Meet Simone Materazzi

Part of the Rural Coworking Project

Originally from Tuscany, I was born in Florence and later moved between Pistoia and Lucca. My last years in Italy were spent in the charming city of Lucca before I eventually made Switzerland my home.

In 2002, I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey in my hometown of Tuscany, establishing my own IT business. The early years were formative, but in 2009, I made a strategic move to Milan, recognising the growing landscape of technology in the city. It was there that I met Pietro Martani  who was part of Copernico S.r.l. , lately acquired by IWG plc (Regus) in 2021, and was a steadfast collaborator in shaping our business endeavours. At the time, the concept of coworking and smart workspaces was in its infancy. We envisioned creating something more advanced within the flexible workspace realm.

It was in Milan, 2010, that our venture began. We had started the company with a modest 400-square-metre building hosting around 60 individuals. The usual approach of selling office space with no community and no services felt wrong. So we had to revolutionise the coworking industry. Our experiments proved successful, leading us to operate a 4000-square-metre space and attracting major corporations like Amazon, Kaspersky, and The key to our success lay in understanding the universal need for human connection, idea exchange, and customisation.

From 2010 to 2021, our journey took us through the operation of 17 buildings, encompassing close to 80,000 square metres. Accommodating up to 25,000 people for events, private offices, and coworking spaces. Regus, a prominent player in the field, approached the business model differently, focusing on technology around buildings. I diverged by developing IT solutions centred around people. This approach allowed for a vibrant community. But conflicting business models led me to step away from the company in 2022.

Soon after my departure I decided to embark on a new venture in Switzerland, called Enable.Work SA. At the core of our services is the direction of advisors towards a diverse clientele. This spans individuals, corporations, landlords, and coworking spaces. Our specialisation lies in crafting flexible and innovative solutions for those seeking to optimise and transform their spaces. What sets us apart is our commitment to offering a comprehensive experience. We go beyond consultancy to provide integrated technologies that serve as a “one-stop shop” for our customers. Whether it’s implementing access control, setting up WiFi printing, or facilitating digital signatures. We ensure that every aspect is seamlessly integrated into a singular, efficient solution. is not just a consultancy; it’s a catalyst for transformative, tech-enabled spaces designed to meet the growing needs of our diverse client base.

In the post-pandemic era, I’ve come to believe that rediscovering the value of staying close to home is not just a nostalgic sentiment. It’s a practical approach to work and life. The pandemic forced a reevaluation of what is considered feasible. It challenged the notion that commuting long distances or working exclusively from home suits everyone universally. For me, having a local workspace within a reasonable distance from home has proven psychologically beneficial. It fosters focus and productivity while maintaining a strong connection to the local community and culture. Mirroring the pre-pandemic work environment but with the added convenience of proximity to home.

In this pursuit, I’ve found that the concept of rural coworking is an avenue worth exploring. However, I recognise that there’s more to it than simply promoting the idea. Rural coworking requires a blueprint, a collaborative effort to guide its implementation.We need a structured approach to help rural communities start their own coworking spaces. Community life is enriching, but to make rural coworking a reality there must be a strategic push. Involving feasibility studies, engagement strategies, and hands-on coaching to empower local operators.

Despite the untapped potential of rural coworking, I see a gap that needs filling. We need practical support, a clear blueprint for communities to follow, and joint efforts to showcase successful models. Without those, there is no point to preaching the advantages. Investment in rural coworking spaces run by locals creates a blend of work with the local culture. This makes staying close to work not only feasible but also enriching for both individuals and communities.

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