How Active Communities Can Help Businesses Expand in New Markets

Many businesses that plan to expand to new markets will be facing unfamiliar territory. Lack of support about the situation on the ground is an obstacle that hinders many expansion plans. One way of avoiding this is to actively engage other stakeholders and form a community that can help support your business.


What do ‘communities’ mean in the context of business expansion?

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According to Drew Calin, CEO of Greenhouse, the growth of the global entrepreneur community is a consequence of growing globalization. “The reason we founded Greenhouse was that we realized how companies in Southeast Asia were crossing borders. I think this speaks to the trend that we’re all part of right now,” Drew stated.

The rising ease of doing business in Asian markets is attracting more businesses to engage with other companies, experts, and stakeholders across national borders.

Being in Singapore for the past seven years, it’s fantastic to see how transient the Singaporean market is. I think that’s increasingly true for other markets here, whether it’s here in Manila, or Hong Kong, or Ho Chi Minh City.

Speaking at IGNITE 2019, Drew continued, “The people that play roles in their regions in Southeast Asia are now going to other cities and other countries. Because of technology, it’s becoming easier and easier for us to keep in touch and do business together.”


Why should businesses engage communities when expanding abroad?

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Active communication between businesses, accelerators, government institutions, and other stakeholders is becoming more critical. Because everyone can bring something to the table, all of them can help each other in helping the economy grow.

According to Drew, events like IGNITE are examples of businesses engaging with each other across national borders. Companies see value in getting insights and partners from other players outside their country, or even outside their region.

“IGNITE started three years ago just for the Philippines market, two years ago it was Southeast Asia, now it’s Asia. So I think this is how it’s developing and there are people putting in a lot of effort.”

However, a business should engage communities beyond just seeking value but providing value as well. “To me, a community is like anything else. If you’re passionate about something and you have a role to play, you’ve just got to involve yourself,” Drew said.


How has the trend of engaging communities changed?

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Technology is making it easier for people to engage in communities in which they’re interested. According to Drew, “Today, you have platforms like LinkedIn, where you can curate your networks, identify who’s doing what, and create value or each other.”

However, this comes at the risk of underestimating the importance of maintaining your networks – even digital ones. “Maybe we haven’t spoken a connection in three years but remember, we still have a relationship there. So, I take the time to think about the people in my network and what I can do for them.”

In conclusion, it’s essential to treat your digital network just how you treat your real friends.


Where can I start?

Finding people to connect with can be hard, especially when you’re going to unfamiliar markets. One way to do it is through coworking spaces. In a coworking space, you can regularly engage potential partners with similar experiences or insights that can help you get to know the local market.

Also, connecting with experienced market entry consultants is a surefire way to find insights and contacts to help smoothen your entry into new markets.


Greenhouse Cowork is an integrated workspace solution that offers coworking spaces, virtual offices, and private offices for any business seeking to enter Indonesia.

Greenhouse Connect is a marketplace platform that allows you to book business incorporation services and connect with market entry consultants in your target markets.

We’ll connect you with experienced consultants on the ground who can help answer your questions about doing business in Indonesia.