This International Women’s Day, organizers are encouraging participants to #PressForProgress, noting that gender equality is 200 years away. The day is an important moment to stop and recognise the achievements of women everywhere, how far we’ve come when it comes to gender equality, and how far we have to go. The Xero community is full of amazing women doing incredible things. We talked to some of them about the challenges they’ve faced and what International Women’s Day means to them.
Elaine Tsung, of Garage Society in Hong Kong, tells us her story on how running a business is like raising a family.
More than just a co-working space
A former investment banker, Elaine has been immersed in the co-working space industry for more than seven years. She’s witnessed first-hand the tremendous growth of co-working spaces in Hong Kong. Now with four locations in Hong Kong and two in Cambodia and Thailand, she describes Garage Society as more than a co-working space, but rather a community platform.
Its mission is entrenched in three pillars: co-work, co-learn (through their Garage Academy events) and co-invest (their own proprietary fund, Garage Society Investment Partners, invests in startups that focus on lifestyle and social impact).
Having grown the Garage Society co-working spaces to six locations in three countries, Elaine has set her sights on further regional expansion. Two more in the Philippines, one in India and two in Singapore.
Knowing how to run a business is essential. “Any workspace operator needs to have a good space and a convenient location,” says Elaine. “But more important is how you run your business; the software, the people, the team. How we work for them, but at the same time how we work with them.”
Raising a business
With the growth of startups and larger companies looking to make cost-effective real-estate arrangements, the co-working space market in Hong Kong has boomed. With more than 40 co-working options in the city, the pressure is on for co-working space operators to distinguish themselves from the rest.
“To me, running a business is very similar to raising a child. It takes a lot of tender loving care but if your child is taught and brought up right, you would have raised a responsible adult that contributes to society,” says Elaine.
“So as a business owner, I see myself as its parent. I will need to make sure that the company’s value and growth direction are right, while devoting resources in developing my team so they can help support business growth.”
To budding entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, Elaine divulges a piece of advice. “Pick something you really love. That’s the only way you’ll have the perseverance in the long-run to run your business successfully.”