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Beta Collective opens first co-working space in Surrey


SURREY — In a time where full pension, salaried nine-to-five jobs are a rarity, more and more people are turning to self-employment for their income.

The problem is, when you work from home, there are a plethora of distractions pulling you away from your work — like screaming children and unwashed laundry — and leasing a commercial office space can be pricey.

Enter Beta Collective, Surrey's very first co-working space. Jason Wong, with business partners Elvin Cheung and Michael Cheng of online enterprise Witty Cookie, have launched a unique shared office facility in Surrey's Innovation Boulevard, a cutting-edge business hub set to forge new ground in the areas of health care and technology.

"I was inspired by a good friend of mine over at another co-working space in Vancouver called the Network Hub," Wong said of the idea to open up a shared office space east of Vancouver. "It was something that really inspired me to think, 'Hey, that could be something that could be opened in the 'burbs if the man calls for it.'"

And of course, he did. Wong and his business partners, Cheung and Cheng — all three SFU alumni—opened the doors to Beta Collective in late April, with a variety of co-working options that range from complete private offices with mail and telephone service to "hot desking," paying a daily rate to set up your laptop and work. With the city's population increasing each year, Surrey was the perfect place to put a community working hub, Wong said.

"It's a fast growing city and I think that it does really have the potential to be a real, true entrepreneurial hub in Metro Vancouver," he said, noting that it's important to have an office away from home. "I'm a relatively new parent ... productivity goes way down being at home, you know, running over toys and talking to clients and that really was kind of what motivated me to get my butt in gear and get this thing off the ground. From a selfish standpoint, I needed a space like this and Surrey didn't have it."

Wong is sure to add that Beta Collective is no Bentall Building-style office space, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the ocean."We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the typical Regis building or professional office building.... We are just sandwiched between a Western Union and an Indian supermarket here on 100th Avenue. So from an optic standpoint, its definitely not your Silicon Valley type, but what we do offer in return is more of a grassroots, social enterprise, a more casual approach to doing business while still providing all the professional amenities," he said.

Beta Collective clients range from event planners, immigrant consultation, web app developers and freelance writers. Beta Collective offers a threetiered, month-to-month approach to office working.

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