In 2018 the paths of Swinburne alumni Michael Gui and Margaret Goenarto crossed serendipitously thanks to the business incubator 11th Space.
For Michael, 11th Space was a golden investment opportunity but for small business owner Margaret, it provided a critical support network that helped to grow her fledgling business.
Graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Business (Finance), Michael has held several roles and explored a number of opportunities across the finance sector.
It was in 2018 when Michael was scouting for new investment opportunities that his business partner Ivan Tandyo’s company Navanti Holdings decided to create 11th Space. 11th Space is a co-working space with a twist – it also operates as a business incubator for budding entrepreneurs to find partners, mentors, networks, investors and support to grow their business.
Michael was hooked on the concept of 11th Space first-hand and came on board as a strategic investor. Michael’s experience and existing networks meant that he was also able to connect Victoria’s entrepreneurial community with a wider ecosystem of accelerator programs, universities, corporations, mentors and partners who could support small business and startups at the growth stage.
‘Really, 11th Space was created out of the belief that entrepreneurs and businesses can make a greater impact given the right ecosystem of support,’ says Michael. ‘We work closely with our partners and networks in Australia and Asia, which consist of business specialists and government agencies, to help our members grow and expand their business potential locally and abroad.’
While Michael is now venturing into international markets with a second 11th Space hub in Jakarta, Indonesia, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the young entrepreneur.
Michael has a mild form of dyslexia and admits that without the support of teaching staff at Swinburne, he would have really struggled to cope with the pressures of his studies. ‘There were highs and lows but studying business at Swinburne provided me with such strong foundational skills and knowledge of business, management, finance and operations,’ he says.
One of those budding entrepreneurs was fellow Swinburne alum Margaret Goenarto. In 2015 Margaret started her own full-service interior design firm IM HOME, which has operated out of 11th Space since 2018. IM HOME services include consulting, décor, furnishing, renovation and property staging for both residential and commercial spaces. We sat down with Margaret to hear about her journey.
So Margaret, what did you study and when did you graduate?
I graduated from Swinburne with a Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) in 2008.
How did your education at Swinburne help you in your career?
Studying at Swinburne helped me to find my passion. It also helped me learn valuable business skills such as how to present to clients, create work drawings for construction and more.
What have been some of the challenges of starting your own business?
When I started IM HOME, the biggest challenge was finding the right network that could help me structure my company. I didn’t have any business experience, so that was really difficult.
What has it been like having the support of 11th Space?
I can honestly say that, as a complete business hub, 11th Space has given me and my company a lot of support. Through 11th Space, I have made many new industry contacts, mentors and potential clients. Being one of the tenants in 11th Space has helped me to grow my business to the next level.
What advice would you give to current Swinburne students?
Do your work with passion. Don’t be afraid if you fail, stand up again. Don’t give up and work hard because failure is part of success. Also, finding the right partner or support system is very important!