European Freelancers Week: Connecting Independent Workers And Learners With Coworking

European Freelancers Week aims to connect industry professionals around the globe (Image credit: Nina Franco)
  • European Freelancers Week (#EFWeek) is hosted by European Coworking Assembly and runs from 16-25 October.
  • The 10-day programme features over 30 events and aims to connect Europe’s coworking spaces with freelancers and students.
  • One such connection is between London workspace ARC Club and Urban MBA, a nonprofit that provides training opportunities for young people.

European Freelancers Week (EFW) is Europe’s largest annual celebration of independent work. It aims to empower self-employed individuals, recognising the valuable contributions they make to both local and wider economies and communities. 

Every year, EFW provides opportunities for coworking spaces to forge connections with freelancers and other industry players.

A variety of events will take place virtually this year, for obvious reasons. However, subject to Covid-19 restrictions, others will be taking place in bricks and mortar coworking spaces in a physically-distanced way. 

Freelancers, coworking spaces and organisations of every type and size are encouraged to participate in EFW. This year’s event is taking place from the 16th to the 25th October. You can check out the events or register your own EFW event at freelancersweek.org.

Where does European Freelancers Week come from?

EFW was masterminded by Joel Dullroy, Francesca Pesce and Mattia Raos. The three founders were all involved in some way or another with freelancer organisations in their respective countries: Germany, Italy and Croatia. 

Their plan was to come up with a collaborative way to focus Europe’s attention on the importance of freelancers in the economy, and thus EFW was born. 

European Coworking Assembly was a supporting partner from when the event began in 2016 to last year, when it took over the organising of EFW. There are over 30 events, including panel discussions, taking place all across Europe this year. 

And the fact that a lot of them are virtual means they’re more accessible than ever.

ARC Club teams up with the Urban MBA

We recently wrote about how operators can educate their local communities about coworking. ARC Club in Hackney, London, has gone a step further by actively engaging with young people in the local community through its partnership with the Urban MBA

What is the Urban MBA?

Urban MBA is an award-winning charity that provides enterprise and employability training, opening up opportunities for young people who are currently Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

“I feel like it was the inspirational thing that I really needed. It reminds me of how important the people you surround yourself with are and the way the course is set up is something that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.”

Urban MBA’s student

Urban MBA’s mission is to ‘reach out to these young adults who don’t have the required experience or knowledge, and help them transform into successful entrepreneurs’. Its vision is ‘to create a world where no young person is lost or left aside.’ 

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“We use storytelling in particular to engage with the young people on our entrepreneurship courses, this storytelling always has a life or vocational skill attached to it in terms of the outcome. We also use a blended learning style, for example by using short video footage.”

Kofi Oppong, Founder of Urban MBA.

ARC Club hosts Urban MBA workshops every week, providing ample space for learning to take place. To celebrate EFW and Black History Month, Urban MBA’s alumni students who took part in London Fashion Week will exhibit their products and profiles over the last two weeks of October. 

ARC Club will also be providing the winner of this term’s Urban MBA Dragon’s Den competition (which happens at the end of each entrepreneurship course) with a free 12-month coworking membership.

Urban MBA students describe ARC Club as ‘friendly’, ‘calming’ and ‘somewhere you can actually crack on and do work’ (Image credit – Jorn Tomter)

A student will also be interviewing ARC Club’s CEO & founder, Hannah Philp, about running a coworking space business.

By working with ARC Club, Urban MBA is educating local young people from diverse backgrounds on, first and foremost, what a coworking space is. 

Kofi continues: “We’re getting young people who are starting their enterprise journey to understand that as we go forward with 5G and the fourth industrial revolution, they need to think ahead and have a place where they can work and network with different people.”

A Work Near Home (#WNH) coworking space

ARC Club is situated in Homerton — a residential part of East London. It opened mid-pandemic in summer 2020 and more sites are planned for 2021. 

The coworking space is well-placed to accommodate Londoners’ WNH needs, as freelancers and small businesses ditch the commute in favour of a more work-life balanced approach and Covid-19 fuels a renewed appreciation of neighbourhood life.

“We believe that it’s vital to have space between you and your working day and ARC Club delivers that without a long commute,” says Hannah, acknowledging that “grown ups don’t need ping pong tables or a beer tap to get the job done but we might need a supportive, clean and professional environment.”

When asked about what they think of the workspace, one Urban MBA student described it as “a peaceful environment, somewhere you can actually crack on and do work — different to a library but in a good way,’ with another saying: ‘the people are really friendly which is probably my favorite part of it.”

Follow @urbanmba_, @arc_club_ and @freelancerseu on Instagram for updates.

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