Daniela, Founder of Coffice, went to Stockholm in December 2016, to meet Impact Hub and its team, through the European Creative Hubs Network and our Peer to Peer Scheme (P2P). This is her article about the experience of exchanging knowledge, creative hub to creative hub.
I arrived in Stockholm on the 12th of December on a very cold Monday morning. The air was crisp, but the mood was super light. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was and just how a random meeting last summer in the middle of a hot day in Ljubljana would stir me into some of the most exciting and exhilarating period of my life.
I was working remotely from Ljubljana in the Poligon creative hub, when I met one of its founders, Luka Piskoric. He was this amazing guy who came over, introduced himself and asked me what I was doing there. I’ve explained that in addition to my job, I was also running a tiny coworking center in Skopje, so I just went there to see the place and look for networking opportunities. So we went on to talk about our creative hubs, what they mean to us and how we run them. He showed me the place and as we went on talking about Poligon, he asked me weather I’ll be attending the “How Work Works” conference that was taking place in September in Belgrade. I had no idea about it, so he offered to share the details. Few months later, I was attending the forum for creative hubs in Belgrade, met some incredible people there and got to exchange experiences with owners of some of the biggest creative hubs in Europe.
It was a mind blowing experience and an eye-opening one.
The forum was organised flawlessly. Everything we saw there was an experience by itself. We hang, we drank, we listened to these amazing stories, stories of not just turning in a profit, but actually doing something that matters, something that actually can help people, motivate and inspire them. By the time the forum ended, I was not only impressed, but motivated as hell. I’m telling you, the conference was shockingly good with amazing speakers like Sam Baron from Fabrica with enthusiastic pep talks and interactive workshops. It wasn’t until the last day of the forum when I learnt about the P2P program, the amazing mobility grant for owners of creative hubs who can travel across Europe, visit a creative hub of their choosing and share experiences. So I said, hmm, this is interesting, I get to travel, while at the same time learn something new and improve my business. So I’ve applied and got approved, which brings me back to that cold Monday morning in Stockholm.
Before arriving at Impact Hub in Stockholm, I’ve contacted their head of growth Van Smukoff, who was super helpful and very responsive. I went to work there on Tuesday morning and spent 4 days in the hub. As they were preparing for the holidays, I sat down with Van to talk about possible future collaborations. I wanted to pick his brain on how they operate the hub, learn something more about their members and the community in general. He told me everything about running the place, their business model and walked me through the process of accepting new members. His enthusiasm was contagious, so I just dived into asking him all sorts of questions. That’s how I learnt about the system they use to run the space, that saves time and it’s super organised, which I can totally implement at Coffice. He also introduced me to Stockholm’s vibrant start-up community.
Days were filled with work at their fancy facilities in Stockholm’s hottest and richest neighborhood and nights were filled with wandering the city’s old town and visiting museums which left long lasting impression on me. I’ve been to many places in the world and almost everywhere I’ve been to, museums are always part of what I see first, because that’s how I get to learn more about the culture of the people living there, plus I’m a sucker for national art and all things art, so there’s that. The museums in Stockholm are in a league of their own. To anyone who’s planning to go there, whether it’s through the P2P program or just traveling, I highly recommend they go to Nordiska and ABBA Museum. Trust me, they will blow your mind, as they did mine.
That being said, sadly this brings me to the end of my trip. I got back on the 19th with some of the best memories of my life. I got to meet some incredible people, visit Sweden and learn something new about running Coffice, so thank you ECHN for giving me an experience that will last a lifetime. Hope to see you all again in Athens this January.
Daniela Milosheska Founder Cofficee Skopje