When it comes to business, the line between success and failure is often paper-thin, and this line has only gotten thinner with the arrival of the Pandemic which completely disrupted the economic landscape of the world. Last year we witnessed first-hand the importance of having proper insight; as many startups both locally and internationally, struggled to stay afloat.
Seeing this need, we introduced ‘Hatch Open House’, a three month mentorship program that connects mentors with startup founders to provide guidance and insight to grow their startup. Having first launched on 20th March 2020 the program successfully concluded five cohorts, despite the turbulent nature of the year, and is now returning in 2021 to aid even more startups!
“As Founders, you can be emotionally involved in every aspect of your startup and sometimes this can stop you from being clear headed. It’s important to have a council of mentors; you can de-risk your startup by implementing the best practices of successful companies. I agree that you can learn a lot from your own failings, but don’t confine your learning to your own experiences. You don’t get any leverage that way. Stand on the shoulders of others and your reach will be much higher. This is what we nurture through the Open House Mentorship Program”, said CEO of Hatch, Brindha Selvadurai.
As a hub for all things startup and a creative space for work, Hatch aimed to use the program to transform the business culture in Sri Lanka, by providing genuine opportunities for entrepreneurs to experiment ideas, acquire knowledge, and share lessons. It set up an environment and network in which businesses could thrive together as a community.
Hatch Open House was an extension of Hatch’s pre-existing mentoring program which launched in 2019, and began with a pool of 40 mentors from both the local and international market. Since then, Open House mentorship network has grown and now host 60+ mentors from industries including Health, Apparel, Telecommunication, Technology, Education, Insurance, Fintech, Food & Beverages, Business Services, Sales, Marketing, Advertising and Social Entrepreneurs.
Hailing from the local and international markets spanning over 4 continents, our mentors took part in 327 hours of mentoring sessions, where they helped startups address a variety of problems. These include problems related to sales during the pandemic, customer retention, cost and financial management, managing teams working from home, what to focus on- in terms of branding and storytelling during the pandemic, social media marketing and advertising, taxation relaxations, and many more issues respective to each startup.
In that year, Hatch supported and guided 100 startups from a multitude of industries like Apparel, Food and Beverages, Agriculture, Technology, Professional Services, Fintech, Gifting services, Hospitality, Construction, Health, Health Tech, Education Tech, Interior Design and Architecture, Insurance, Sales and Marketing.
Apé, a local startup which is set to raise awareness and enable circular consumption by providing a resale platform for pre-loved high-quality items, was one of the companies that took part in Hatch Open House. During the program, Founder Himali De Silva had one-on-one mentoring sessions with the expert mentors of the Hatch mentor network.
Himali worked directly with former Hatch CEO Randhula De Silva, who had given the young start-up numerous ideas around branding, positioning, and implementation that can be used to grow the Apé brand in the short as well as long term.
“Randhula has been a source of support and believer in my vision. She is not only an advocate for sustainable, circular living, but also embodies it in her consumption choices which made her the perfect fit as a mentor for me,” said Himali.
She stated that one of these ideas came in the form of the Apé collection bag, an innovative branding idea of having an Apé branded collection bag, akin to the laundry bags found in hotels. She stated that she implemented Randhula’s idea via getting an eco-friendly Apé branded collectors bag made, which received positive responses from the recipients, and acted as a physical branding tool.
Another mentee, Kithmal Warnasooriya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Elysian Crest, a software service-based startup which aims to initiate and establish neobanks in Sri Lanka, managed to use the knowledge he gained from the program to accelerate his timeline of success. The program helped Kithmal in areas which included assisting in the billing of their own IP, primary product innovation, establishing the start-up as a product-based company, and analysing the future potential and opportunities in the market. This helped the startup founder to fast-track his plans, and leave his nine to five job to run Elysian Crest full time.
Having seen the success of the program, this year Hatch will conduct Hatch Open House in weekly sessions, where the startups will have access to our mentors every week. In order to be a part of the program, contact [email protected] for more information or contact Hatch via any of their Social Media platforms.