Meet Dahlia Dajani: Founder of Entreprenursery
Hi! I’m Dahlia, founder of Entreprenursery, but first and foremost I’m a mother of three children. My eldest — Layanne, but everyone knows her as Lulu — had a very shaky start, as she was a micro preemie born at just 23 weeks, she’s now 8. She’s my inspiration for striving to do my best. My son Jad is 5. He is one of those kids that just constantly ask questions. And my youngest – Jena Mai — is two going on 15. She’s the real boss of the house!
As for me, I grew up in London but moved to Dubai after uni where I worked in brand management. Living in flip-flops was amazing, but when we found out I was pregnant, being close to family made more sense so we moved back to London where my parents now live just 5 minutes away. By the time I was pregnant the second time around, I had started my master’s degree in International Development and Management. I finished all my exams (bar one) on time, just 10 days after delivering Jad. That lead to my freelance job as a sustainability consultant.
I started freelancing when my third child was still at home toddling about. The other two were at school full-time by that point. I was working in my pjs, on my bed, or at the dining table, usually being interrupted. I like meeting people so found working from home difficult. I tried working from libraries but they were too quiet. I tried working from coffee shops but they were too noisy! What I really wanted was a place where my kids could come with me but be looked after, where I could be productive but also chat and network with other people. I could’t find anything like that near me so I decided to start something myself.
Entreprenursery currently runs each Wednesday from a church in West Hampstead, London. The co-workers sit in the room upstairs while the little ones have a crèche room downstairs near the kitchen. The parents tend to peak in through the window when they are making a cup of tea or coffee. This kind of setup works especially well for babies who are still breast-feeding.
On my to-do-list at the moment is finding more venues to host us, as I’d love to run Entreprenursery on more days of the week. I also have a tonne of e-mails to reply to, a deck to put together and need to get on top of my business finances! I’m also working on our workshops programme where I bring in an expert to chat to our coworkers on a particular subject.
My ultimate goal is to scale up as I really do think coworking spaces with on-site childcare are so needed. The magic that happens when people connect and share ideas is amazing. In an ideal world I’d have an investor to help me secure a stand-alone, permanent venue that runs 24/7. And then who knows, more branches in London, UK and then launching internationally? Why not?!
If you’re thinking of setting up a coworking spaces for parents come and talk to me! I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned along the way! Also, talk to as many of your early adopters as you can to find out what they want, not what you think they want, then create it, with a flexible model that can change according to their needs. Good luck!