Two essential factors facilitated the creation of coworking space “Skola6” in city Cēsis - empty premises in former Vocational school, and the demand for additional and contemporary space for creative industry representatives and freelancers. These factors prompted the owner of the building - Cēsis Municipality to test the actual necessity of coworking space by opening former school's premises for the public for two weeks. As a result, local inhabitants showed great interest and involvement in the development of the overall “Skola6” concept.
The goal for future was set - to fill the house with creative studios, freelancers and offer the services for entrepreneurs - beginners.
The first task was to make a simple renovation, set up the shared premises – kitchen, meeting room and event room. For opening the space, local municipality granted 5000 EUR for furniture, kitchen renovation and office equipment. First creatives that were working in the building, volunteered and helped with repair and other practical tasks.
Image: “Skola6” shared room.
To promote the interest of potential users of the space many activities were organised. For example, business idea competition, where participants gained support for idea description, presentation skills, financial planning. Additionally, informal events were organised - discussion evening, Open days and other. Also, support for the first-month rent was offered for studios.
After two years of intense work, 90% of “Skola6” studios were occupied, and able to sustain itself, approving that concept of coworking space was the right idea in right time (and place).
Image: One of the fairs in “Skola6” yard.
Operating expenditure of “Skola6” covers creatives working in the building. Municipality allocates €24,000 each year for management of the creative centre and different event concerning creative industry development. Additional funding is attracted from various state and international programmes to organise significant events - Design thinking workshops, the conference for creatives, business idea cup and other activities.
At the moment 20 studios and ten people in coworking space are working in “Skola6”. However creative enterprises which started the business in “Skola6” are growing and looking for bigger space, that's why “Skola6” together with the local municipality is looking for a new place to open coworking space with similar operating principles as “Skola6”.