Thank you for having this interview with FWS
Please tell us briefly the nature of your business:
Mike -My business is called Kabi Solar: it’s a solar development and Management Company; that started up in 2008-2011 and we are developing a number of projects in South Africa.
One of the reason why we chose Flexible Workspace and it’s attraction for start-up companies is the ability to plug in and play quickly for a cost effective rental.
The Sandton location is perfect for us, as our business requires us to have many meetings with banks and lawyers and they are all a short walk away.
The Flexible Workspace environment looks modern professional and that is what we are looking for as a new company, as a young company.
What would be a key point for a start-up business?
To know and accept that it’s going to be hard. I worked for banks and big financial corporations for 25 years; it is a very comfortable life you can have knowing that you get paid every month, but in my case I took the decision in 2008 to start my own business.
You have to make adjustments to your lifestyle and marriage. When it comes to the business, you need absolute patience, and persistence: you don’t have to be the smartest but if you are persistent and know your space you’re more likely to be successful.
What sort of infrastructural obstacles can you expect when starting a company?
Flexible workspace is our second experience in serviced office space. For the first year of the business I worked from home, but it is important mentally to have a space that is for work and one for home.
In our first serviced office, we were on the third floor of the building, there was a strip club around the corner and a school next door and you just get that feeling you’re not in the right environment.
With Flexible Workspace it is much more professional. We are close to the banks, which for us is a key part of the business, the parking is convenient for us and our clients. The building is well maintained and being so close to the Gautrain has become more and more of an advantage and since our business also involves liaising with government, the N1 to Pretoria is close by.
As our company grows, first prize for us would be to try and make that configuration to grow within the Flexible Workspace environment.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to a start-up company and what’s your approach to meeting this challenge?
Finance is always the biggest challenge. Our type of business is typically funded through angel investors or venture capital companies which are scarce in South Africa and banks avoid this area of financing. Oddly enough though, energy and particularly the renewable energy sector is seen as sexy these days so investor interest is certainly increasing.
By Brad Porter