A coworking space to meet the needs for contemporary ways of working, flexible and location independent. Sharing ideas and skills while working side-by-side.
The practice addresses meeting the needs for contemporary ways of working, flexible and location independent. Such working is a rapidly growing trend worldwide and has an extra social effect in a peripheral area.
The coworking space EDUKONTOR in Kuressaare is a place where freelancers, teleworkers and small businesses share office space and exchange ideas and contacts, filling a gap on the rather traditional island. Due to the lack of possibility to rent a small office temporarily, Edukontor was initiated by some people who had moved (back) to the island and were in need for such space. It is currently run as a non-profit organization. One can rent a desk or a room here from an hour to several months. There are also meeting and training rooms available. Edukontor has become a “home” for a number of NGOs and meeting point for various interest groups. While permanent tenants are local people, temporary users come from the mainland Estonia, other countries and continents.
The objective has been to create a meeting point for convening experience, knowledge, ideas and a will to share them for initiating new solutions and activities. The organization arranges seminars, workshops, lectures and experience-sharing events by people of a variety of experience and knowledge. It hosts meetings, discussions and brainstorming events for community groups of different nature.
Edukontor advocates remote and flexible working, also applying covision methods for a successful change.
Premises: space with high quality internet connection, basic office equipment and furniture.
Human resources: a leadership group (volunteers) and one full-time manager.
Financial and in-kind support: National Foundation of Civil Society, Saaremaa Municipality, companies donating furniture.
Evidence of success
27 permanent tenants in office currently, renting a room or shared space. They all contribute in the activities, marketing or maintenance of Edukontor. Number of temporary renters differs seasonally, most of them work here in summer months. In 2018, 950 rental-hours were used by 27 persons at temporary basis, in 8 months of 2019 – 1316 hours by 25 temporary renters. In monthly public events “Formulas of Success” entrepreneurs (founders of Bolt, Skype etc) with local roots share their experience.
*Sustainability can’t be achieved on voluntary basis only.
*Lots of campaigning (also in local government) to prove NGO can be professional and achieve wide aims.
*New phenomena (like flexbile work) is hard to explain in small places, in bigger towns it is easier to find partners and financers.
Potential for learning or transfer
*Makes a region (a peripheral one in particular) more attractive for teleworkers and digital nomads who bring new knowledge and skills in the region.
*Encourages new local people starting entrepreneurial activity (space and people-to-people knowledge and skills sharing).
*Stimulates participation and contribution in the local community activities and voluntary work.
*Creates synergy among people representing various fields of activity, interests, experience and background.
*Promotes cooperation and birth of innovative ideas at both personal and organisational levels.
*Fosters the application of covision methods for change through increased collaboration.
*Requires no substantial financial investment.