KOVAČNICA continued, Jelena Vidovic went to talk about makerspaces to the co-working centre in Slovenia, lead by BSC Kranj. Here's part two of the interview...
Would you consider your makerspace as a success?
In two years we have grown in space (more than 100%), in the number of users (it was because of the increase of users that we needed to expand the space), visitors (more than 2,000 in two years), number of events and in the quality of our events. There are similar spaces in our regions. They exist, but ours is alive.
What are the options regarding finance/funding for makerspaces?
We cover our fixed costs with the financial help that we get from the local municipality. For other costs, such as; expansion of space, events and creating content, we are searching for and applying to different national and EU projects and getting some funding from regional development agency funds.
How has the makerspace community grown from starting up to present day - what has changed?
Our family is bigger. It has a very diverse profile of it's family members, who are more now even more committed to participating and helping to develop the space.
What facilities are available for makers/innovators?
As we don't own but rent the place, we are limited with space. We now have 20 co-working spaces, 1 bigger office for 6 people, a small office for just 1 person and a "classroom" in which we hold different events- our users can use it to organise meetings and can get some quiet time when needed.
What makes this makerspace different from others?
We have managed to achieve not just a place where you can work and get some information … we have managed to create community. This was our ultimate goal. That everybody would feel Kovačnica as their own. And even if they leave us (find another job or leave for other projects) they always come back for our events and are always willing to help.
What is significant about the location of the makerspace?
A lot! Ours has the perfect location. The building is not perfect, it would need some serious renovation- in winter it is cold inside and in summer we are cooking! But … we have a huge, beautiful garden, free car parking spaces and we are located almost at the old city centre entrance. We often talk about the possibility of moving Kovačnica (because of its limitation of space), but they (our members) all agree that no other location would be so great.
How would you describe the culture of the makerspace?
Business relaxed. We can talk some serious business, develop great ideas, or just relax in our deckchairs. Very creative and innovative (the ideas that we have sometimes!).
How can people get involved with the makerspace?
Our main communication channel is still Facebook. We also use the promotion from our municipality and regional development agency. We are still trying to be seen and try to engage different people in our activities. We believe that the more different that we are, more successful we can be.
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