Low-key start pays dividend
Working in a start-up company after graduation made a lasting impression on Chapman Leung, managing director of Jumpstart Business Centre.
'I experienced the necessary mindset and other requirements for starting up a company. That's probably where I acquired my desire and ability to found Jumpstart,' he says.
He studied computer engineering in Canada at the University of Waterloo on a unique programme that offered work experience in six companies, from small local ones to multinationals, and equipped him with good experience of what running a business requires.
Leung started out small in 2003, opening 12 office suites in Causeway Bay, but expansion was quick. He set up offices in Mong Kok and Central the following year before expanding to Tsim Sha Tsui and Kwun Tong. Jumpstart has seven offices in Hong Kong. It moved into Shanghai two years ago and already has a second office there.
'There is hardly a regular day for me. But there are things I regularly do on a longer basis, one of which is constantly looking for new opportunities. Whenever new office space becomes available, we explore if it is suitable. And that's not just in Hong Kong. With Jumpstart already in Shanghai, our radar is on all of China,' says Leung, who is looking to expand on the mainland.
Leung's biggest challenge is the constantly changing market conditions.
'Rents are fluctuating greatly and it is hard to predict rents three years from now. What we are doing is diversifying our coverage, where fluctuations in one city can be moderated by other cities,' he says.
In talent management, his priority is also stability as the basis for offering consistently high-quality service. He hires high-potential people and gives them an opportunity to shine.
He supports staff with a solid training and development programme and believes that people whose potential was not explored by previous employers tend to appreciate and work harder for those who notice their strengths and value their abilities.
He adds that in business centres there is little scope for diversity as small teams work in each centre separated from each other.