Tell us about a bit about yourself

My name is Humberto Marum and I’m originally from Portugal. I have lived and worked in Portugal, East Timor, Laos and Australia. I’m an architect and I recently returned to Canberra from overseas due to the pandemic.  I’m the founder of Metio, a for-purpose social enterprise dedicated to delivering high-quality project design and project management services to disadvantaged communities. I like to say that we help communities build their dreams.

What’s the origin of Metio? How did you get to where you are now?

It all started when I met a former chair of the board of Architecture Sans Frontières International, Dick Urban Vestbro, a super-inspiring person who was passionate about the role architecture can play creating a more equal world. Because of meeting him, I got a job in East Timor managing a design team and building affordable housing. I met my wife there and moved to Canberra.

Working in Timor, Laos and more recently in Australia in aboriginal communities, made me realise that there are so many people and communities out there that know what they want in terms of infrastructure but just don’t have the resources and skills to build it. So, Metio is a way to address this and to have a positive impact in the world.

What are you currently are working on?

I’m currently working on several different projects and they are all very exciting but building the first basketball court in an extremely remote community called Kunawarritji in Martu country, Pilbara WA, is the one that is keeping me really busy at the moment. The client is an independent school, Rawa Community School and we just secured funding for it… so now it is a go go go! We have a team of architects and engineers working pro-bono for this project and the design is almost complete. The school and community are very excited about it.

What does ‘community’ mean to you, and how has being surrounded by Canberra’s Innovation community been beneficial to you?

I think a community is a group of people that have something in common. Maybe they live/work together or have a similar passion or need.

Canberra Innovation Network is a service station for motivation! You see all these people coming in and doing different things and trying to create something new … and always super-passionate about it. It’s great to be part of it and refuel on the energy! It’s also a good space to meet people and find resources.

What’s your favourite thing about being part of CBRIN’s coworking space?

As I said before, it is really the motivation you get from seeing others doing something different and new… everybody here has a dream and is chasing it. It’s special to be part of it.

What are your plans for the next 6 to 12 months?

First making sure that we deliver on our current projects and continue building a strong portfolio. So far I have been lucky to have enough projects to keep me busy. But I believe by growing the business more and more communities will be able to benefit from our services. So, our next step will be creating a marketing plan to promote our work and tell our story.

I’m also really passionate about creating jobs and employing people that wouldn’t usually get a first start in the construction industry. This is an area of Metio’s business that I would like to explore.

Something that Metio will announce soon is our pro bono program. We will open it up for requests from potential beneficiaries. Stay tuned!

What’s been a silver lining for you from COVID-19?

For someone like me that’s been working remotely for 2 years, the Covid pandemic made my life easier because now lots of people see that is ok and perfectly possible to work remotely. I remember having to have a Canberra landline number in Laos so I could get people to call me!  Now everybody is on teams or zoom and willing to jump on it.

Who should connect with you?

Organizations that work with and for indigenous people, community groups, schools, not-for-profits, or any other businesses that would like to use their building projects as a way to positively impact the communities they are part of. Don’t worry if you don’t have funding available now or think your organisation won’t be able to afford it. One of Metio’s key services is working with organisations to develop their proposals and secure necessary funds.

I would also like to meet people that want to volunteer their time – whether they are students, experienced professionals or retired professionals. Metio also works with businesses or corporates who would like to offer pro bono services as part of their corporate social responsibility programs to communities that need it. We can work together and help to direct this energy to some of our great projects and partners.

And of course, I’m always interested in meeting other consultants, marketing professionals, architects, engineers and builders with a passion for this area of work.

What would you say to an entrepreneur or startup who is thinking about CBRIN coworking?

I would suggest to come in and try it. Coffee is great and people even better!

You can connect with Humberto Marum and Metio on LinkedIn and Instagram.