Coworking space for supporting startups and SMEs in getting mobile, having opportunities for exchange of resources, networking, and common projects
The Nest is a result of the efforts of the Vratsa Software Community and its stakeholders. Development of digital industry in Vratsa town was the first goal of VSC, involving young people in training and IT events, and when the local government policy was directed towards applying digital solutions in many areas of the economy, social life, and municipal services, VSC directed efforts to more integral activities and specific training and support for starting entrepreneurs. Establishing a coworking space, attracting and creating businesses is the next step for more successful and targeted support for starting entrepreneurs.
The good practice is addressing 2 problems:
1.Lack of incubator for startups in our district ;
2.Insufficient cooperation between starting entrepreneurs and businesses in the region – the opportunities for knowing each other and find the right partners and solutions.
Freelancers and small companies are able to work in the Nest. The idea is that each user has their own work desk and all share common resources such as internet, printer, meeting rooms, etc. The capacity is 25 jobs. Typically, users of shared workspaces are small businesses and people working freelance or remotely for companies. The benefits of this space are that on the one hand, it provides an effective working environment, it also helps to exchange experience and knowledge between users.
Opportunity to share common space and resources- contacts, info, networking, common projects.
23 000 euro for equipment and construction works, collected by donations in the community, support by local IT companies, organizations, and institutions, incl. Vratsa Municipality ensured the premises.
One coordinator full-time engaged and voluntary work by the organization members.
Evidence of success
The Nest due to the COVID -19 worked in a reduced capacity but survived despite the restrictions and limitations last year. Permanent users of the coworking space of the Nest are 3 companies with 15 employees and some sporadic users( visitors) that need a desk for a short time. As the only co-working space in the district, the Nest organizing events with the local startups and students; provide information about news and opportunities for cooperation and common projects, organizing meetings.
A limited number of events due to the COVID-19 restrictions ;
Difficulties with hosting freelancers and visitors- number of people who can work in the Nest together ;
Support for companies that are in the Nest for long term;
Support local non-digital businesses moving their business digital
Potential for learning or transfer
The Nest is a community-based project, organized and implemented by Vratsa Software Community and supporters. The mobilizing of local resources( technical, financial, human)and getting support from the local government is a good example of creating conditions for startups and SMEs in the field of ICT and other businesses as a community initiative in support of the local and regional policies for the survival of the starting entrepreneurs and development of digital Vratsa. A complex approach that includes training, information exchange, networking, job opportunities, and sharing co-working space and resources of the IT community with startups, SMEs, and freelancers is a good practice for the Northwest region of Bulgaria.