The Media Workshop, pioneer of coworking in Lyon
L'Atelier des Médias is a pioneering coworking space in Lyon. Opened in February 2011, but a victim of its own success, the Atelier was forced to move last August to a new location at Quai André Lassagne.
Grâce à m2 gagnés, l’espace offre désormais 40 postes flexibles destinés, principalement, aux travailleurs indépendants du monde des médias, du web et de l’image.
To find out more, we met Pascale Lagahe, co-founder of the place.
N-N: Pascale, can you describe the coworking area in a few words?
P. L.: We are located in the centre of Lyon at 9 Quai André Lassagne and are open from 9am to 7pm, with possibilities in the evenings and at weekends. The space includes 2 open spaces, 5 offices and a kitchen, and can accommodate 35 coworkers, both permanent and nomadic. In total, this represents more than 210 m² plus a terrace!
Beyond the space, the Media Workshop is also many meetings and barcamps carried by the Co-lab and Co-leg poles. The idea is to organise free events open to all, thanks to the support of professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs.
N-N: Is the Media Workshop an association or a private initiative?
P. L.: We are an associative structure created in autumn 2010. Initially the project was carried by 8 people, then we were gradually joined by coworkers ready to get involved in the creation of a coworking space in Lyon.
Our goal was to create an accessible and lively space for independent actors in the media business. Among the most represented professions today, we find journalists, graphic designers, web experts but also an automotive engineer and an e-commerce salesman. Proof that the doors remain open to all coworkers in line with the spirit of the Media Workshop.
N-N: What is the spirit of your space?
P. L.: The life of L'Atelier des Médias is based on trust and the sharing of tasks between members. Commissions exist to manage the evolution of the place and minimize the expenses. For example, there are no employees to manage the place. The economic model would not allow this or would impose a much higher rate for coworkers.
N-N: What types of users do you welcome?
P. L.: We have about 40 subscribers and among them 3 user profiles:
• Des indépendants qui n’en pouvaient plus du travail à domicile,
• De nouveaux arrivants sur Lyon à la recherche de contacts et partenaires,
• Des télétravailleurs salariés.
N-N: So there are teleworkers in your coworking space, is that quite rare?
P. L: Yes, we are seeing more and more of them. Today, they represent 10 to 15% of subscribers. Most of them are employed in companies in Paris or abroad and the Media Workshop is a perfect pied-à-terre. The next step for them will be to convince their companies to pay at least part of the cost of using the offices. This will not be easy because at first glance, bosses are not necessarily enthusiastic and fear for confidentiality, but the gains in terms of efficiency and well-being are significant. And economically, it remains attractive.
N-N: Let's talk about prices, what packages are available? How are the spaces occupied?
P. L.: We have 40 positions available with an average occupancy rate of 40%. Two thirds of the registrants are nomads and one third are sedentary.
We offer three rates:
• 80 euros pour accéder à un poste en espace partagé illimité,
• 140 euros pour avoir un bureau dédié,
• 50 euros les 5 journées de coworking.
N-N: What about your business model?
P. L.: The economic model is currently at equilibrium. Unlike Paris, it is possible to have affordable rents in Lyon and therefore to set up attractive rates for coworkers, which makes it easier to launch the location.
We have based our operation on voluntary work and limited our expenses to the maximum (rent, internet, water, VAT, accounting fees,...). This allows us to have attractive rates and to really meet the expectations of independent people.
For six months we benefited from the support of MACIF, which provided us with premises between February and July. This enabled us to take off, and today our income balances our expenses. We do not have public support and we are not specifically looking for it, because seeking public support requires time and compromises. In the end, you sometimes spend more time meeting with elected officials and putting together grant files rather than doing concrete things for the project.
N-N: Do you have any advice for coworking space project holders?
P. L.: We don't have enough hindsight yet to draw any big conclusions on what to do or not to do. What I do notice, however, is that very often project leaders focus on finding premises or on the legal aspects in the first place, whereas in my opinion the essential thing is to create the core, the community that will then bring the place to life.
We must also be clear about his intentions. Private or associative models are two possibilities, but one should not stand in the middle. In the associative model, it is necessary to make sure that the project leaders are ready to get involved in the long term but also to share the tasks in the most equitable way as soon as possible. If the project is based on a single person involved from A to Z, there is a high risk that the project will be terminated if that person leaves the ship.
Today a project leader does not need 300,000 euros of budget to create a coworking space. For projects with no or little input, a helping hand at the start may be necessary. In our case, the support of MACIF was decisive. As well as the choice to minimize the loads as much as possible and make the life of the place rest on the community, it also allowed us to build an attractive and lively place.
N-N: Thank you Pascale for all this information.
To find out more about the Media Workshop, find all the information on their website.
And discover the location's details on the neo-nomade.com search tool.