Zagreb has been making waves when it comes to impact on makerspaces through policy change. Lidija Pavic-Rogosic, Director at ODRAZ-Sustainable Community Development, joins us to tell us more.

What has Zagreb gained from participating in the UrbanM project?  

The concept of 'maker spaces' was not very well known in Zagreb or even in Croatia when the city decided to join the project, although there were some good examples. Zagreb has always supported development of crafts and SMEs through different means, from adopting programmes for fostering development, providing grants to crafts and SMEs to establishing Zagreb Innovation Centre (ZICER), which provides entrepreneurs with support for a faster and easier path from having an idea to taking it to market, including an entrepreneurial incubator and necessary professional assistance.

Two trends are important when talking about crafts and SMEs in Zagreb: In the area of craftsmanship, the number of craftspeople and the number of persons employed by craftspeople has declined. On the other hand, the number of entrepreneurs in the City Zagreb in the last several years has increased by 20%. Dominant entrepreneurs, with a share of 90% are micro-entrepreneurs followed by small business entrepreneurs with a share of 9.0%.

Having those trends in mind, the city looks for new ideas and ways of promoting entrepreneurship, connecting crafts with new technologies, implementing new practices, supporting new products. The participation in UrbanM project has brought Zagreb all that: gaining information and learning from different partners' experiences. Also, we have now colleagues in different European towns from which we can get help and advice when designing and implementing new ideas and 'maker space' practices.

What changes or plans do you now have to ensure collaborative maker spaces in Zagreb thrive?

The intervention in a new programme for fostering the development of crafts and SMEs for the period 2019-2023 was agreed and co-working and maker spaces were mentioned in one of the measures. The city assembly adopted the programme during the session held on 21 March 2019.

This change in the policy was influenced by the UrbanM project, as representatives of city of Zagreb have learned from the experience and good practices have been seen in the other partner cities for how the 'maker spaces' can be organised, what the benefits of this innovative way of working are and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

What are the timescales for implementation?

A public call for awarding grants by the city of Zagreb was launched for business developing entrepreneurial innovations, as a part of the implementation of the Programme for fostering development of crafts, small and medium-sized entrepreneurship in the City of Zagreb 2019-2023, in the part related to Measure 2.1. Support to innovators developing and promoting innovation for use of the entrepreneurship.

The new cycle of Start-up factory is expected to be open soon by ZICER. Also, investment in ZICER premises is expected by the Integrated Territorial Investment programme, which will provide the 'maker space', planned to open in 2020.

What impact will this have on makers and business in the city?

This will bring an innovative approach to the development of crafts and SMEs in Zagreb, fostering STEAM practices and helping to produce new prototypes - products and services and connecting 'maker space' community.

To find out more information on makerspace policy in Zagreb, please contact:

Zrinko Rebrina, City of Zagreb

E-mail: [email protected]

For more information about the Urban M project, contact us: [email protected]

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