Situated in Cape Town’s CBD, Inner City Ideas Cartel (affectionately known as IC|IC) is a space that has reinvented the traditional office into a vibrant and inspiring environment filled with like-minded individuals. Their unique and all-encompassing business model is geared towards nurturing freelance communities by strengthening relationships and expanding personal networks. Here every detail – from the call booths to desks to networking events – are designed to enhance productivity and output, which is evident in their growth over the past few years.
After frequently commuting between Cape Town and Johannesburg and becoming frustrated at the lack of collaborative freelance working environments, IC|IC founder Schulyer Vorster took a risk and hired a small piece of property to use as a shared office. Initially the idea was to pioneer a working space that optimises workflow and offers organic networking opportunities.
Back then the IC|IC family consisted of Roland the barista and Monya from Stokperd, but word spread quickly via Facebook and the team grew to include Nina van Deventer, founder and owner of NVD Property & Project Management. In just two years IC|IC has grown from 50 to 6000 square metres, they’ve recently acquired a second location and are building a third, but they’re not done expanding yet. This co-working empire now includes city-wide shared and private workspaces, meeting rooms, an auditorium and a rooftop which hosts a coffee shop and bar – all of which is managed and can be hired via NVD.
Their philosophy is that an office should be inspiring, take care of admin needs and provide exceptional service so that freelancers can focus their energy on their work output. Designed by Brigid Randall of ATTIK Design, often overlooked details like plugs, printers, furniture layout and office art are all carefully considered. Currently, they’re looking at adding standing desks for members who work more effectively on their feet.
What makes IC|IC one-of-a-kind is the customisation of working spaces for individual entrepreneurs and larger companies. IC|IC has six membership options; Day pass, Freelancer, Club House, Coworking, House and Season. The day pass grants access to work and meeting places and is perfect if you want to work in a premium office space without committing to a long term rental. The Club House membership includes access to the Cartel Rooftop Lounge and Cafe, an ideal spot for casual out of office meetings, while the IC|IC’s Coworking membership caters for individuals who need 24/7 office access and prefer working at a fixed desk. It also includes full boardroom access.
If you’re wanting to grow your client database, the Freelancer option offers referrals from the IC|IC and Freelance Cape Town Membership. Having started as an office solution for freelancers, one of the advantages of having a freelance membership is belonging to the Partner Perks Programme. This includes immediate discounts on furniture, décor, design and standard referrals. Their sales service called Fighting for Freelancers also provides advertising for members across all mediums, and looks to introduce them to individuals in need of their services. And, if this service doesn’t generate new business for you, the following month’s membership is free of charge.
For those who seek an all-inclusive work and lifestyle experience, the House Membership provides passes to all Cartel workspaces as well as gym and pool amenities, and should you opt for the luxurious premium Season membership, you’ll receive access to five star accommodation, private bars and a concierge annually from September to April. The Semi Private option provides a dedicated desk and an office space for up to six people whereas the Private option is best for teams of 2-3 and has a separate ensuite bathroom, shared reception and a cleaning service.
For small businesses that need a dedicated space, the Office package can host up to 16 people for meetings, and should you require an even larger space, the Commercial option offers rentals for areas over 200 square metres. If you’re less inclined to sit behind a desk but need space to showcase retail products, you can rent a store and receive the benefits of shared marketing and a Clubhouse membership.
At IC|IC they use tenants as business suppliers, effectively ‘in-sourcing’ work. This means that they’re able to buy products and services from one another, creating an efficient business exchange within the shared office. One example is IC|IC’s partnership with NVD Property & Project Management. Together they’ve pooled their resources to create a beautiful and well managed space that can be used in various ways. IC|IC encourages a new way of working where, in Nina’s words, “Everyone is their own ‘boss’ and we all complement each other by working together and referring clients to one another”.
Over and above being a shared office, they also host celebrations, conferences, workshops, shoots and presentations on their city rooftop and cinema-style auditorium. The rooftop clubhouse is a firm favourite amongst current members. Organised by Nina, this space hosts meet-and-greets and the weekly after hours get-togethers like #GinOClocks, which allow freelancers to swop ideas and collaborate in an informal and relaxed environment. With Nina’s expertise in event conceptualisation and organisation, they also host private celebrations and events for brands like Mercedes, MTN, Samsung and Media 24, and are able to tailor their space and services to suit the needs of each client.
Recently they acquired a share of Freelance Cape Town and have plans to include a library, a rooftop pool and a food cart. “We want to build the largest service office in Africa based on five star hotel quality principles, tenanted by forward thinking entrepreneurs and ideas pioneers”, says Schulyer. For a more detailed overview of IC|IC and their unique way of working visit their website and to book the venue, get in touch with Nina from NVD Property and Project Management here.