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Number of individual entrepreneurs, coworking offices grows

The last four years has seen a 25% rise in the number of individual entrepreneurs in Hungary, with almost every tenth Hungarian working as one, prompting a rapid growth in the number of coworking offices in line with global trends, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Some individual entrepreneurs, especially freelancers, tend to work from home, cafés, or coworking offices (image by UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock.com).

The number of individual entrepreneurs grew in nearly all economic sectors, according to data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH), cited in the press release from The Paradise Project, which offers coworking camps and "digital nomad" tours. While there were already more than 390,000 individual entrepreneurs registered in September 2014, the number had jumped to about 488,000 by this September, representing a growth of approximately 25%.

The most significant boom was registered in the IT and communications sector, where the number of individual entrepreneurs rose by 89% in the period. There was also a significant bump (58%) in the number of individual entrepreneurs in the arts and entertainment industry, while the real estate, scientific, and tech sectors also recorded a rapid rise of around 50%.

Data from Eurostat, the European Commissionʼs statistical agency, show that some 10% of all those employed in Hungary were individual entrepreneurs in 2016, somewhat below the EU-28 average of 14%.

While there is no official information available about the number of freelancers in Hungary at the moment, the link between the terms "individual entrepreneur" and "freelancer" is strong. In Hungary, an individual entrepreneur is a person who holds an entrepreneurʼs license and is the owner of a one-man company. Freelancers are those who do not work as permanent employees of one firm, but are usually in contract with multiple companies, doing project-based work, explains the press release.

Freelancers tend to lack a permanent workplace, meaning that they work from home, cafés, or coworking offices. The number of such offices has also been on the rise in the last few years.

"The number of freelancers is growing rapidly around the world, and the trend is followed by the infrastructure that serves them: while there were only 7,800 coworking offices in the world in 2015, their number is 17,000 this year," says Noémi Matykó, co-founder of The Paradise Project. "The growth was needed, as while about 500,000 people worked in such offices three years ago, they now serve more than two million members," she notes.

Most coworking offices operate in Asia (nearly 4,000), as the continentʼs low prices represent a significant attraction for "digital nomads" around the globe. Freelancers might find somewhat fewer offices in the U.S. (3,200) and Europe (3,000).

In Hungary, Budapest hosts nearly 30 coworking offices of varying sizes, with countryside hubs such as Szeged, Győr, and Debrecen also offering such services.