New Delhi: Mikro Grafeio (Beyond Workspaces), established in 2021, is on a mission to transform Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. They provide integrated workspace and workforce solutions, helping businesses set up operations beyond metros. With over 2 lac sq. ft. of workspaces across 40 cities and towns, they have created 2000+ jobs and earned recognition for their social impact. They are committed to eco-governance and sustainability, reducing carbon footprint through proximity-based workspaces.
1. Could you describe the journey of Mikro Grafeio since its inception in 2021?
Ans: Established in 2021, Mikro Grafeio is a social impact startup on a mission to create 100,000 job opportunities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India by 2025, enabling local economies to thrive. We intend to achieve this goal by offering integrated workspace and workforce solutions, advisory services, and consulting for businesses to help them set up operations beyond metros and Tier 1 cities. Catering to a wide array of sectors, the firm concentrates on organizations aspiring to establish or broaden their operations.
Our business model is based on a distributed satellite service model, which means we create small services near your homes and spread them across the country. We offer you a single contract for multiple services, such as strategic advisory, office spaces, talent acquisition, employer branding, employee engagement, statutory compliance, public relations, expatriate relocation, and social media management. We use technology to deliver an exceptional customer experience through our award-winning workspace management platform. We also use a managed services model that requires no capital investment from you.
We help you choose the best location for your work based on factors such as the availability of an employable population, the presence of social infrastructure and favourable living conditions, physical infrastructure like airports and connectivity, and the potential for scalability. We have a database of suitable towns based on these criteria, and we recommend three potential towns to you, allowing you to choose your preferred location. We then support you in establishing your centres accordingly.
So far, we have already delivered over 2 lac sq. ft. of workspaces across 22 cities and towns in India, creating over 1000 jobs. Some of our clients include 3i Infotech, Alight HR Services, PAKAPEER, OLX, ZEE Learn, UB Group besides others. We have also been recognized as an aspiring startup with deep social impact by the FICCI-TNIE Start-up Stars award for two consecutive years since inception. We aim to improve social sustainability and eco-governance by providing essential skills, training and mentorship to the rural population of these tier 2 and 3 towns, driving the change we intend to bring in. We also intend to change the dynamics of women's employment by providing upskilling and women only workspaces to promote women's empowerment and inclusion. We also plan to shift some of the CSR initiatives of corporations to these towns to build the local ecosystem and create a sustainable rural work model in the future, impacting rural livelihoods positively. Moreover, we are able to reduce our carbon footprint with an environmentally friendly commute thanks to our workspaces closer to home.
2. How does Mikro Grafeio align its operations with government incentives and regulatory bodies?
Ans: Mikro Grafeio actively seeks partnerships that involve collaborations with agencies responsible for economic development, urban planning, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) support, and employment generation, eg. Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM), Andhra Pradesh Electronics and IT Agency (APEITA). These partnerships demonstrate a commitment to working closely with the government to achieve common goals. This also helps with insights of state-specific schemes that offer incentives, tax benefits, and subsidies to businesses operating in less-developed regions. Infrastructure Development and access to government-sponsored skill development programs are added benefits that stakeholders can optimise.
3. Can you share any success stories about how Mikro Grafeio's solutions have contributed to cost savings, attrition control, and increased productivity for your clients?
Ans: Some success stories about how Mikro Grafeio’s solutions have contributed to cost savings, attrition control, and increased productivity for its clients:
A globally renowned IT company, partnered with Mikro Grafeio to set up a Centre of Excellence in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. Setting up full-fledged workspaces in Tirunelveli not only allowed the company to gain access to under-tapped talent but it also helped to expand footprint at lower costs than in bigger cities. The biggest advantage was that talent in Tirunelveli was committed, dedicated and honest i.e., long term team players. Mikro Grafeio played a critical role in helping set up operations right from helping build infra to talent availability from best colleges. We also helped in training and nurturing talent in soft skills. With our support, they were able to launch their talent pool in global projects. This company saved up to 40% on operational costs, as compared to setting up in a metro city. Our fully furnished and equipped office space, a pool of qualified and trained talent, and a range of services such as employee engagement and support for statutory compliances which led to achieving higher customer satisfaction, lower attrition rates, and better employee retention. The company also contributed to the social and economic development of Tirunelveli by creating over 200 jobs and supporting local businesses.
4. How has the company's award-winning workspace management platform contributed to the customer experience?
Ans: Mikro Grafeio has contributed to the customer experience by providing integrated workforce solutions for clients who want to set up their operations in small towns. We offer a comprehensive suite of services that includes workspace, recruitment, training, engagement programs, shared services, and more. By taking care of all the peripheral activities, Mikro Grafeio allows clients to focus on their core business and achieve their goals.
We also prioritize the well-being and experience of employees who work in small towns. It ensures uninterrupted power supply, excellent facilities, prompt IT support, and round-the-clock availability of HR personnel. It also organizes various events and celebrations to foster a sense of belonging and engagement among employees. Mikro Grafeio creates an environment where employees can work productively and happily.
By providing support in all essential areas, Mikro Grafeio becomes a reliable partner for clients who want to venture into small towns. It addresses their common concerns and challenges and helps them overcome the barriers of scale and sustainability. We enhance the customer experience by delivering everything one would expect from an on-site HR team.
5. Mikro Grafeio's mission includes a strong commitment to social impact. Could you elaborate on the ways your company is working towards social sustainability and eco-governance?
Ans: Mikro Grafeio’s mission is to create more employment opportunities in small towns by providing integrated workforce solutions for clients who want to set up their operations there. By doing so, Mikro Grafeio is working towards social sustainability and eco-governance in several ways.
Firstly, we help clients access the right talent pool in small towns, where there may be a lack of employment opportunities and a preference for migrating to metro cities. By offering attractive jobs and career prospects, we enable the local population to stay in their hometowns and contribute to their economic development. This also reduces the pressure on urban areas, where overpopulation, high cost of living and pollution are major challenges.
Secondly, Mikro Grafeio ensures that the workspaces it provides are fully functional, ie equipped with essential facilities, an uninterrupted power supply, and reliable Wi-Fi. It also maintains excellent standards of hygiene and safety for the employees. By doing so, Mikro Grafeio promotes a healthy and comfortable working environment that enhances productivity and well-being. It also minimizes the environmental impact of its operations by opting for sustainable practices, using renewable energy sources wherever possible and implementing waste management practices.
Thirdly, Mikro Grafeio takes care of various HR-related support, compliance, engagement activities, and employee well-being for its clients. It provides HR personnel who facilitate staff needs, even during emergencies. It also organizes various events and celebrations to foster a sense of belonging and engagement among employees. By doing so, Mikro Grafeio creates a positive and supportive work culture that values diversity and inclusion.
In summary, Mikro Grafeio’s mission is to create more employment opportunities in small towns by providing integrated workforce solutions for clients who want to set up their operations there. By doing so, we are working towards social sustainability and eco-governance by empowering the local population, enhancing working conditions, and minimizing the environmental impact of its operations.
6. How does Mikro Grafeio's model help fuel local businesses and build the right partner ecosystem in Tier 2 and 3 towns?
Ans: Mikro Grafeio's model serves as a catalyst for fueling local businesses and nurturing the right partner ecosystem in Tier 2 and 3 towns. Drawing from our own personal experiences of leaving smaller towns to seek employment, we realized the pressing need to empower individuals in smaller communities with quality job opportunities. Our approach is centered around reversing the migration trend and fostering economic growth in these towns by partnering with companies to establish operations locally.
To achieve this, we engage with a range of stakeholders to create a collaborative environment. We actively collaborate with industry experts to identify and train candidates who are eager to work in their hometowns. Through campus recruitment, alumni databases, and industry-specific training, we equip candidates with the skills needed to excel in their careers. Our focus on candidates with 0 to 3 years of experience and those with 3 to 8 years ensures that fresh graduates and early-career professionals find suitable opportunities close to home.
Our unique micro-office strategy further facilitates local business growth. By establishing small-scale operations across multiple locations, we minimize employee commutes and traffic congestion. This approach empowers businesses to tap into the local talent pool and expand within the same town or nearby satellite towns, creating a ripple effect of job opportunities. Our goal is to generate 200,000 employment opportunities in the next 2 years in these small communities, contributing significantly to their economic prosperity.
In addition, we envision extending our model to international markets as well. This initiative aims to attract Indian business owners operating abroad to establish back offices in India, further boosting job prospects and overall economic development.
7. How does the company plan to extend its outreach programs to local colleges and institutes to make the rural population employment-ready?
Ans: Expanding our outreach programs to local colleges and institutes in rural areas is a pivotal aspect of our mission to make the rural population employment-ready. As we continue our journey of creating opportunities in smaller towns, our vision encompasses a multi-faceted approach that collaborates closely with educational institutions, businesses, and aspiring professionals.
To achieve this, we plan to forge strong partnerships with colleges and institutes in the regions where we operate. By collaborating with HR recruiters, we can actively identify candidates who are keen on returning to their hometowns for work. This not only supports reverse migration but also empowers local talent to contribute to their communities' growth. Our emphasis on fresh graduates and early-career professionals aligns with our commitment to nurturing young talent and creating a pipeline of skilled individuals ready to join the workforce.
Furthermore, we recognize the importance of offering industry-specific training to equip candidates with the skills demanded by businesses. Our strategy involves collaborating with local training companies that provide instruction in regional languages, fostering efficient and effective learning. By bridging the gap between education and industry needs, we ensure that candidates are not only job-ready but also possess the necessary expertise to thrive in their roles.
In addition, our micro-office strategy plays a significant role in building a robust partner ecosystem in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns. These small-scale operations foster collaboration between businesses, educational institutions, and aspiring professionals, creating a local ecosystem that nurtures talent and supports sustainable growth.
Mikro Grafeio's approach to extending outreach programs to local colleges and institutes involves strategic collaborations, industry-specific training, and fostering an ecosystem that supports talent development. By partnering with educational institutions and empowering young professionals, we contribute to building a skilled workforce that is ready to meet the demands of businesses in smaller towns.
8. Can you share some examples of how Mikro Grafeio has been a part of changing the dynamics of women's employment in India?
Ans: Mikro Grafeio has played a pivotal role in reshaping the dynamics of women's employment in India through our transformative approach to job creation in smaller towns. We recognize that women, particularly in rural areas, face unique challenges when seeking employment opportunities. Our mission to empower local communities aligns seamlessly with our commitment to fostering gender inclusivity and bridging the gender gap in the workforce.
The reverse migration trend sparked by the pandemic illustrated that remote work can be conducted effectively, eliminating the need for individuals, especially women, to migrate to metro cities for employment. By collaborating with companies to establish operations in smaller towns, we have unlocked a world of opportunities for women who would otherwise have had to relocate, often facing significant challenges in maintaining work-life balance and family ties.
An inspiring example is the inauguration of our recent center in Kochi, where we provided employment opportunities for over 250 individuals. By extending our operations to lesser-known places like Tirunelveli and Mysuru, we have successfully created job prospects for numerous women who can now work in their hometowns. These success stories exemplify our commitment to gender equality, enabling women to contribute meaningfully to their families and communities while pursuing fulfilling careers.
Over the next 2 years, our ambitious goal is to generate a minimum of 100,000 employment opportunities in these small communities. While this endeavor may appear to have a localized impact, it holds significant significance for women, youth, and the entire region. Witnessing women find happiness, empowerment, and economic independence in their hometowns fills us with immense satisfaction, reaffirming our dedication to transforming lives and fostering gender equality through sustainable employment opportunities.
9. Can you elaborate on the value-added services that Mikro Grafeio offers in addition to workspace solutions?
Ans:At Mikro Grafeio, our commitment to providing comprehensive support goes beyond just offering workspace solutions. We understand that businesses require a holistic ecosystem to thrive, which is why we offer an array of value-added services designed to enhance productivity, streamline operations, and ensure a seamless work experience.
Apart from workspace solutions, we offer a high impact ecosystem that comprises strategic advisory, talent acquisition, training and onboarding, employee branding, engagement & wellness, facilities management, statutory compliance, public relations and more. These services are carefully curated to create a conducive work environment that prioritizes security, convenience, and compliance. By seamlessly integrating these services, we empower businesses to focus on their core operations while we handle the essential support functions.
10. How is Mikro Grafeio working towards bridging the digital divide and providing universal access to entrepreneurial and professional opportunities?
Ans: At Mikro Grafeio, we are committed to bridging the digital divide and democratizing access to entrepreneurial and professional opportunities. Our journey has been marked by a strong presence in South India, and our expansion plans reflect our dedication to extending our model's reach and impact. As we look towards the North, we recognize the importance of creating an inclusive ecosystem that empowers individuals from all walks of life.
Our outreach efforts extend not only within India but also beyond its borders. Our interactions with entrepreneurs and business owners in the United States have illuminated the global interest in exploring opportunities within India's vibrant market. We understand that establishing operations in a new country can be daunting, especially in the context of digital infrastructure and connectivity challenges.
This is where Mikro Grafeio's proposition shines. Our comprehensive support spans the entire journey, from identifying suitable locations to providing essential services and facilitating partnerships. By encouraging Indian business owners abroad to establish back offices in India, we aim to amplify job opportunities and economic growth. Our roadmap includes conducting roadshows in regions, such as the Middle East and Europe, to showcase the potential of smaller towns as dynamic hubs for entrepreneurship and professional ventures.
11. Can you share some insights into how Mikro Grafeio's workspace-as-a-service model contributes to flexibility in terms of location and skills?
Ans: Mikro Grafeio's innovative workspace-as-a-service model serves as a cornerstone for fostering flexibility in both location and skills. Our clients often grapple with essential concerns related to talent availability, workspace provisioning, and comprehensive support when venturing into smaller towns. Addressing these worries head-on, we offer a holistic suite of services through our Integrated Workforce Solutions.
Our approach goes beyond just providing physical workspaces. We become our clients' trusted partners, seamlessly managing the intricate elements involved in establishing operations in smaller towns. This includes talent acquisition, workspace solutions, recruitment, training, HR services, engagement programs, and shared services, among others. By offering an integrated package, we empower clients to focus on their core business objectives while we handle the peripheral intricacies.
Furthermore, our portfolio of workspace solutions caters to diverse needs. From Shared Spaces and Managed Spaces to BeRightHere.com Mikro and Campus Centres, we provide a range of options tailored to different preferences. This flexibility extends to skill development as well. Our commitment to assisting individuals at various career stages, from fresh graduates to early-career professionals, ensures that the workforce is equipped with relevant skills through industry-specific training.
12. How do you ensure the workspaces are process-ready, people-ready, and performance-ready?
Ans: One of the key components of our solutions is ensuring that the workspaces we provide are process-ready, people-ready, and performance-ready.
By process-ready, we mean that the workspaces are equipped with all the necessary facilities, infrastructure, and technology to support the client’s business processes. This includes uninterrupted power supply, reliable Wi-Fi, IP protection, firewalls, and accounting and finance support. We also handle compliance and legal matters for our clients, such as taxation and registration. We ensure that the workspaces are compliant with local regulations and standards.
By people-ready, we mean that the workspaces are staffed with skilled and talented professionals who match the client’s requirements. We take care of recruitment, training, and development of the workforce, as well as HR support and engagement activities. We also ensure that the employees are well-being and happy by providing them with medical assistance, accommodation support, and orientation programs. We foster a positive and supportive work culture that values diversity and inclusion.
By performance-ready, we mean that the workspaces are designed to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the client’s operations. We offer various types of workspaces to suit different needs and preferences, such as shared spaces, managed spaces, enclosed suites, campus centres, exclusive women centres, collaborative spaces, and work from hotel options. We also organize visits from company leaders, birthday celebrations, engagement events, and more to motivate and inspire the employees.
Through these measures, we ensure that the workspaces we provide are process-ready, people-ready, and performance-ready. We aim to create an environment where our clients can focus on their core business and achieve their goals. We become their trusted partner, ensuring that they receive the comprehensive assistance they need to thrive.
13. How do you see Mikro Grafeio's role in the future of work in India, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities?
Ans: We envision our role as a catalyst for creating more employment opportunities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. We believe that there is a huge potential for growth and innovation in these regions, where there is an abundance of talent and aspiration. By providing integrated workforce solutions for clients who want to set up their operations in small towns, we aim to bridge the gap between demand and supply of skilled professionals.
Our role is not only to provide workspace and recruitment services, but also to empower the local population with industry-specific training and development programs. We collaborate with local colleges, institutes, and training companies to offer relevant courses in local languages, making the candidates more job-ready and confident. We also foster a positive and supportive work culture that values diversity and inclusion, engagement and well-being, and career growth and prospects.
Our role is also to promote the concept of micro-offices, which are small-scale operations distributed across multiple locations. This allows us to minimize employee travel within a city, reduce operational costs, and increase efficiency and productivity. By adopting this strategy, we enable our clients to scale up their businesses without compromising on quality or security. We also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing our carbon footprint and pollution.
Through these initiatives, we see our role as a key player in the future of work in India, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. We aspire to create more job opportunities, economic development, and social sustainability in these regions. We are proud to be part of this transformation and look forward to collaborating with more clients who share our vision.
14. Finally, what message would you like to convey to young entrepreneurs and professionals in Tier 2 and 3 towns across India?
Ans: To all the young entrepreneurs and professionals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns across India, we would like to convey a message of hope, opportunity, and empowerment. It's undeniable that small towns have often been overlooked in terms of business prospects, leading many to migrate to bigger cities in search of employment. However, times have changed, and the landscape of opportunities has evolved.
At Mikro Grafeio, we've witnessed firsthand the immense potential that lies within these small communities. We understand the challenges you face, from finding the right workspace to accessing the necessary talent pool and support services. That's why we've built a model that addresses these hurdles comprehensively. Our integrated approach not only provides you with workspace solutions but also offers a partner ecosystem that covers everything from talent acquisition to HR support, facilities management, and more.
It's heartening to see the transformational impact of our efforts. Having come from a smaller town, we understand the significance of revitalizing job prospects in these areas. We've already witnessed success stories, individuals finding meaningful employment in their hometowns, reuniting with loved ones, and contributing to their local communities. This is the essence of our mission – to create employment opportunities that go beyond financial gains, enriching lives, and fostering prosperity.
Our journey is just beginning, and our commitment to creating 500,000 employment opportunities in the next five years stands as a testament to our belief in the power of small towns. So, to all the young minds out there, don't underestimate the potential of your hometowns. Embrace the opportunities that are now at your doorstep, collaborate with us, and together, let's shape a brighter future for these emerging startup hubs. Your ideas, skills, and passion can be the driving force that transforms these towns into thriving centers of innovation and success.