Michael Moonesinghe is the CEO of Glover Daniels International, a Human Capital Consultancy firm based in Colombo. However, he is now probably much better known as the founder of the very popular EPFS Community Facebook group; one of the largest and probably the most popular online communities in Sri Lanka today.
Numbering over 33,000 members and still growing by over 200 new members a day! It’s an amazing platform for help and advice on just about anything.
His initiative to start Entrepreneur Hubs, a national network of co worker small business centres, began when Michael attended the Disrupt Asia conference in July this year, a very popular and successful event organised by the government agency, ICTA. With hundreds of entrepreneurs present, one of the most common complaints, which he heard over and over again, was the lack of access to affordable office space in convenient locations. This, coupled with the need to pay large advance rentals and security deposits burdens aspiring entrepreneurs with massive expenses,which can often kill off a great idea before it has even got started!
Michael decided that such a significant problem could not be ignored and so, in his own very fast moving entrepreneurial style, he decided to confront the issue head on and to provide a simple and practical solution himself. “One of the advantages of wholly owning a private company, is that we can make decisions and move quickly.”
Michael and his team certainly do move fast – alreadythey have opened three Business Hubs in Colpetty, Nugegoda and Mount Lavinia, offering places for over 200 people, with more Hubs in the pipeline over the coming year.
What is clear is that entrepreneurs are not simply renting a desk and a chair – which theycan already get in a crowded coffee bar – Entrepreneur Hubs provides ‘Hubbers’ something much, much more; the opportunity to become part of a vibrant, thriving and mutually supportive business community in a positive and mentoring environment. Entrepreneur Hubs is not trying to compete with those large companies which provide serviced offices to established businesses
Budding entrepreneurs also have access toassistance with all aspects of setting up and running a business, from marketing to finance and legal advice. Michael and his experienced team of mentors have each already set up and run many successful businesses themselves.
To ease the financial burdens,start-ups can pay their Hub membership fees just1 monthin advance and then sit down and start work. There are no big deposits, no longleases to be tied in to and all the required infrastructure is all included; fast wifi, air conditioning, new furniture, bookable meeting rooms even unlimited free tea, coffees and bottled water!
Seed funding and Angel investment capital are also available for suitable start-ups.Regular investor events areplanned. “Glover Daniels Consulting Solutions training team will help entrepreneurs with their presentation skills, personal coaching and development training to ensure that they make the very best first impression to these busy and often hard to impress Business Angels and High Net Worth investors,” Michael added.
“Co-working offers entrepreneurs and start-ups an amazing opportunity to be a part of something very special, an actual small business community, which they just don’t get when working from home or from a coffee bar – I know, because I have done both myself in my early career!” Michael said.
Michael and his team plan to open a network of at least 10 Business Hubs across Sri Lanka within the next 12-18 months. Their E_Hubs mobile app and intranet will shortly be connecting entrepreneurs and small businesses from all over the country, to enable better networking and collaboration opportunities.
“Someone in Jaffna may be able to assist or do business with another small business in Colombo or Galle, where at the moment they probably don’t even know about each other.” This will have an immediate and very positive impact on the country’s fast growing and essential SME sector.
Monthly Hub membership starts from as little as Rs. 12,000 (for mini Hubs), and Rs. 15,000 per month, all inclusive, for the larger Hubs.
Hot desking is available for just Rs. 1,000 for up to four hours (inclusive of free and unlimited tea, coffee and water). Bundles of 10 Full Day Hot desking visits can be bought for just Rs. 10,000.
Virtual Hubbing memberships are also available from as little as Rs. 5,000 per month which includes them in the online/App directory of small businesses. “Of course, I will be very pleased to bring these small businesses to the attention of my 33,000+ EPFS online Community. Let’s help the little guys!” Michael added with a big smile.
Michael’s latest new venture is geared to change the way that business is done across Sri Lanka, in much the same way that EPFS has brought communities of all races and religions closer together for everyone’s mutual benefit. Entrepreneur Hubs is set to become the crucial platformfor many successful business ventureslaunching in Sri Lanka.
For more information on Entrepreneur Hubs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or join their fast growing Facebook group: ‘Entrepreneur Hubs_Sri Lanka’.