These Two Australian Brothers Have Set up a Co-working Space for Migrant Entrepreneurs
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Docklands based Hatch Quarter is one of its kind co-working space, which helps migrant and refugee entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses in Australia.
Started by two brothers Aiman and Mo Hamdouna in 2015, Hatch Quarter helps to bridge the gap between local and international entrepreneurs.
The niche target market chosen by the company stands it out in the already crowded market of the co-working industry.
What prompted them to choose such target market and how it all started? We speak to founders Aiman and Mo Hamdouna to know more about it.
A few years ago, when brothers Aiman and Mo Hamdouna came to Australia to complete higher education, they were taken aback by the cultural differences, unknown language and the lack of support in the country.
Like every immigrant, they also had to go through the difficulties in understanding the ecosystem in Australia and make their own place. “I had the funds to support my studies, however, it wasn’t an easy journey starting afresh in a new country,” says Hamdouna. Soon after completing studies, both the brothers started their working life.
“After working with multiple entrepreneurs, businesses, enterprises and medium-to-large organizations, we realized that entrepreneurs require different types of services in the early stages to support their growth,” says Hamdouna.
They realized that there is a huge potential in the co-working space as a lot of migrant entrepreneurs are looking to start a business in Australia. Reminiscing his old days, Aiman says, that they can relate with the mindset of an immigrant entrepreneur very easily. “Their decision-making process and expectations are different from established businesses. They require a community of like-minded people and not just service providers. This is the very reason we launched a co-working space. To create a community that can support each other throughout their startup journey,” he says.
“Never underestimate the potential of a good support community which can help you assimilate into a new environment,” he quips.
Like every businessman, they also faced challenges in steering their entrepreneurial journey ahead. The duo spoke about the initial challenges they faced and how they overcame them. “Lack of knowledge of the requirements to establish a compliant entity for its perspective industry as well as establishing partnerships to support the vision to raise entrepreneurs and startups into businesses that can sustain themselves, grow with eagerness, and make a lasting difference to their industries,” they explain.
Whether the company is restricted to Australia only or has expansion plans outside Australia too? The duo replies, “We are planning to expand in Australia and internationally to allow our startups to expand with ease.” They emphasize, “We have a strong relationship with international markets such as the ASEAN and MENA region. “
The company’s focus also gained them recognition from the Government of Victoria too. “We received a government grant by LaunchVic as a Victorian state government startup agency to support the International Entrepreneurs in Australia (InterPreneur) meetup group, which has over 3,000 members.”
“We have organized multiple events with high profile speakers that have been attended by over 500 attendees,” he adds.
The government’s support helped the startup achieve success in less a span of time.
“The grant will also help build the Playbook for new migrants and refugees who are taking the first step into the startup community in Victoria,” says Aiman.
The Playbook is a startups guide that includes useful techniques to get established for those individuals who are starting up. It can help in finding network directories, and interact with other established international entrepreneurs, who have found success in Australia. It was successfully launched and translated to five languages including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi and Arabic.
“This subject is close to our heart as we were migrants ourselves and wanted to share the knowledge we have accumulated in our careers with new migrants to fast-forward their journey here in Victoria,” shares Aiman.
The company has also opened doors to the entrepreneurial community to hold events and for entrepreneurs to use the space free-of-charge at the start to build trust and network. Its primary focus is on emerging tech world, but will eventually expand into different sectors seeing the potential.