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Haymarket HQ mentors start-ups for growth into Asian markets

Welcome to Haymarket HQ
Welcome to Haymarket HQ, in the heart of Sydney's Chinatown.

ABC: Corey Hague

Written on one of the iconic gateways to Sydney's Chinatown is 'Towards Australian and Chinese friendship'. This is a message that Haymarket HQ firmly believes in.

They're the newest occupants to inhabit the bustling business strip in the heart of the CBD, but they're a little bit different to the restaurants, shops and karaoke venues that call Dixon Street home.

Haymarket HQ is the latest co-working space to pop up in Sydney, and what makes them so unique is that they're focussed on giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to enter the Asian business market.

The original idea for the space came from Haymarket HQ founder Brad Chan, who was keen to turn the unused property into something positive for the community.

"Brad and the rest of the team saw that people with Asian skills in Sydney were being underutilised in the corporate and start-up world, so he wanted to bring that all together with the location," says general manager Duco van Breemen.

General Manager of Haymarket HQ Duco van Breemen
General Manager of Haymarket HQ Duco van Breemen.

ABC: Corey Hague

So what exactly are Asian skills?

"The most obvious one is language skills - you have tons of people from China, Korea, Japan that have language skills that are very hard to acquire and they're not being utilised here in Sydney. Companies are not yet connecting with them, so we want to be that bridge," says Duco.

A new resident to Sydney himself, Duco has spent almost a decade living in China helping international companies expand into the region, as well as Chinese operations to take on the world.

Open for business in the heart of Chinatown
Open for business in the heart of Chinatown.

ABC: Corey Hague

He's extremely positive about the growing impact that entrepreneurs are having on business in Australia.

"The scene here is very vibrant, and there's lots of support and people who want to create a community and support each other."

Since opening in October, the space has already attracted businesses keen to develop closer links with the Asian market.

Duco says that fostering the right mix of businesses within the space is vital to the overall success of everyone involved.

"Setting up a co-working place isn't that difficult, but building the right community is a tough challenge, and that's why we're here. A lot of people want to grow into Asia, so our role is to educate people on what to expect and connect start-ups to each other and our network with the goal of helping them grow into Asia."

Luckily it's not all work and no play - the space will also be used to host events and offer workshops as a way to further grow networks and link people together.

"If you look at Australia's history, there's strong links with Asia, so we want to extend that and act as the glue for the community. It's about more than just the space."

A co-working space in Chinatown
Haymarket HQ offers a co-working space in the heart of Sydney's Chinatown.

ABC: Corey Hague

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