Home Articles WeWork forms world-first partnership with disruptive Aussie edtech startup Zambesi

WeWork forms world-first partnership with disruptive Aussie edtech startup Zambesi


Disruptive education platform Zambesi has formed a world-first partnership with global workspace leader, WeWork to create a global campus for the thousands of professionals and experts joining Zambesi.

Described as the Airbnb of education, Zambesi disrupts traditional education with a marketplace model that enables high-profile business leaders to create and lead their own accelerated face-to-face training programs whilst retaining their IP.

WeWork is a shared community space company with over 280 locations across the globe, and more than 268,000 members.  In Australia, the fast-growing business has six open locations and a further five announced, including its first Brisbane location which will open by the end of 2018.

What is the story behind Zambesi?

Founded by serial entrepreneur Rebekah Campbell in November 2017, Zambesi has already enrolled more than 5,000 professionals in its platform and offers 40 different courses featuring high profile experts including:

  • Stephen Scheeler, former Facebook CEO for ANZ (Disruptive Digital Leadership)
  • Andrianes Pinantoan, Head of Growth for Canva (Growth Marketing)
  • Hiam Sakakini, former Head of Leadership Development for Google Asia (Leading Innovation)
  • Craig Davies, former Director of Security at Atlassian (Cybersecurity for Business Leaders)
  • Mahesh Muralidhar, Head of People at Airtasker (People and Culture Masterclass)
  • Chris Iona, Former Head of Engineering at Hipages (Tech Team Leadership)
  • Mark Baartse, Head of Marketing at Showpo (Digital Marketing)
  • Fleur Brown, cofounder TEDxSydney (Public speaking and personal branding)

Zambesi which opened its doors in November 2017, has already expanded its Australian footprint, from its base in Sydney, to offer programs within Melbourne from September, and Brisbane from November. The majority of the national programs will be held within WeWork’s premises. In the coming year, Zambesi will look to roll out  its programs offshore, taking advantage of WeWork’s expansive global network of creators.

What is the story behind WeWork?

Founded in New York City in 2010, WeWork is a privately-held company with more than 6,000 employees. WeWork Australia’s General Manager, Balder Tol spearheaded the Australian initiative with Zambesi to both extend opportunities for WeWork’s community and continue the company’s mission to foster collaboration and innovation.

“We are delighted to partner with Zambesi in Australia. WeWork believes that the way people want to work, live and play has changed. People want human connection now more than ever, and coming together in real and meaningful ways is here to stay. Tol said.

Our members are companies of all sizes, in all industries. Community is key and everything we do is centred around building collaborative communities and real life connections,”

“WeWork’s mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. Educational programs such as Zambesi bridge the critical gaps between technology and the ever-changing workforce,” he said.

How exactly does Zambesi work?

Campbell said Zambesi is designed to offer professionals and businesses an alternative to established training institutions. “By enabling expert leaders to create and coach their own content, and host classes in fluid coworking spaces such as WeWork, our training is much more current, practical and lower priced.  Zambesi is to traditional learning what AirBNB is to hotels.’

In a departure from the traditional professional training approach and the edtech model of digital learning, all courses are face-to-face featuring experts in the field for small groups of up to 12. These one-day sessions are designed to be interactive, enabling participants to leave fully equipped to act on their learning.

Zambesi is continually evolving to teach future-of-work skills and its success lies in its appeal with all levels of the workforce who want access to the best minds in Australia’s fastest-growing companies.

“The world is changing so quickly, our courses resonate with executives and business owners who want to stay ahead of their field. Even the most agile training institutions can’t create courses that can keep up with the pace of change,” Campbell explained.

Zambesi’s leadership team has also expanded, with experienced Executive and Company Director Kim Hughes joining Campbell as a partner in the business. Hughes, was previously General Manager of Business Transformation, Business Direct and Small Business, at National Australia Bank.

With the rise of virtual communities, employees are gearing up to work more flexibly in terms of both hours and location in the next five years. Australian capital services company Archer Solutions says “contingent workers” make up 30 per cent of Australia’s workforce and this is expected to rise to 40 per cent by 2020. The surgence of the gig economy follows US trends with 50 per cent of the workforce expected to be freelance, “in some capacity”, by 2020.

According to Campbell, digital disruption has created more freedom and opportunities for Australia’s existing and emerging workforces.

“We’re seeing people take control of their own training and skills development and design their own career path – rather than waiting for their employer to instigate that for them.