Original article from Kent Live
A businessman has described how he went from working for McDonald's to opening up a business hub to help the next generation.
Sanmi Adegoke, 38, has worked in the business sector for 15 years, and says it's something he's always wanted to do.
What once was the Dartford Magistrates Court and police station has now been transformed into The Hill Hub.
The hub is believed to be the first Black owned co-working and co-living space in Kent.
Untold Stories – a new newsletter bringing together the very best journalism about and for our underserved and minority communities from across the south east.
Simply press here to enter your email address and get news, features and plenty more besides direct to your inbox.
And subscribe to the KentLive newsletter here for the latest breaking news and updates.
Two years ago Sanmi, CEO of Rehoboth Property International, purchased the closed down and unused Dartford building.
Combining the old with the new, the once Magistrates Court and Police Station has now been transformed into a hub of private offices, co-working spaces, and an incubator for businesses.
Sanmi set up the Hub as he realised something was missing in Dartford. He was keen to pass on his knowledge and passion to others.
He said: "We were very big on legacy, we need to start passing our stuff to the next generation."
How Sanmi was inspired to create a hub to support the next generation
After relocating from Nigeria, Sanmi went from flipping burgers at McDonald's to flipping multi million pound property deals, and now he is opening The Hill Hub in Dartford.
He said: “Looking at myself from a young age, as someone that spent his life working in McDonald's in South London, and see that I’m able to create opportunities for others.
“What’s inspirational is to see others being able to succeed. Just to see that people can succeed, your business can succeed, whatever you want to do, you can.
“If you believe in yourself, you can. All things are possible.”
“I know it's been a terrible time for the country but this is the time for new entrepreneurs to appear, new leaders to emerge, and no better place to be than in Kent."
The "silicon valley" of Kent
"A key aspect of the business development at The Hill Hub is to offer funding opportunities and expertise to start-up businesses especially post covid-19."
The Hill Hub, which Sanmi likened to the "silicon valley", will be launching an incubator and Business Development Program (BDP).
This will provide business training and coaching programs to support small & medium size businesses in the key areas of growth.
The BDP has high aspirations of developing an incubator for businessmen and women to elevate their business ventures into new heights.
Additionally, it aims to deconstruct the dialogue of socio-economic challenges experienced by marginalised groups within the community through economic growth and sustainability.
"The only way we can change the narrative is by succeeding in our businesses and that’s one of the reasons why we built the space so that other Black people could see the community.
"A lot of businesses fail because there’s no mentor, a lot of businesses fail because there’s no structure, a lot of businesses fail because they don’t have a system that makes them drive."
This will hopefully be supported by a £1m fund as a collective contribution from organisations and prominent businesses.
This fund will then be pumped into businesses alongside, training, mentoring, workshops, and investment opportunities.
To learn more about The Hill Hub, you can visit here.