1. What is theSPACE?
theSPACE is a registered Ngo in the Benin Republic which aims to support local entrepreneurs with business incubation. It consists of different forms of knowledge transfer, supportive community both local CEOs and international experts, and providing access for an air-conditioned open/shared office place with strong internet, equipment, meeting, and training rooms.
2. Where can I find theSPACE?
The headquarter is located in Fidjrosse, Cotonou on the first floor of a building. It has 2 apartments. One is a dedicated open office place with up to 20 seats available to work, and a meeting room of 5. The other apartment has a training room up to 20 seats and a fully equipped kitchen. You can find theSPACE on Google Maps to get more clarity of the location.
3. I have a team of 3, can I join?
We accept solo entrepreneurs with or without a team. Availability of working stations is limited but we encourage application as our physical location is always growing. Those with only a project team can use the meeting or training rooms to hold their sessions while only the CEO has access to one work station for daily visits. Depends on the agreement.
4. Can I join with an NGO?
Yes, any type of business form or field of operation is welcomed to join.
5. When is theSPACE open?
Our office is open Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm or even after. Depends on the need of the incubated entities. Most current incubated entities organize events on Saturdays and use it as office space on weekdays. The terms are flexible, but always in agreement with others incubated in theSPACE.
6. What does knowledge transfer mean?
Coaching, mentoring, training, and consulting. theSPACE specifically targets the CEOs/presidents of the organizations with all knowledge transfer activities and can organize training if needed for each entity’s interns or employees.
7.What business coaches do?
We assign a coach for each entity in the very beginning and set goals for each of the incubated entities together with their CEOs which are tracked monthly. The frequency of coaching meetings is a minimum of once a month but depends on the needs of the incubated entity.
8. What trainings does theSPACE provides?
We hold regular business training or sessions on any related or relevant topics virtually or on-site by international experts or locals. Currently, we are developing a training framework with all needed business leading knowledge and skill development.
9. What personal mentors do?
International or local mentors aim to help the CEOs to tackle the personal side of being an entrepreneur by focusing on developing time- and stress management skills or just open space to share personal struggles and find solutions together. They are assigned to each CEOs and they will set the frequency of meetings. Min once a month suggested.
10. What is consulting in theSPACE?
We have experts on different fields from finance, to marketing through HR management to any departments available to consult on specific issues with the incubated entities. Consultants will have open spaces for the members where they can bring their specific questions from their operation and get ideas to overcome challenges. We also plan to start design sprint sessions where all incubated entities can request the others in theSPACE and our experts to comment on their current operation and brainstorm together to find better solutions.
11. What other benefits theSPACE has?
We have a designer ready to support you with posters or design your proposals and other documents. (monthly limit applies) Also, we support you with creating basic promotional videos. theSPACE also supports you in any business document creation or applying to get registered, helps you to crowdfund, apply for a fund or grant, provides access to Zoom account, PayPal, etc. We have the equipment to use like camera stands, phone stabilizer, a 55-inch TV, fully equipped kitchen, whiteboards, office supplies, a growing business or leisure book (English and French) library and e-library access (only French) … We have limited parking for bikes only.
12. What else theSPACE is planning to provide?
We are continuously improving our physical environment to make it more stylish and comfortable. theSPACE is planning to have a roof office with a balcony garden and add more gadgets and hopefully some computers/laptops, tablets or cameras. Also planning to get a company car which can be used by incubated entities too. More servicing facilities (for events like coffee/drinks) and design elements. We are in the creation of a lounge area and a reception area for your guests currently.
13. Is there anything else theSPACE is planning to support the entities with?
Our plan is to provide accounting and administrative services and recruitment services as well. So in the end each entity needs to only focus on their core operation for the beginning and everything else can be outsourced to theSPACE until the incubated entities gained enough strength to manage all functions of an operational business themselves. Additional marketing services are also on our radar to provide. We also plan to employ a cook so food can be also provided for an access fee on-site without the need to stop the work and look for vendors.
14. Who are in theSPACE?
Please read about all our entities currently in incubation by following this link: Click here. You will find their introduction and business details there.
15. How can someone apply?
Make sure for this round of recruitment you can be located in Benin, preferably around Cotonou to come in at least weekly.
16. How much does it cost?
We do not plan to get money off the incubated entities. Therefore, our pricing is not on market value. It has only a symbolic cost for your entity to join, as we know that we often do not value what is free. We have a one-time joining fee of 5,000 CFA so that you can be a member accessing our affordable prices. Then we offer you a monthly package for incubation accessing all benefits for only 5,000 CFA/month/entity plus in case you need a working station; it is 5000cfa/month/station including all bills (fiber internet, electricity, gas, water, cleaning) and all furnishing plus access to meeting and training room and all infrastructure we have.
17. So how much it will be for me?
First of all, everyone is different, and we adapt to you.
But just to be clear, let us give some examples:
- ONLINE INCUBATION: you can decide only to get an incubation package without access to infrastructure (5,000 CFA/months with coaching, MoS tracking, and access to training, access to designer service, fund/grant application support, access to consulting, and many more services) then we will work with you only virtually.
- OFFICE SOLO-PRENEUR: Or get all that in online incubation with a work station for 10,000 CFA/month in total which includes all infrastructure including office/internet/rooms/tools and in the future the car, rooftop office, etc.
- OFFICE WITH TEAM: Or get more workstations for your team with access to all incubation services listed above. You can get a total of 2 workstations and incubation for 15,000 cfa/month. Note that every additional workstation is 5,000 cfa/month for any new team members. A team of 5 would pay 5x5,000 cfa and 5,000 for incubation = 30,000 cfa/month for 5 stations.
The only thing you cannot do is get work station without an incubation package. theSPACE is not an office renting business. We are an incubator.
18. I do not make money from my business; how can I pay? What are the payment conditions?
We understand when starting a business, money is an issue. Therefore, we provide alternative payment options.
- You can be providing us services of your profile (website building, content creation.),
- or products of yours
- or even work for theSPACE part-time in exchange for the small amount of monthly fee you are to pay for theSPACE or even get some extra if you work us for more
- Also, the good news is that we are extremely flexible and full of ideas if it comes to finding ways of how you can be of service to theSPACE to compensate for what you are using.
- If these do not fit, we can still find ways to ensure theSPACE receives at least the symbolic amount of money for its many great value services: as Ngo, you can offer future grant/fund/donation money % we can help you get.
19. I still can’t find the right payment option for me… is there anything else?
We believe that we can get you and your entity successful and financially sustainable in 3 years. Therefore, as last result to find you payment options, we can offer delayed payment options too with 0 risks. As in case of failure to succeed we do not ask you to compensate, if you are proven to done all what you could to avoid failure.
20. Is there any other obligation I need to sign up for to enjoy the benefits of theSPACE?
Yes, you have to commit to your own business/entity and work hard together with us. We have a 3 months trial period and a 3 monthly renewing contract system with everyone. As we take almost all the risks from you and provide all these services and infrastructure for barely free to you, we expect that you take your work on your own business extra seriously. As soon as we see otherwise, we will let you go. Also, we expect everyone we get successful and financially sustainable or even hopefully make rich, to donate back later to theSPACE community to open theSPACE offices in other locations all across the developing world.
21. Does theSPACE need me to provide data?
Yes, you also have some information-sharing obligations. You can set limits on what is to be shared with theSPACE because we get that some things are off-topic. But you have to understand that theSPACE has to provide a tracking service on your entities’ growth. We do not wish to get private data or even financial data if you do not want to share, but we have to agree on how we track the growth of your entity and you must provide that data promptly and regularly.
Also, note that as a Ngo we have our measure of impact system to produce statistics to our funders and donors. That is what we request from you to always fill out our surveys and be part of our interviews and provide all necessary information.
You are in charge of what can go public on our website about your entity, but the bare minimum is your name, your entity, business contacts, and the profile. You are also in charge of what goes on our social media, but please note that we do take pictures in our offices and if you do not wish to be part of it, please avoid being there while we record or snap content or request in advance any removals.