Widespread investment in Latin America is fueling a more flexible working culture – particularly in Chile, where IWG has launched its biggest regional location.
With fast-growing populations, exciting new infrastructure and natural resources on the doorstep, investors and multinational brands are eyeing of Latin American cities with extreme interest.
“In Latin America, 85% of the population has moved to an urban centre, which is growing at the fastest rate globally,” says Wayne Berger, CEO of IWG Canada and Latin America, “so it’s a great opportunity for companies to really cast out into an emerging market.”
Thanks to the pace of development and the market opportunities in the likes of Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, and Quito, foreign direct investment in the region surged by a healthy 13.2% last year. This has laid the groundwork for the research and development of new technologies across a range of industries.
As a result, Latin America's start-up ecosystem is thriving and property directors are increasingly choosing office space to complement the start-up culture. According to the Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America, new venture capital funding has quadrupled over the past two years to $2 billion. What’s more, that total has already been matched during the first seven months of 2019.
With one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, Chile is leading the way. The capital of Santiago – a sprawling, vibrant city circled by the Andes – is widely considered one of the most livable cities on the continent. Paired with government initiatives such as Start-Up Chile, it’s no surprise that, with fledgling businesses, entrepreneurs and remote workers popping up in Santiago, a flexible working boom has followed suit.
“We’ve seen exponential growth in how people are living and working in Chile,” says Berger. “It has one of the most stable economies in Latin America and there has been ongoing growth within the Santiago region. And while we see tremendous vibrancy in many other Latin American cities, Santiago has the stability and the steady growth rate of the economy, so it really lends itself well to the co-working scene.”
In keeping with this trend, IWG is launching its largest flexible workspace in Latin America in Santiago under its Spaces brand. With its modern aesthetic, Spaces attracts a forward-thinking, entrepreneurial crowd. And it made sense to choose the go-getting financial district of Apoquindo for the new location – called “Sanhattan” by locals.
So far, Spaces Apoquindo is receiving enquiries from a mixture of tech start-ups and young enterprises, along with some of the companies behind the Pan American Games – which will take place in Santiago in 2023. The new Spaces tenants will benefit from having Escuela Militar metro station, restaurants, shops and parks moments away from their workspace.
Santiago’s fast-growing flexible working culture is not just appealing to start-ups, though. Increasingly, large businesses too are recognising the opportunity it brings to become more asset-light.
“We've seen companies such as Santander Bank make a dramatic shift in their real-estate profile within their banks, opening up work cafés and co-working facilities that actually enable the population to shift towards a co-working environment,” says Berger. “With the demand for flexible workspace continuing to accelerate across Chile, we're seeing the need for more co-working spaces really grow across the city. It’s an electric and exciting time as we continue to grow both the Spaces and other IWG brands throughout the region.”
He adds: “The other big thing we’re seeing in Chile is a real combination of industries. The financial sector is very strong in Santiago, as are the insurance, technology and natural resources industries. As this combination continues to grow at a steady, strong pace, it provides many more opportunities for other emerging companies and industries within the country.”
Find out more about Spaces Apoquindo – IWG’s largest location in Latin America