Header bg
  • section background

    Jason Wong: Leading Surrey’s coworking movement

    Hero bg 2
    jason-wong-top

    Coworking spaces are one of the hottest urban trends sweeping across major hubs all over the world, due in large part to the rise of entrepreneurship among millennial workers. You’ll find several of these spaces in one high density urban area alone, but many smaller cities (mainly suburban areas) don’t have them at all.

    Despite its recent jump in economic outlook, Surrey, B.C. was one of those cities. However, the city has a slowly growing coworking movement, and at its forefront is Jason Wong — entrepreneurial superstar and co-founder of Beta Collective.

    Wong is an avid ambassador for shared economies and collaborative strategies, so it’s no surprise that he opened what he said was Surrey’s first coworking space. Located near major bus routes and sky train stations, Beta Collective serves local professionals by renting out private office, flexible desk, and boardroom space designed to accommodate a variety of start-ups and non-profit organizations.

    Beta Collective was Wong’s first serious business venture. Prior to its conception in 2012, Wong worked as a marketing consultant for a network of nonprofits. After being introduced to popular coworking spaces such as The Hive and The Network Hub in Vancouver, he was inspired to build a coworking office closer to his home in the suburbs.

    Beta Collective // Courtesy Robyn Bessenger Photography

    Wong knew that choosing Surrey for his first foray into office building would come with a complicated set of benefits and challenges. Surrey is a developing city, meaning that there is a competitive advantage when it comes to obtaining social visibility and affordable rent compared to its more established neighbouring cities. Most importantly, Surrey was a place where the community was directly in need of a coworking space; all he needed to do was deliver the supply.

    Indeed, when Wong opened the first Beta Collective office to the public in 2013, the business immediately gained lots of traction. It became successful enough that he was able to leave his consulting job and turn Beta Collective from a side hustle into a full time commitment. He was also able to co-found YVR Prep, his second business venture, just four years after.

    “I can truly say that it doesn’t feel like work,” he says about running Beta. “I’m surrounded and inspired by other people’s hustle. Often, these people are aspiring entrepreneurs with really cool ideas, and thanks to my marketing foundation, I can help with the mentoring side of their journey. We have really good conversations, and that’s where I get jazzed.”

    While there are practical benefits to starting a business here, the biggest challenge in attracting clients to Surrey stems from the city’s unpopular reputation. As a member of several boards and organizations, Wong takes every opportunity to combat the huge Surrey stigma and highlight the virtues of its tight-knit community.

    “People assume things about Surrey, but it’s a unique place–it definitely has a big city growth with a small town feel. It has a vibrant, supportive entrepreneurial community, and many are unaware that major corporations and their sister offices exist here,” he presses. “A significant advantage of having a business here is that Surrey doesn’t have the same density that Vancouver does. You don’t have to fight to be visible. There are opportunities here that people overlook for stereotypical reasons.”

    Yet, getting a leg up in suburban business circles can be difficult when there are less educational resources and connections. “Join a board of directors,” advises Wong to address this problem. “Don’t be afraid to approach someone on a board and ask, ‘Hey, what do you do and how do you do it?’ Sitting on a board is where networking is truly valuable. It will help increase your visibility and get you invited to a bunch of events, which in turn, will pull you to the real connections you want to make…. As long as you’re passionate about their mission, of course. Surround yourself with people who are bigger and better. And don’t underestimate what you can offer a board. It’s completely a two-way street; they have just as much to learn from you as you do from them.”

    Apart from opening a second office for Beta Collective, Wong’s next goals include onboarding more nonprofits and social enterprises and sitting on a tech-centric board, as he has always been, in his words, “fascinated by what the tech guys are doing.” As the appeal of entrepreneurship grows, he hopes to see other coworking spaces pop up in Surrey in the next few years.

    Originally published November 14, 2020, updated August 25, 2023

    Back to APOLLO Magazine
    Share this article

    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Get a free quote

    4.7 rating

    Google Logo

    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Relevant articles

    marketing ideas for small business Canada

    17 Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Business

    does tenant insurance cover damage to landlord’s property

    Can a Landlord Make You Get Tenant Insurance?

    scope of tenant insurance canada

    What Do You Need for Tenant Insurance?

    Pros and Cons of Hiring a Real Estate Agent for Rentals

    Pros and Cons of Hiring a Real Estate Agent for Rentals

    section background
    section background

    Getting insured is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3

    Tell us (very little) about yourself
    1

    Tell us (very little) about yourself

    Just tell us your address, your name, email and phone number. And that's it. We'll give you a price in less than a minute.

    Pay online easily and securely
    2

    Pay online easily and securely

    You can choose to pay monthly or save money by paying for the entire year in one easy payment.

    Get your documents in your inbox - instantly
    3

    Get your documents in your inbox - instantly

    As soon as you complete your purchase, you'll find your proof of insurance and policy documents waiting for you in your inbox.

    Get covered today - it couldn’t be easier

    We’ve provided more than 1,000,000 quotes to Canadians just like you. Give it a try!

    Google Logo

    Reviews

    4.7 rating

    1,781 reviews

    view all

    Across Canada

    Contact Us
    Apollo logo

    © 2024 APOLLO Insurance Solutions Ltd.

    111 Water Street, Unit 210, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 1A7

    APOLLO Insurance Agency Ltd. (o/a APOLLO Brokerage in the province of Ontario only) is a licensed retail brokerage, offering our clients with a comprehensive set of insurance solutions to meet their individual needs. APOLLO Insurance Agency Ltd. maintains necessary corporate licensing in provinces across Canada. Availability of products and service depends on licensing and product availability. The information that appears on this page is provided for information purposes only. Advertised products and prices are not guaranteed and vary based on insurance provider and/or insurance company's discretion and product availability.

    Transparency and Disclosure: APOLLO Insurance Agency's role is to provide you with exceptional service and the best insurance products that suit your needs. As a licensed retail brokerage, our compensation is based on a commission basis already built into your insurance premium and varies based on the product purchased through our platform. For a description of how APOLLO Insurance Agency is compensated and how this is calculated, please refer to our Compensation Disclosure document. For consumers in Ontario, please review the RIBO Conduct Fact Sheet and the RIBO Conduct Guidance document.