In the latest episode of our True Connections Podcast, Alan Hooks speaks to the founder and owner of Dragonfly Asia-Pacific and Banyan Workspace, Rasheed Shroff. In addition to hearing the fascinating story of the creation of one of the city’s most inspiring and sustainable workspaces, we learn how he navigated his path from ultra loyal company man to independent entrepreneur.
Listen to the podcast
Click on the player below to hear Alan’s and Rasheed’s conversation:
Rasheed Shroff had been working with Fossil Group for more than 20 years when, in 2018, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Since graduating from college, he had worked his way up through this industry-leading multinational corporation, successfully performing a variety of leadership roles in different areas. Friends and colleagues were shocked when he suddenly decided to leave to start his own distribution and marketing company.
Receiving widespread support from his family as well as his former employers, Rasheed co-founded Dragonfly Asia-Pacific in 2018. He built on the wealth of experience he had gained launching and driving a variety of brands and categories across different channels and geographies, to help Dragonfly’s partner brands to penetrate the newly emerging markets of Asia. Through his own experiences creating a start-up, Rasheed believes there is a huge drive to entrepreneurship in Hong Kong and globally in a particularly post-pandemic world. He firmly believes that a strong network, transparent and honest communication and maintaining integrity are the most valuable currencies to hold in Asia.
Rasheed brought these same values into a second project, launched with his wife in 2019. Dismayed by what they felt were generic workspaces on offer in the city, the couple decided to create their own coworking space for fellow entrepreneurs, Banyan Workspace. Located in Quarry Bay, a secondary CBD in Hong Kong, Rasheed believes the industry is leading the way when it comes to the future of work in a post-pandemic world. Banyan Workspace is inspired by and committed to Hong Kong, rooting itself by its strong sense of social purpose. It is a philosophy that clearly differentiates Banyan Workspace from other shared office providers in the city, giving it a unique competitive edge. Regular gatherings between like-minded entrepreneurs in the workspace allow cross-industry insightful experience sharing.
To further support its purpose and giving back initiatives, Rasheed’s team has tried to elevate their sustainable approach beyond ordinary levels. It is not just about recycling plastics and paper. Environmental consciousness is embedded in the very design of the space, from the use of recycled materials in its construction to the carefully chosen local suppliers in day-to-day operations. As Rasheed says, “We do more by giving back to the community.” A percentage of the membership fee is also donated to one of four partnering NGOs of their choice.
Throughout the difficulties of the past 18 months, Rasheed has dared to take up challenges and pivot where needed. The pandemic led him to review the purpose of his start-up business and focus his passion on business doing good for the community.
To hear more about Rasheed’s story, please listen to the podcast player above.