbizz. Everyday, we see some other successful stories, from a freelancer working by himself to a team of twelve people a few months after; and we are growing at the same pace as we just started three years ago.
Something special about Transforma BXL is your “innovative garden” – how did this idea come to your mind?
First of all, we wanted to create a pleasant environment where people felt good, where they were stimulated to work, create, innovate together, but also to break the day-to day-routine. In front of this room, the co-working space is going to become a bigger space, a co-creation space that we are going to launch in September. So far, we organised all the co-creation sessions in the innovation garden, like design thinking, with different profiles, corporates and organisations.
The way we designed the space is the key component; it enables people to get out of their comfort zone, out of their white and aseptic meeting rooms. Indeed, some participants told me that it looked like a nursery inside at first sight. It wasn’t offensive to me though – at the end of the sessions, they thought the room was awesome. Most of the time, they don’t stay uninterested. Getting out of their comfort zone was a way to trigger their creativity and collaboration.
Lastly, could you tell me about your experience at SpareSpace?
SpareSpace enables us to reach clients that we maybe wouldn’t have reached without your platform. Therefore I think that it is an interesting collaboration and we wish you all the best.