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More about Moar

  • Published at 12:24 pm July 10th, 2016
More about Moar

In the world of entrepreneurship, it is difficult to come across genuinely innovative ideas that make a difference to our continuously developing society. Two individuals have partnered to form Moar, an innovative business that provides co-working space for those who cannot manage an office of their own.

The dynamic duo of Nahid Sharmin and Nabila Nowrin shares with us their thoughts regarding innovation and how Moar came to be.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

Nabila:I’ve never really thought about it like that; it’s not like I deliberately wanted to avoid working under someone. I think that’s important too, to learn work from someone while still using training wheels. But for me, business was always fascinating. I wanted to take apart the concept of creating and maintaining a business. Moreover, both my parents are in the business sector and seeing them inspired me to follow that path. I also felt that being a business person in Bangladesh would create a greater impact than being an employee at a company.

Nahid:I’ve always been interested in doing something of my own. In fact, while I was still at BRAC University, I started my own boutique. It ended up being a bad idea but I learned a lot from the experience. I’m someone who observes what others are doing with great fascination and most of all, I try to learn from their mistakes; and that is exactly what I did while working for Bengal Foundation. At a certain point, however, I realised that while there is no end to learning, and it was high time I found a way to apply my knowledge. Otherwise, it would all go to waste. That’s when I knew I had to start my own business.

The birth of an idea

In 2013, Nabila went to Brazil where “Itau Unibanco,” the largest financial conglomerate in the Southern hemisphere, required her services. They wanted her to come up with a business strategy for the millennials. In other words, they wanted a sustainable business strategy for the future of banking. Once Nabila started talking to some of the residents of Sao Paolo, she came to know that a large group consisting of the most intelligent and hardworking individuals, was working in shared “co-working” spaces.

Since she was also aware of the socio-economic conditions of Brazil, Nabila saw that Bangladesh was actually just a few years behind what Brazil had achieved by then. The idea then occurred to her to come back to Bangladesh and open a co-working space.

With the help of Tauseef, who she would later marry, she created a business plan for her idea. Nabila mentions that Tauseef was an economist in Bangladesh and has been a great source of support for her venture. She then sent the plan to her father who warned her that this would be a costly investment. Despite the negative aspects, Nabila moved forward. She spoke to some of her friends about it every time she visited Dhaka, and among those friends Nahid took great interest in the project.

Nahid’s husband, Tonmoy, who was a freelancer and part of the target customer group of Moar, further encouraged the idea and reassured her and Nabila of its necessity. Once Nabila completed her studies and came back to Dhaka, she got married and used the money she received during her wedding to fund Moar.

What were the first few steps taken to set up Moar?

The first 6 months were dedicated solely to planning and hashing out all possible details regarding the business. A key part of their discussion also included analysing whether they would make a good fit as business partners. As Nabila says, “At the end of the day, it’s a relationship that we have to work on, on a daily basis.”

After deciding everything starting from costs structures to working hours and so forth, they finally decided to take the plunge and started looking for space to rent. Once they rented their current place in Banani 11, they were given a grace period of 17 days.

Luckily,” says Nahid, “We are architects and could very quickly jump into the project and get everything done within such a short period of time. We worked day and night to make it what it is today. Other than the floor and the partially done toilets, we pretty much had nothing else to work with.”

At that point, they had already started marketing tidbits for Moar on social media.

What were the obstacles that you faced?

According to them, the initial cost was extremely high and financial barriers were present. Second of all, they said that conveying the right message to the people regarding Moar and what it’s about was a difficult task.

While the idea of co-working space did exist before, it was for a closed group of people, namely tech related freelancers. The access to this concept was very limited. Also, Moar is the first to provide such services to people living in or near Banani.

Another problem they faced was making sure the environment of Moar was not disrupted. They had to create a system such that certain groups were naturally filtered out.

Nahid said, “This is a problem we are still dealing with. People have a hard time understanding the concept of sharing space.” Moreover, they had to make sure women felt safe and comfortable in the atmosphere created by the people working at more.

One other problem we faced,” added Nabila, “was finding the necessary human resources.” The first problem was finding someone of the kind of mindset required, followed by allocating the amount of time needed to train someone.

What is innovation to you?

Nabila: I know people tend to make a big deal out of innovation by making it seem like something very flashy and eye catching. But innovation to me is technology and progress that is quiet; it seeps into our lives and makes everything better without us really noticing.

Nahid: I feel that valuing other people is very important. I complain every day about the condition of the streets in Banani right now. But I know that the drainage system in Banani is terrible and whoever came up with the idea of fixing this problem was thinking about the long-term benefit of the people. I think that’s innovation.

There are many talented individuals out there who, for example, have a three-week long project and cannot manage to set up a working place for such a short span of time. These are the people that may benefit greatly from Moar. Even start-ups who cannot afford their own space may make great use of this concept.

In turn, Moar is providing the encouragement needed for the development of innovation that otherwise would not have been possible due to lack of basic needs, such as a proper working space and environment.

Article was published under special arrangement with www.developers-haat.com

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