London Welcomes Migrant Business Hub

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London-based Brazilian-born entrepreneur Rafael dos Santos is to open the capital’s first co-working space in Whitechapel dedicated to supporting migrant entrepreneurs.

The migrant-friendly co-working space, which is yet to be officially opened, will house up to 150 entrepreneurs and provides the necessary tools to run a business successfully. The fully-furnished mi-HUB will include a variety of facilities including boardrooms, private offices and meeting areas. Hot desking starts at just £99.00 per month and permanent desks from £329.00 per month.

Situated in Batty Street, close to Aldgate East tube station, mi-HUB offers an affordable starting point for entrepreneurial businesses and provides training through the Migrant Business Accelerator programme. The course lasts six months and consists of 16 different workshops to help 30 entrepreneurs develop skills in finance and marketing, as well as growing their corporate network.

mi-HUB has been created by London-based entrepreneur Rafael dos Santos who moved to London when he was 21 and worked as a kitchen porter, cleaner, glass collector and waiter to pay his expenses. He went on to run his own property business and is dedicated to supporting the growth of migrant entrepreneurs.

Rafael’s vision is to help one million migrant entrepreneurs in the next ten years.

The co-working space will be hosting its first event, The Migrant Business Show, on Wednesday 27 July 2016. Exhibitors from around the world in all fields of work will be taking part in the fair and sharing their experiences. The event provides an environment for migrant entrepreneurs and all kinds of small businesses to discover new opportunities and grow their network. Over 1,500 visitors are expected to attend.

Rafael dos Santos said, “Recent research in Stratford, London showed that the three key issues that migrants face when starting or running a business is a lack of network, lack of knowledge and lack of funding. The show in two weeks’ time addresses the network problem as stands are affordable – starting at just £100 – and tickets to attend the event are free of charge.”

The Migrant Business Show takes place on Wednesday July 27 from 17:30 to 22:30 at 6 Batty Street, Whitechapel, London E1 1RH.

mi-HUB offers four different options to businesses:

– £19 per month, small businesses can make use of a virtual address
– £99 per month, hot desking and use of facilities
– £329 per month, permanent desk with flexible terms (up to 10)
– £499 per month, Private office

About Rafael dos Santos

Rafael dos Santos, born in 1981, is a Brazilian-British multi-award winning entrepreneur who has lived in London since 2002.

Rafael lived his early years in Santa Catarina, a state in the south of Brazil. The son of a fisherman and a housewife, his humble beginnings led to his parents’ move to Santos (a city in Sao Paulo state) so Rafael and his two sisters could receive a better education.

At the age of 21, in 2002 Rafael moved to London, after living for two years in Sao Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities.

He left his job as a support analyst at Microsoft to learn English in London. Until 2003 Rafael worked as a kitchen porter, cleaner, glass collector and waiter to pay his expenses.

In 2003 an opportunity came along and he started managing houses. Between 2005 and 2014 he ran his own business – an agency that managed and let rooms in flat-shares. For eleven years Rafael rented accommodation to more than 2,000 young professionals and student migrants in London.

He grew the portfolio under his management from one to 50 homes, 15 members of staff and reached a turnover of £1.2m. In 2013 Rafael wrote a book – ‘Moving Abroad, One Step at a Time’ – published in English, Portuguese and Chinese and in Singapore and Malaysia.

In 2015 Rafael decided to support migrant entrepreneurs in their quest to start and grow their businesses. The first pilot project was the Migrant Business Accelerator – a 16-week programme where ten migrants were selected to attend workshops in marketing, finance and operations and 25 mentors donated their time to help the participants to launch their businesses. The programme evolved to become a co-working space named mi-HUB.

mi-HUB is London’s first co-working space to help migrant entrepreneurs have an office space as well as develop strategies to raise finance for their businesses. The office hub – which can house up to 150 entrepreneurs – is situated in Batty Street, close to Aldgate East tube station in Whitechapel, London.

Rafael is a guest lecturer at Regent’s University in London, where he teaches Entrepreneurship. He has won six business awards and has been the keynote speaker at several events around the world, including the World Entrepreneurship Forum in China in October 2015.

Most recently Rafael was featured in the Sunday Times as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the UK’, an award organised by Maserati and the Centre for Entrepreneurs.

His recent TEDx talk about his life story has been very well received and can be seen here. Rafael’s vision is to help one million migrants become entrepreneurs over the next ten years.

With the recent launch of his Migrant Business Show and the news of the opening of mi-HUB co-working space for migrant entrepreneurs, he is getting there closer by the day.