About Cowork Niagara

Who we are

Cowork Niagara is the region’s first and only co-operative coworking space for self-employed knowledge workers, freelancers, independents, artisans and others. We work independently, together.

Our Story

Cowork Niagara began in 2012 as a small group who gathered at Mahtay Café on Wednesday afternoons to grab some coffee, work on our projects, and talk about our successes and challenges. As we worked independently together, we discovered something amazing – that even though we all worked on different projects for different clients in different parts of the country, when we worked together we were stronger, more resilient and more agile. We were able to overcome our challenges more easily and more effectively.

We found that as we solved problems together, we wanted to do this more. Gradually, our community grew so much that we decided we needed our own place to bring Niagara’s freelance community together so we can plan educational events, organize advocacy efforts and support the region’s growing community of independents. In May 2014 we opened Niagara’s first and only co-operative coworking space.

Today, we’re a thriving community of 200+ people who believe in the power of working together. Our members are passionate about discovering how we can strengthen and grow our freelance community, and we’re active members of the Niagara Co-op Network (learn more about why we chose the co-operative model and what it can do for you). Our board members are volunteers, so member fees, donations and sponsorship funds benefit our membership as a whole.

As we support our budding startup community, advocate for open data and raise awareness of how coworking helps independents, we’re one of a few local grassroots groups helping to transform Niagara’s economic landscape.

Our members include:

We want to know how we can help you succeed. Are you looking for a distraction-free place to work, industry-targeted events and opportunities to collaborate with other entrepreneurs? We’re waiting for you at Cowork Niagara.

Sign up today or visit our space at 108 St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines.

What we do

As Niagara’s first and only co-operative coworking space, Cowork Niagara is a place for entrepreneurs, independents and freelancers to work independently, together. This is your space to work distraction-free, engage in professional learning and development opportunities and get involved in the freelance community through outreach and advocacy efforts.

Here’s a short list of the things we do every day to make Niagara entrepreneur-friendly:

Maintain an awesome space

We have everything you need to work productively and fight the dreaded isolation factor so many freelancers encounter when they work from home. Bring your laptop and take a seat at one of our tables or on our big comfy leather couch.

Our amenities include:

Organize events

Since we opened our space in downtown St. Catharines in May 2014, our community members and board have been working hard to book our calendar full of great events where freelancers and entrepreneurs can learn from one another. Whether you’re a copy writer, web developer or sales pro, we’ve got something for you. We’re also looking for more organizers. Learn more about our events.

Community outreach

We’re constantly looking to meet more of Niagara’s entrepreneurs, freelancers and independents. Every Wednesday, we’re at Mahtay Café (241 St. Paul Street) to cowork and meet new people.

We partner with a number of other groups and organizations, including Software Niagara and Startup Niagara to raise awareness of our community, organize events and participate in advocacy efforts.

Government advocacy

As community-minded entrepreneurs who are changing Niagara’s economic landscape, we seize opportunities to take part in conversations with elected officials and groups at all levels of government on issues from open data and transparency to raising awareness of the local co-operative movement. Our voices are stronger when we speak as a collective.

We couldn’t engage in this important community building without member support and participation. Memberships, event fees, sponsorships and donations allow us to keep the space open, organize events and advocate for our members.

Become part of Cowork Niagara’s thriving community. Learn more about membership benefits and sign up today.

Our Board

Cowork Niagara is a community owned and managed co-operative. Our volunteer board members meet twice a month to review and manage finances, organize events and submit reports for the committees they chair.

Meet our dedicated board members:

How you can get involved

Are you looking for a distraction-free place to work, industry-targeted events and opportunities to collaborate with other entrepreneurs? We’re waiting for you at Cowork Niagara.

We’re a volunteer-run, community owned and managed co-operative, so every dollar in membership fees, sponsorships and donations goes right back to our members. You can join our thriving community and:

Why join?

We believe that the true potential of creative, independent knowledge workers is unlocked when our ideas and work have the opportunity to cross pollinate with the work of our peers in a shared space. Join a group of brilliant, passionate, independent creatives who are helping transform Niagara’s economic landscape.

Here are a few reasons to join:

Members earn more

People who join a coworking space improve their income more quickly than those who do not. We provide an environment where members learn from and collaborate with one another.

Interact and collaborate with other entrepreneurs

Cowork Niagara is a shared space where freelancers, social entrepreneurs and non-profit groups work, collaborate and make awesome stuff together. Interact with people from a wide range of industries in a zero-pressure environment. We believe in building lasting business relationships, exchanging ideas and spreading knowledge to help you grow personally and professionally.

You get a vote

Each of our members gets an equal vote in decisions about Cowork Niagara’s future. You can help steer the direction of Niagara’s first and only cooperative coworking space. Attend our Annual General Meeting to stay up to date on what’s happening.

Advocacy

Part of being an entrepreneur is working with elected officials and groups at all levels of government to make Niagara more business-friendly. Add your voice to our collective efforts and take part in conversations about open data, transparency, our startup culture, the local cooperative movement and much more.

Industry-targeted events

Cowork Niagara offers the region’s largest calendar of independently focused events. We organize educational, interactive, fun free and members-only events and meet-ups for entrepreneurs in the marketing, sales, web and software development industries. Whether it’s a Hamilton-Niagara Drupal group meet-up, DevTricks (for developers), WriteTricks (for writers), a Sales Crafting meeting or one of our many others, you can find or create your niche.

Why we’re a co-op

To understand why the co-operative model is such a natural fit for Cowork Niagara, you have to know what a co-op is. Here’s a definition set out by the International Co-operative Alliance:

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common, economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

We chose the co-op structure because:

All our members benefit

Every member is an owner, and we put members first. That means that as a member, you get a vote on issues that affect Cowork Niagara and you help guide the organization in the direction that’s most beneficial to our membership. Surpluses go back to our membership, not into an owner’s pockets.

We’re community owned and managed

Cowork Niagara is supported, owned and managed by a dedicated volunteer board and members who use the space regularly, so you know they’re accessible, approachable and in touch with what freelancers are looking for in a coworking space (and we’d love for you to get involved). There’s no single individual owner looking at the bottom line. We’re here to serve you and all our members, not to maximize shareholders’ wealth.

Co-ops survive and thrive

The survival rate of co-ops is twice as high as regular businesses (62% versus 35% in the first five years of operation). More than four out of 10 co-ops survive 10+ years, compared to two businesses out of 10 for the private sector.

Become part of Cowork Niagara’s thriving community. Learn more about membership benefits and sign up today.