Coworking spaces for facilitating social entrepreneurship : the case of La Paz, Bolivia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi

Abstract: Generally credited to have originated in 2005, coworking spaces provide hybrid work environments to individual professionals, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. Simultaneously, social entrepreneurship has received increasing attention as a solution to topical problems. This thesis aims to provide an empirical exploration of the ways in which coworking spaces facilitate social entrepreneurship, seen from the providers of such spaces as well as their users. The thesis project is situated in La Paz, Bolivia. Based on the existing literature and under the wider definition of coworking spaces, 11 coworking spaces have been identified in La Paz. Three main types of coworking spaces have been classified: Space A contributing with a supportive role for social entrepreneurship and have closer ties to local urban and social issues, Space B providing cafés with shared workspaces, and Space C which are mainly a commercial, profit-seeking product responding to the demand for flexible office spaces. 5 coworking spaces have been categorized as Space A. Based on the results of this thesis project, I argue that coworking spaces are highly reliant on the coworking model set forth by the founders/managers, provide facilities (space infrastructure), and on-going, in-house support (social, educational, and financial) to facilitate social entrepreneurship. The results can be seen as a basis for future research on coworking spaces with the intention to facilitate social entrepreneurship.

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