- In Chihuahua, Mexico’s largest state, BC-MX has successfully transformed an empty office building into a thriving business hub
- Although Juarez was deeply affected by the economic crisis, BC-MX opened in 2013 and has been growing steadily ever since
- Founder Sergio Roldan is now exploring new revenue opportunities and potential franchise agreements
With an area of 247,455 square kilometers (95,543 square miles), Chihuahua is Mexico’s largest state, and due to its proximity to the US border, the economic boom experienced in the US in the 1990s had positive effects on the Mexican state. However, Chihuahua was greatly impacted when the US’s economy slowed down and went through a crisis in the early 2000s.
Chihuahua, especially the city of Juarez, which has one of the highest demographic concentrations in the state, was also heavily affected by violence in the area. And “between 2007 and 2011 more than 10,000 businesses closed in Juarez and between 2007 and 2009 alone some 23,000 residents fled the city.”
After living in Monterrey for a few years, Sergio Roldan, founder of BC-MX, moved back to his hometown, Juarez. At the time, he noticed the stark contrast between the two cities. Juarez was greatly affected by the Drug War, which led to many businesses closing and a downturn in overall activity.
“My family owns an office building in what is known as the Financial District of Juarez. When I moved back in September 2010, the entire second floor of the building was vacant, and after two years of failing to lease it, we decided to put the space to good use.”
While in Monterrey, Roldan had become familiar with the flexible workspace industry; mainly business centers and virtual offices. “Back then, there were no business centers in Juarez, no coworking spaces, and no virtual office options.”
In 2013, after renovations, BC-MX opened its first business center in Juarez, offering workspace, a conference room, and virtual office services. Roldan shares that at first, business was slow. However in 2014 “we added 4 more offices in the same location, and in 2015, we added another 8. We kept growing within the building. By 2016 we had used our full building capacity; we had 30 offices, 4 conference rooms, and a small coworking area.”
Expanding beyond one location
“Last year, after experiencing much growth, we added 2 more BC-MX locations. One in Chihuahua city and a second one in Juarez, opened January and November, respectively.”
Roldan attributes BC-MX’s growth, as that of the overall industry in Mexico, to increased knowledge and improved perception of the services flexible workspace operators offer.
“The Juarez and Chihuahua market are now more familiar and comfortable with the kind of solutions we can offer. Additionally, due to various circumstances, large companies have had to cut costs in the area, which has led to an increase in demand for serviced workspaces.”
Nonetheless, it has been a challenge for BC-MX to stay ahead of the competition, especially as local and international operators expand their portfolios across Mexico.
“Our greatest challenge has been keeping up with the needs of the market and finding services that make us more attractive. For instance, most of our members commute by car, and we realized that by offering car-washing services we could add value to our offering by facilitating what usually becomes a time-consuming errand in the city.”
BC-MX is currently operating at 93% occupancy, and users include multinational corporations, startups, and SMEs; with SMEs taking up a larger percentage of membership across all 3 locations. And although there are no plans to open more locations in the short-term, Roldan does mention that they are considering taking a franchise approach to grow the brand, with plans of also opening a workspace location across the border in El Paso, TX.