Written by: Oluwasoga Oni
July 5, 2015
After nine days of entrepreneurship classes and our founders working intensely on their startup, we had a field day at the OPEN in Maboneng. Maboneng is arguably the hippest neighborhood in Joburg and the MainChange building that houses the OPEN is the epicenter of all that is Maboneng. The OPEN is a creative co-working space where entrepreneurs can work and potentially interact with each other.
We arrived at 10:15 AM and was warmly welcomed by the Thabiso, the community director at the OPEN. We were then promptly caffeinated and wow! They have some amazing coffee there. Once everyone was set, Thabiso introduced us to Mark, the Director at the OPEN. Mark explained its history, its philosophy, mission, and vision. The Open provides a platform that helps creatives, entrepreneurs, and freelancers make things happen. After the primer by Mark, Thabisho introduced entrepreneurs who worked at the Open. They explained what they were doing and how being part of the Open community was helping them to achieve their goals.
Thabiso then took us on a tour of the Open. It was a very well designed space. The first thing that strikes me here is the modern contemporary design and the amount of natural light in the building. I’d personally love to work here if I live around here. Mark joined the group again and took us on a tour of the Maboneng neighborhood. According to Mark, the neighborhood used to be considered a bad part of the town but in the last few years, it has been transformed into the creative hub of the city. The arrival of the freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other creative misfits played a huge role in this. The neighborhood is still a work in progress but then, it is only a matter of time before all of it is rejuvenated.
We concluded the tour with a dinner at one of the cool restaurants in the area. It was finally time to relax and take in all the interesting things we have seen during the day. It was also a great time for some cultural exchange between the tutors and the founders. All in all, we all had an amazing day and looking forward to the rest of the program.