What Is A Business Hub?
A business hub is a virtual or physical platform or location that harnesses & brings communities of people together that are involved in various spectrums of business. The thrust is to promote collaboration, sharing of ideas, innovation & business development.
The Importance Of Business Hubs
Business hubs create environments where support can be provided for rooted or budding businesses. Startups & businesses in their conception or infancy stages get to leverage on the knowledge & expertise of already well established businesses.
This is a place where you are most likely going to meet like-minded people & thus, subsequently striking partnerships deals. Due to the highly social & interactive nature of the environment set up by a business hub, it’s quite easy to get pertinent information on wide ranging issues. This is because information sharing is mostly characteristic of business hubs.
Usually when someone wants to start a business they go to great extents to do things solo. This is premised on a various number reasons, one of which is to eliminate the need to involve other people that might need to be remunerated. Someone operating like this can capitalize on a business hub because you can get information & even free training or assistance that will help you effectively service your initial business operation needs.
The other aspect is that mostly it’s relatively difficult for investors/financiers to locate entrepreneurs & the reverse is also true. In a business hub setting, if you are an entrepreneur you can present or pitch your business idea with substantial exposure that will easily catch the eye of prospective investors or financiers. Investors or financiers tend to go to business hubs to scout for innovative business ideas or startups that they can finance.
You will most likely find a scenario where virtually all key business stakeholders will be congregated in one place. Stakeholders such as investors, financiers, suppliers, distributors etc, thus, you will enjoy the convenience of ease & less cost to get in touch with such stakeholders.
Business hubs stimulate economic performance by fostering business activity & development and the creation of employment. The small & medium enterprises sector is vast and is key to the overall economic development of the nation. Players in this sector are the majority attendees & beneficiaries of platforms such as business hubs.
What To Consider When Starting A Business Hub
When developing or creating a business hub you must think of addressing a specific field or area e.g. agriculture, technology, e-commerce etc. Then you consider which avenue you want to pursue, either the virtual (online) or the physical one. I would suggest that you leverage on both since the virtual world is still steadily picking up momentum in the country. Thus, you will have to either purchase or rent out a substantially sized space or building that you will use to house your business hub initiatives. Then you will augment that with an online platform which will compliment your physical efforts.
Once that’s done you need to come up with innovative ways of bringing people together in a way that’s engaging & facilitates networking and collaboration of people in the business field. Some innovative ways are seminars, conferences, talk shows, power talks, meet & greets, focus group discussions, workshops, mentorship programs, training programs, public lectures, exhibitions, festivals etc.
How To Commercialize A Business Hub
The first port of call is to develop a subscription mechanism; people willing to join the business hub & enjoy its services must pay membership/subscription fees. The idea will be to strategically package the subscriptions such that each carries its own unique level of access & benefits.
Then you will ensure that all events that you hold will be ticketed such that you realize revenue from each event you hold. Though, of course, some events you might not charge for entry depending on the nature of the event. You can also charge fees for service providers willing to sell their products or services during your events.
If a business hub is well organized it’s obvious you will attract lots of human traffic. You can then leverage on this by having advertisers pay to advertise their products & services on your website, your premises or your events.
The other revenue strategy will be to charge for the use of your physical premises for venue hire for different types of business-related functions. It is common for business hubs to house what are commonly referred to as co-working spaces that you can charge for entry or hire.
Implications For Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is laden with vast untapped potential that awaits innovative thinkers to unlock. Small & medium enterprises are a major player in the Zimbabwean economy. Business hubs then are a very important catalyst to stimulate growth in that sector. Business hubs, if well managed, can actually grow to a point where a whole town can become a business hub. There is a need for more and more business hubs to erupt and service the many business fields in Zimbabwe. There are always more & greater results achieved if people collaborate and put their heads together. Thus it’s imperative that we, as a nation, see more & more business hubs emerging.
A business hub is actually a great business idea that can generate revenue whilst at the same giving birth to and enhancing other businesses. It’s a very diverse, dynamic and exciting field that I urge Zimbabwean people to consider venturing into. There are a lot of unused spaces & buildings that we can transform into business hubs; plus the limitless virtual (online) world is there for us to build on in expanding & optimizing the business world. Let’s bring the Zimbabwean people together for the growth of this great nation.