Business Link and Skanska will co-create in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) an innovative ecosystem for start-up companies, small and medium enterprises, and companies from the business services sector. The developer has invested in Business Link – the largest network of co-working space and private offices in Poland. Because of Business Link’s planned international expansion, the company will become the biggest network of its kind in Europe and second in the world. As a result, Skanska will be in a position to create the most comprehensive commercial office proposition for a wide range of businesses on the CEE market.
Over the next couple of years, Business Link will create approximately 12 new locations in CEE, totaling approximately 45,000 – 50,000 sqm. The investment of EUR 10 mln will be spread over time and will depend on fulfilling mutually agreed upon business goals. Skanska and Business Link’s partnership is adding the latest model to its office space commercialization proposition – a solution highly in demand especially among start-up communities as well as small and medium enterprises that mainly power Poland’s economy. According to Katarzyna Zawodna, President at Skanska commercial office business in Central and Eastern Europe, the company’s cooperation with Business Link presents new development growth possibilities for companies from the business services sector.
– We are diversifying our real estate portfolio, adding new flexible and creative office space that is accessible 24/7, and can be leased “on demand” with a ramp-up, and mentoring package if needed. Ultimately, up to 9,000 people will be able to work in office space provided by Business Link in Skanska’s buildings located in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary – explains Katarzyna Zawodna. – For major players on the business services market it might be particularly advantageous to have the possibility of leasing office space ad hoc, without the necessity of traditional agreement clauses, but being able to cooperate closely with start-up environments. For young entrepreneurs, it’s a great chance for business development in high-class offices in central city locations. This is the first fully comprehensive offer of this magnitude in CEE – adds Katarzyna Zawodna.
Skanska and Business Link’s cooperation is an example of a sustainable approach to business. The developer, as an equal partner, is not taking over the start-up company but investing in its development.
–This is the first significant involvement of an international corporation in creating such a start-up environment in Europe. Thanks to this investment, Business Link will strengthen its leading position in Poland and will become the biggest player on the market of modern co-working office space in CEE. Moreover, as a result of the planned expansion, we have the chance to become number two on the global market. This provides us with even greater possibilities to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Poland and the CEE region – explains Dariusz Żuk, co-founder and CEO at Business Link.
According to Jarosław Bator, Business Development Director at Skanska, the investment is not only a milestone in Business Link’s development on the market, but also a major strategic move from Skanska in terms of building its business proposition in the CEE region.
– Business Link is the leading company in this sector on the Polish market and is the fastest growing co-working network in the country. This is an investment in a stable and reliable company which thanks to the partnership with Skanska has the chance to become a giant on the international market. Business Link is so much more than just office space as there are services and accompanying offers for all members of a given community, as well as a deep cooperation and business experience exchange platform – adds Jarosław Bator.
Business Link’s offer has become an inherent part of the global trend known as co-working 2.0. This is a unique and complex service comprising an all-in-one office space – creative, innovative, with chill-out zones, functional kitchens, designer spaces for focus, as well as climbing walls and saunas. Another essential aspect of the proposition, apart from traditional co-working spaces, is the lease of private offices and conference rooms available 24/7, as well as advanced acceleration programs for entrepreneurs. So far, amongst the companies that have taken advantage of Business Link’s offer are Uber, Brand24 and Groupon. The large amount of interest in these sort of services reflects our changing lifestyles, a growing need for flexibility and the trend of co-sharing such as sharing cars or workplaces and the popularity of co-living approach. The concept of Business Link’s offices suits Skanska’s office philosophy – certified A-class office space located in central parts of the major cities of the CEE region. These are prestigious places for business, chosen by top employers who deem comfort at work, flexibility of office space and the investment’s green vital surroundings as extremely important. Skanska’s newest investments are built with full accessibility in mind, for people with disabilities, parents with young children and the elderly. Resultant from the partnership between Skanska and Business Link is a unique ecosystem of innovative space that allows for the development of various business models. Creation of such a complex service was of paramount importance for both companies.
Skanska ultimately will acquire up to 50% of Business Link’s shares and will become the majority shareholder of the company. The venture will be managed by a newly established company. The first Business Link offices in Skanska’s buildings will be open later this year. In the transaction, Business Link was advised by RSQ Associates, while PWC and Linklaters acted jointly as advisors for Skanska. The transaction will be finalized upon obtaining permission from the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów - UOKiK).