The 2012/02/14 at 13:41
In the space of four years, La Cantine has become a major rally point for digital players and nomad workers. At the entrance, a bar welcomes you with the inviting smell of coffee and pastries. On nearby couches, young people concentrate on the screens of their portable computers. Further on, an events space hosts a workshop. Today, the participants are discussing open source cartography. But they could very well have been gathered for a product launch, an IT application test, or a debate… “La Cantine has hosted 1,600 events since its creation in 2008,” explains Nathanael Sorin, a member of Silicon Sentier, the association that manages La Cantine. “Our field of action is very broad. What is important for us is creating synergies between the various digital players.”
Outside of specific events, coworkers fill the space. Developers (45 % of the public), entrepreneurs (25 %), journalists (15 %), jobseekers (10 %) or association workers (5 %), they all come to La Cantine as this is a place where they can work with an Internet connection, receive clients and organise meetings. But also and above all, meet persons they can communicate with. Here, they can share their experiences while taking advantage of those of others. “Some companies are even set up here, between coworkers who meet here,” recounts Sandrine Murcia, President of Silicon Sentier. “The coordination team has its role to play in these fertile exchanges: it accompanies regulars and links them.”
This environment is so stimulating that there are some who rent coworking spaces on the first floor by the month. This is the case of Damien Douani, creator of FADA, a digital consultancy agency: “La Cantine is a warm and energetic place, an idea incubator that gets your feet in the stirrup when you’re creating your start-up. And it’s an excellent remedy for the solitude of the entrepreneur!” A promising place that the region wishes to see evolve in order to remain avant-garde. In this way, it is soon to join the much vaster Grand Lieu Intégré de l’Innovation (GLII or Large Integrated Innovation Spot), and will comprise services including a coworking lab to experiment with practices set to spread to the new coworking spaces to flourish in Ile-de-France.
La Cantine, 151 rue Montmartre 75002 Paris. www.lacantine.org