RIYADH: Two new creative business communities designed to empower innovators and entrepreneurs are to be launched in Saudi Arabia.
The Huna project, originally set up in Dubai, will offer a platform for free thinkers and creators to share ideas and collaborate in refining the way business is done.
The Saudi outlets will both be located in Riyadh, at Panorama Mall Takhassusi, and Riyadh Park.
“I made this place for the creative industry, for people who are interested in creating, to contribute to society, to create something different, and to start initiatives,” Mansour Bakheet, the founder of Huna, told Arab News.
He said the Huna concept should not be viewed as an exclusive or members-only community, but rather as an open space where harmonious young entrepreneurs could create franchises through the building of personalized stories and businesses. “It is a platform because it has the key components of enabling entrepreneurs, and empowering entrepreneurs.”
Operational manager, Bakheet’s brother Ahmed, said: “It combines food, art, and culture in one place and combines it through homegrown talents. Every destination has its own background; in Takhassusi I’m looking to create a creative background, in Riyadh Park more of a business background.”
Huna Takhassusi will offer a members’ lounge area, five open pop-up food and beverage outlets, a fully stocked pantry, large meeting room with kitchen available for rent, and 24/7 office rental spaces where entrepreneurs can co-exist and build their companies while being surrounded by a community of other creators.
“We don’t want people to refer to us as a co-working space, we are not a co-working space. When you first come in you see the slippers, the water, the welcome message, and it’s like going to a five-star hotel,” he added.
The lounge area will offer a wide range of activities for members including live music, podcasts, film screenings, exhibitions, and entrepreneurship talk shows, and monthly lounge membership and office rentals will be SR1,200 ($319) and SR7,000, respectively. “It’s a democratic platform. Any creative person is welcome, it’s a mindset and is not about classes,” the brothers said.
However, Ahmed pointed out that there had to be an element of selection. “There is a filtration process, because we have to create a community and in order for a community to thrive, they need to connect with each other, they need to relate to each other within the same field.”
One of the questions posed to applicants was to name their favorite movie, as this helped to portray an individual’s character.
Mansour said that the collaborative efforts of members could produce initiatives to improve communities and find solutions for common issues.
He noted that Huna was redefining the way businesses were created by providing home-grown entrepreneurs with a supportive setting to progress their ideas alongside like-minded innovators.
“We believe it’s also inspiring people. Entrepreneurship is a journey of life; it is a mindset. It is a collection of stories and that is what a platform is, a platform that enables others and provides viable experiences.”
The brothers saw great potential in Riyadh and said that with the support of the government and community, people would have new opportunities for business.
“We think the future will be Huna cities. You work in a place and you socialize in a space. What if you live, work, and socialize in that environment?”