What's on your office walls? The start-up leasing artwork to businesses

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A Melbourne entrepreneur wants to convince corporate Australia having art in an office is about more than decoration.

Scott Ko is a man with big ambitions who makes bold claims about art and its role in the workplace.

He says it can deepen connections between staff and even boost performance.

"Art can connect people together, whether they like the artwork or they don’t like the artwork," he told SBS News. 

"That engagement can bring people together... [it] can even increase productivity.”

Mr Ko, who moved to Australia from China when he was six, is the founder of Colourspace, a Melbourne-based start-up that leases art to workplaces for three months at a time.

Colourspace founder Scott Ko
Colourspace founder Scott Ko. (SBS News)
SBS News

Ben Schramm, Chief Executive of Cube Group, a consultancy firm based in Melbourne's CBD, has been a client for over a year. 

He said leasing art is more than just about brightening up the office.

"It’s a bit of a window into your organization, your brand, your identity and what you stand for," he said. 

"Our organization is all about public value and we’ve really worked in collaboration with Colourspace to try and bring through some social meaning into the artwork that we’ve placed."

"In addition to enlivening the space that we work in, it’s also got a deeper meaning to our people and the culture that we’ve got in our organization."

Local artist Jane Downing is showcasing her work through the start-up.
Local artist Jane Downing is showcasing her work through the start-up. (SBS News)
SBS News

Mr Ko showcases the work of local Australian artists and it can be valuable exposure for emerging artists such as Jane Downing.

"It’s wonderful to get your work out... receiving feedback whether people like it or not,” she said.

Ben Schramm has been a client over a year.
Ben Schramm has been a client over a year. (SBS News)
SBS News

Scott Ko's drive and ambition saw him win a prize from another start-up founded by two brothers from Jordan. Digital and creative agency Hatch Quarter focuses on helping immigrants and refugees create their own profitable businesses.

Co-founder Aiman Hamdouna said he and his brother Moayad wanted to develop a food delivery business back in 2008 but they were told that idea would never work.

"We just abandoned the idea because we lacked the information and the right knowledge," Mr Hamdouna said. 

Instead, the brothers developed a group specifically for aspiring international entrepreneurs.

"We wanted to create a community and a company that can facilitate the knowledge and information to entrepreneurs, migrants and refugees who are ready for wanting to learn more about how to start their start-up idea."

Mr Ko says the help from Hatch Quarter means he is now in a position to take his business idea to other countries.

"They looked at our business in terms of its structure... our branding and marketing [and] technological systems... and basically said 'how can we take this to the next level?'"

Source: SBS News

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