When your MBA capstone project becomes your very own tech start-up

8 July 2021
Find out how three MBA alumni turned their capstone project into reality.
When Michael Blenkin, Claire Taylor and Andrew Cooper started their MBA capstone unit in February 2020, none of them predicted that 18 months later they would still be meeting every week to continue bringing their capstone project to life.

That's what has occurred for the three co-founders of VillageHub who have turned their MBA capstone idea into a tech start-up with real potential.

The idea behind VillageHub was formed when the City of Sydney approached the Business School with the problem of how to bring high street vibrancy back to suburbs like Darlinghurst and Glebe (pre-pandemic).

Following a design-led process that involved speaking to hundreds of locals, visitors, and businesses to come up with a customer-centric solution, VillageHub was born. The trio received such great feedback on the idea and marks that they decided to make it a reality.

What is VillageHub?

Think of VillageHub as Airbnb for underutilised business space. The platform helps business owners bring in extra revenue through:

  • renting it outside of regular opening hours
  • listing a space that's not currently in use

The current VillageHub platform has the benefits of:

  • allowing businesses to drive additional revenue from their underutilised space
  • opening up new and unique spaces for events, retail, or office work; and 
  • promoting curated experiences that drive greater connection in the local community.

Importantly, VillageHub also gives back to the communities in which it operates, by supporting and partnering with local business chambers.

VillageHub success

VillageHub are currently in 'horizon one' of their 3-stage plan, with 'horizon two and three' mapped out with future goals and objectives. Within horizon one, they have had a number of successes including:

  • signing a partnership agreement with the Surry Hills Business Chamber where every business in the area who lists their space and has it rented, 10% of revenue will be given back to the business chamber 
  • being awarded the Knowledge Exchange Grant by the City of Sydney for $40,000
  • distributing $500 vouchers to local artists and creatives to book spaces on VillageHub and hold events - so far 10 events have been held
  • hiring a Business Development Manager (the first official VillageHub employee)
  • listing over 50 venues in the City of Sydney 
  • recording revenue from March 2021, which is steadily growing

What's next for VillageHub?

VillageHub has a number of plans in place for the next 6-12 months to continue to benefit the communities in which it operates, including:
  • expanding and listing more spaces outside the City of Sydney LGA 
  • driving increased demand onto the platform to best utilise spaces
  • expanding the revenue sharing model to more LGA's across Sydney Metropolitan
  • holding the first round of funding for family and friends in early 2022

Follow VillageHub on Instagram or Facebook.

The Capstone Unit is the final unit of our MBA and involves a world-class learning module in the field of strategic management, intersecting with principles in design thinking and product engineering. 

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