Having first launched on March 20, 2020, ‘Hatch Open House’, a three-month mentorship programme that connects mentors with start-up founders to provide guidance and insight to grow their start-up, successfully concluded five cohorts, despite the turbulent nature of the year and is now returning in 2021 to aid even more start-ups.
“As founders, you can be emotionally involved in every aspect of your start-up and sometimes this can stop you from being clear headed. It’s important to have a council of mentors; you can de-risk your start-up 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 Programme,” said Hatch CEO Brindha Selvadurai.
As a hub for all things start-up and a creative space for work, Hatch aimed to use the programme 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 programme, which was launched in 2019 and began with a pool of 40 mentors from both the local and international market.
Since then, the Open House mentorship network has grown and now hosts 60+ mentors from industries including health, apparel, telecommunication, technology, education, insurance, fintech, food and beverages, business services, sales, marketing, advertising and social entrepreneurs.
Hailing from the local and international markets spanning over four continents, its mentors took part in 327 hours of mentoring sessions, where they helped start-ups 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 start-up.
In that year, Hatch supported and guided 100 start-ups 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 start-up, 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 programme, 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 CEO of Elysian Crest, a software service-based start-up, which aims to initiate and establish neobanks in Sri Lanka, managed to use the knowledge he gained from the programme to accelerate his timeline of success.
The programme 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 start-up 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 programme, this year, Hatch will conduct Hatch Open House in weekly sessions, where the start-ups will have access to our mentors every week. In order to be part of the programme, contact email@example.com for more information or contact Hatch via any of their social media platforms.