Well, its more like the only five, but we’ve come up with a list of options for entrepreneurs to look at when choosing a coworking space.
Coworking spaces are an undeniable force in today’s entrepreneurial and startup culture. The power of collaboration-friendly environments has been well documented, and as more and more millennials start their own businesses, coworking spaces will only gain more notoriety and popularity.
Here’s our extremely biased look at Montreal’s top five coworking spaces.
5. Communoloft: Four locations in Montreal, one in Toronto at 350 West Adelaide St.
With four locations spread across Montreal’s downtown core and one location in Toronto, Communoloft easily has the most space available on this list. The coworking space works with its members to “reduce the financial risk for entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses and businesses seeking to expand.” Included in a membership is fully furnished private offices from 100 to 600 sq. ft, with telephone, voicemail and Internet included. The spaces come with shared boardroom, kitchenette and bathroom. Leases are short-term and flexible.
4. Espace 360: 7248 rue St. Urbain
The creators of Espace360 wanted the project to represent something halfway between a shared coworking space and a conventional business center. While tech companies seem to be the focus, any company is welcome to work out of the space. “The essence of the project is to bring together businesses from related areas to establish a synergy,” reads its website. “We offer the local industrial a chic look and a dynamic working atmosphere, all at competitive prices”
13 closed offices of different sizes are offered, which can host between one to eight people. Memberships include two conference rooms and one meeting room, access to a lounge area that can also hold small events, reception, 24/7 access and more. Tenants must sign a minimum four-month lease. Espace 360 prides itself on being one of the more affordable options: $125 per month can land an unlimited monthly rental studio while $250 per month covers an unlimited monthly rental with equipment.
Their site also features a nicely updated price matrix for rental cost by amount of months.
Located in the hipster epicentre of Montreal, Station C already has a sizable list of designers, developers, freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups that call the coworking space “home”. It’s is an open co-working space located in the heart of Montreal’s Mile End that offers a mix of shared and reserved desks as well as closed boardrooms.
“We are a community that thrives on connections and mutual support. Everyone participates, contributes, and benefits,” reads its website. “Station C members take the initiative to care for our collective space, welcome visitors, orient new members, start conversations, and host events. We’re a modern agora, providing a public space for community gatherings and encouraging folks to drop in and work with us for a day.”
Memberships cost $350 per month for unlimited 24/7 access, $175 per month to work there three days a week or $60 per month to work there three days per month. The latter two options restrict workers to the 9:30- 5:30 time slot. Every member has access to high speed internet, a solid oak work desk,a large conference room equiped with a projector, a smaller meeting room, couches and bean bags in the lounge area and a functional kitchen “with great coffee from our expresso machine to keep you alert.”
The 20 or so members of La Commune are ridiculously nice and welcoming to newcomers, something I experienced during a one month stay at the gorgeous open-concept space in the heart of the Old Port. Head honcho Alex Grenier took on the expensive rent himself a few years ago with a plan to form a coworking environment and he was successful. A seemingly always-on kind of guy, the cheery Grenier likes to greet his fellow members every morning with a smile and conversation.
The members of La Commune share cleaning duties once a week, sing happy birthday to each other and engage in “Free Lunch Friday” every week, where one person cooks for the rest. Speaking from experience, those meals were both delicious and filling.
$250 per month covers a chair and a desk with all the usual amenities: shared kitchen, washroom and plenty of couches. There is one meeting room, but it’s semi-closed off so whatever you’re discussing will be heard (at the same time, no one cares what you’re talking about because they’re so busy dealing with their own matters).
If Montreal is the playground, Notman House is king. Notman House is a tech ecosystem within the tech ecosystem of Montreal, playing host to startups, an accelerator program in FounderFuel, a venture capital fund in Real Ventures, countless promising startups, freelancers and even a student-run VC fund. Appropriately so, it dubs itself “the home of the web in Montreal”.
It’s loud due to construction, it resembles a patchwork fix-me-up at times and there’s no fancy espresso machine, but the people in this building and the ideas they work on easily make up for whatever it lacks in infrastructure. (The historic building has actually been under renovations for the past half-year and is expected to be complete in a few months. The make-over is part of an ambitious plan by The OSMO Foundation, sponsored by the province of Quebec and Videotron, in which an old hospital located behind Notman House will be amalgamated into one larger innovation centre.)
There’s no doubt that coming to work everyday and rubbing shoulders with some of the most influential people within Quebec’s small business ecosystem can only help aspiring entrepreneurs. The price to work here is steeper than others at $350 per month, which currently includes desk and chair, access to a shared kitchen, two washrooms and a large event space called “the cafe” which never seems to host a dull moment during the evenings. Members can holds events there so long as it’s focus is reasonable and its goals revolve around technology and startups.
Notman House volunteer Gabriel Sundaram said that being around other people working on the same thing is most important, along with the opportunity to collaborate, socialize and find peer motivation.
“Notman is very unique compared to most coworking spaces because its not just about bringing in entrepreneurs, but it’s about brining in entrepreneurs, resources, support groups for entrepreneurship and investors who can fund businesses, all under the same roof,” he said. “Theres definitely value in being within an ecosystem like this.”