Wim Somers says that Glowfish will provide excellent, centrally-located serviced office space for little more than the price of a couple of coffees in Starbucks. Words by Mark Bibby Jackson.
Sometimes the hardest thing in business is to come up with a novel idea. So it comes as an added bonus when you find one lying in your in-tray when you take up the new job. That’s what happened to Wim Somers when he took up his position as director of marketing for Heritage Estates in August last year.
“Glowfish is not really my baby, I adopted the baby,” admits the Belgian national of the new serviced offices his company is letting to clients.
With their central location, a 10-minute walk from both Asoke BTS and Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link, and ample parking, the offices are clearly well located, but Somers claims that Glowfish is more than just about location.
“When you move to a new country, you don’t have a network,” he says referring more to entrepreneurs than to people working for large corporations. “We are targeting people from businesses who would rather spend money on building the business rather than on the extravaganza of the office.”
The accommodation certainly is cheap, starting as low as B300 per day (B8,000 per month) for a co-working space aimed at those who pop in to town for the occasional meeting but don’t want to spend all their time hopping between coffee shops. “If you calculate it on a per day basis you end up with paying the same as two coffees in Starbucks,” Somers adds.
There are no hidden costs – something which irked Somers when he tried to find serviced accommodation for himself – apart from electricity. Fully serviced two-person offices are from B20,000 per month.
“To create Glowfish we started by envisioning the type of serviced office we would want to work in, and then asked existing and potential clients what they thought about it — and we listened to what they told us,” he says. “A cost-effective, flexible and stylish workspace was key. We offer great value for money by doing away with unjustified extra expenses.”
Contemporary and stylish in design, Somers wants Glowfish to be more than just cost-effective office space. With a full programme of seminars and social events, tenants are encouraged to introduce their services to fellow inmates and “to plug into a community of mentors and friends to keep them inspired and engaged.” He also promises plenty of social opportunities to network, such as wine tasting evenings and speed networking lunches.
Somers is also keen to emphasise the wider role he sees Glowfish undertaking. “We want to try to give something back to the community,” he says. A blank wall behind the reception area will become a “revolving showcase” of students’ works of art, and Glowfish has also developed partnerships with local universities, and mentoring programmes for students interested in internships and collaborations with the members.
With Bangkok set to become the gateway to the ASEAN Economic Community, Somers is in no doubt that Glowfish will appeal to “today’s social-networked, style-conscious entrepreneur.” And with co-working office space running at about the same price as two cups of coffee he might just be right.