Interview With Noam Hazan, Co-Founder & Creative Director At Northspace

In 2015 Noam Co-Founded Northspace in Downsview, Toronto. Designed for startups and small businesses in mind, Northspace is a coworking space that aims to be a platform that fosters creative collaborations between community members by promoting entrepreneurship, diversity, and work with a social directive.

Noam Hazan Design Studio

Before opening Northspace, Noam graduated from the Architectural Association in London and is a registered architect. Prior to moving to Canada, Noam was part of the team working on London Wall Place in London, a two-acre luxurious office development. 

In 2014 Noam moved to Canada where he worked on a number of feasibility studies for mid-rise residential and hospitality projects in the City of Toronto before starting his own practice in December of that year. Noam Hazan Design Studio has worked on a diverse range of projects including high-end residential homes, a sports center, a synagogue & spiritual bath refurbishment and a number of super fun and vibrant coworking offices.

Who are your ideal clients?: Northspace is perfect for startups, and small business. We see Northspace for many as a launchpad out of a home offices or basements into a professional, but an exciting and vibrant environment, conducive to growing a business. We believe that everyone has something to contribute to the community, whether it's tax advice or someone to play with on the Xbox.

Is this your first business?: No. My background is Architecture and I started Noam Hazan Design Studio about 6 months before Northspace. My studio still operates and consists of a small team of 4 who also work out of Northspace.

What is the biggest reason for your success so far?: It's the Northspace vibe. The place is electric with enthusiasm, business transactions, networking and fun. In addition, there's something very welcoming about the space and the members.

What were the earliest indications that this business could be successful?: In addition to filling up very quickly, we have gained a lot of traction with local municipalities and potential investors. For the local municipalities, it's the appreciation of what we can bring to an area and investors understand the disruption to the tradition office leasing market and they want to ride the wave with us.

What position did you hire first?: We hired Ashley, our fabulous community manager. It was a unique role in the sense that some of the systems and protocols were being written on the fly through a sort of trial and error process. Whilst figuring some of these things out, she also had worn the agony aunt hat that dealt with everyone's queries and issues, making sure everyone stayed happy.

What is working best for your marketing right now?: We use a lot of social media like Instagram and Facebook as well as channels such as Kijiji.

What is your biggest differentiator?: We have two defining factors about Northspace. One, we have created not only a cool and trendy place to work but we also a really interesting environment whereby a decent percentage our members business comes from each other. 
Secondly, we focus outside the center of a city, offering an incredible workplace without the need to commute (hence why is ours).

What is the toughest decision you've had to make in the last few months?: Finding the area in which we are opening our next location has been an extremely difficult decision because we want to put all our energy in one larger location. We had a lot of interest and support from the mayor and business development department of a nearby city, who were going to promote us and make a transition into the city easier, but we made a difficult decision to stay near Toronto, where we are familiar with the market and already have potential tenants knocking on our door.

If it was possible, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?: If you have an idea, don't wait, because someone else will do it before you.

How did you meet your co-founders or business partners?: It's a funny story. When I just started my design studio, I did a lot of networking, which is how I met Aaron Zahler, one of my partners. We met in a dumpy old office, which at the time was meant to be a coworking office. Aaron realised that design was the missing link in a solid team of a Contractor and marketing guy (Meir) and I was able to not only bring my vision forward with things like the scotch room and honesty bar but also utilise the space from 6 offices and a hot desk area to 18 offices and 20 hot desks.

Favorite place to travel to?: London, England to see my friends and family. (During the time of year when it's least likely to rain).

What are your favorite things about coworking spaces?: The three Ps. People, Popcorn and Play.

What book are you most likely to give as a gift?: Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I probably read that book about 6 years ago and It ignited an entrepreneurial spark which I always knew I had, but never had the balls to implement.

What is your favorite small business in the town you grew up in?: I grew up in London with an abundance of startups but I remember one small business from the University of Manchester, which was this 24-hour convenience store moped delivery service. It was perfect for when you ran out of ketchup.

Do you have a favorite freelancer you have worked with?: Not a freelancer per se, but this awesome woman, Alana Kayfetz who runs a non-profit mentoring programme called Gensis, linking young professionals with established people in their chosen field for the purpose of Mentorship. They hosted an event at Northspace and she was fabulous to work with.

Noam Hazan

What is your favorite app or online tool?: The Wave app is incredible. It's easy to use accounting software. Highly recommend it!

What was the best event that you recently attended?: It was a charity event called Revolving Tables. There three courses and for every course, you rotate to a different table with a highly successful (and sometimes famous) person.

How did you finance your business?: At the start we all used our own capital, but when we realised that we needed capital to finish the first space we went shopping for an investor and 4th partner (Samuel).

What advice do you have for new founders?: Keep hustling. Constantly expand your network and love what you do! Give yourself deadlines, then break those deadlines for new ones.

Twitter: @Noamhazan

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