WeWork Claims It Benefits Neighborhoods. Does It?
Status: Available Now!
Type: News
Date: Monday 29 April 2019, 12:00 AM
Media: Curbed

About the organization Curbed:
Type: Business
Sub-Types: Website, Blogging, News, Online News, Telecommunication, Telecommunication Software, Application Software, Real-Estate, Property
WeWork’s impact—and public messaging—has traditionally focused on what happens inside its doors, extolling startup and entrepreneurial success stories. But now as the company plans to go public, the coworking firm is trying to make its neighborhood impact one of its selling points. On the same day Bloomberg is reporting WeWork confidentially filed for an IPO back in December, the coworking company released its first Global Impact Report. Prepared by HR&A Advisors, the report offers WeWork’s case for being a force for good for the 100-plus cities where it serves more than 400,000 members. ”WeWork has created the physical-world equivalent of a digital platform, generating value by imprinting design onto physical space, which leads to network effects at both the individual and institutional levels,” according to Dr. Arun Sundararajan, professor of business at NYU and author of The Sharing Economy, who is quoted in the report. “Its global constellation of companies and entrepreneurs allows members to tap into and realize value from these economic spillovers, within their local communities, and across cities.” The top line numbers are impressive. WeWork, which directly employs more than 11,000 employees, supports an estimated 680,000 jobs and is connected to $122.3 billion in total GDP worldwide within its workspaces. While it’s important to state that the company hosts that much economic activity and didn’t directly create it, it also goes to show the firm’s potential to shape the behavior and activity of such a sizable part of the workforce. The report goes on to dig into that GDP figure. Supporting $122.3 billion in global economic activity—$74.8 billion directly and $47.5 billion indirectly—is significant. If the WeWork economy was its own city, its GDP would be equivalent to the output of cities like Vancouver or Austin. But it’s not merely scale. The report found that 1 in 8 first-time entrepreneurs in major U.S. cities are WeWork members, and 83 percent of members are in the innovation economy (defined by sources such as the Brookings Institution as being “part of 58 high-value and high-growth industries such as technology, creative, professional services, and advanced manufacturing”).
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