August 18, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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From the eco-pool to the training room: Antwerp entrepreneur Jaffer (33) develops an application where you can rent underutilized space (Antwerp)

From the eco-pool to the training room: Antwerp entrepreneur Jaffer (33) develops an application where you can rent underutilized space (Antwerp)

© Kocom, Patrick de Roo

Rising populations and rising housing prices require creative solutions. This is how businessman Jaafar Bedja (33) from Antwerp thinks. With its Cocom mobile app, it makes leisure and professional spaces accessible to everyone. Whether it is for work, meditation or celebration. It seems that we want to combat vacancies and underutilized spaces in the city.

Tess Jacobs

Photo studio, meadow filled with alpaca, eco-pool or rooftop terrace with a view of the city skyline. This is just a selection of the spaces offered by the Cocom app. The mind behind the organization, young entrepreneur Jaafar Bedja (33 years old), has a goal in mind with his startup: to reclaim lost space. “Due to the Corona crisis, we are starting to work more remotely and coexistence has also become a popular form of living together. There is a shift in the way of life and Kokum is a logical consequence of that,” says Pedeja.

If you wish, you can rent a room – in any form – during the day via Cocom for people who take advantage of it

Pink Restaurant in Nieuw Zuid is one of 150 places available on the app.

Pink Restaurant in Nieuw Zuid is one of 150 places available on the app. © Kocom

to have. “When I was still living with my mother, I saw how a parking space in front of the garage door was always occupied across the street. Whenever the owner wanted to get out of his garage, a horn would sound to find the owner of the parked car. That made me think,” says Pidja. “It’s a pity that spaces like this aren’t used because someone drives in or out of the garage for a few minutes a day.” In 2014, Bedja wrote his master’s thesis “Product Development” on the topic and came up with a solution to the problem. The digital number plate with the app will only create an additional 5,000 parking spaces between Leien and Singel.

The vision behind Cocom is similar. “Now that my brother and I have moved, my mother lives there on her own. So the piano room, the garden, and the meditation studio are rarely used. When you see how many people dream of relaxing or being creative in such places, it benefits everyone.” Creating a Cocom account is free for both the tenant and the owner. The team will come to take pictures of your room(s). When the room is booked, the host pays the service fee.

150 rooms

Outdoor spaces can also be rented, like this Japanese garden.

Outdoor spaces can also be rented, like this Japanese garden. © Kocom

Startit @ KBC Accelerator sees potential in the concept and has embraced the app. This gives the startup the opportunity to grow for a year within the corporate community The Beacon. and grow. What started as a single company has now turned into a dynamic team of seven. The thirty spaces to be leased in February are now one hundred and fifty.

Those who live in the city without a garden or terrace can barbecue with friends in a Japanese garden, and those who want to organize an event can visit the Hotel Suites De Gulde Schoen. “We are sometimes called Airbnb for dayrooms,” says Pedja. “With Cocom, we want to combat vacancies or underutilized spaces in the city and support creativity. We hope to be able to expand our concept abroad in the future,” it sounds ambitious.

www.cocom.be, Cocom in the App Store.

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