Kovačnica coworking center in Kranj as a great example on how to establish and develop successful coworking center outside major urban areas.
In spring 2015 group of young people from smaller Slovenian city of Kranj observed global trends and decided that they would like to move things further.They have an idea to establish coworking center in their city. They presented this idea to people at municipality of Kranj and they found support there. Municipalit gave old empty building of former school for this purpose and they also included BSC Kranj, Regional Development Agency of Gorenjska in this project. BSC Kranj was responsible for securing EU founds and initial staff members. After many meetings, renovation activities and planning, coworking centre Kovačnica, first coworking space in Gorenjska region opened its doors in November 2015.
Beginnings of this project was not easy.Events and other activities were lacking people and interest. But dedicated team didn’t give up and after half year of work, quality events and other activities, people started to appear on events in larger scale and also available tables in coworking were slowly sold out. After a year, time for first renovation and first upgrade come when more tables and other equipment were added to coworking. Kovačnica now has a stable growth, expanding its premises and scope of program every year. Now it has capacity to host more the 30 coworkers and it is organizing more than 80 events per year. Vision of the place is to serve as a one stop shop for entrepreneurs and startups from whole Gorenjska region,serving them with broad scope of support activities
- At least 1 staff member fully employed on this project
- Approx. 20.000€ per year for workshops and educational activities
- Approx. 20.000€ per year for mentoring activities
- Approx. 20.000€ per year for equipment, office cost and renovation
- Approx. 15.000 per year for rent
Evidence of success
Biggest success factor is stable growth over past 5 years. Coworking started on premises just 75m2 and now occupy 450m2 of space. Also, number of coworkers are growing and currently all 35 available spaces are sold out. Majority of our workshops and other educational activities are also fully booked in advanced since we have limited capacity on it (approx. 20 participants per activity). We are also serving up to 15 entrepreneurs per day with consulting, mentoring and registration activities.
The biggest challenge in the begging was how to present completely new thing and new approach of coworking to people of Gorenjska region.
Other challenge is funding challenge, especially to secure funding for equipment and investment which is usually not possible via EU fund.
Potential for learning or transfer
We think this good practice can be nice example on how to establish, develop and run coworking center also in smaller town outside bigger metropolitan areas. Trend in working related to remote work and digital nomads will definitely go in the direction of smaller coworking spaces also in more rural areas. In 2015 we started from scratch in old school building so we went through all phases of building and development of a coworking space and most important of building a business community around it.
As mentioned above, idea first came from group of young people of Kranj, so it is also nice example what can be done if young people are listened and have support from local municipality and other relevant stakeholders.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.