It all began in January 2012 with the launch of a project in Slovenia: Luka Piskoric, Marko Orel and Eva Percic laid the foundations of a coworking initiative and are now heads of coworking space Poligon that opened a little over a month ago. We caught up with Luka Piskoric to learn more about the team’s story.
A dire economic situation and particularly high rents encouraged members from the Slovenian startup scene to form different coworking initiatives in their capital Ljubljana. “Influenced by the economic crisis, we could not afford to rent a proper space and have a sustainable business model since the gap between the expenses of running such a space and the membership [fees] that our members could afford was too big,” Piskoric told inventures.eu. For the last three years, the team has been organising coworking events and has tried to develop a heterogeneous community.
Creative places for creative people
The main target audience for the merely one-month-old space are young professionals working mainly in the creative arts industry and social entrepreneurship. “Poligon is the first Slovenian creative coworking space,” said Luka and added: “Most Slovenian ‘coworking spaces’ are actually shared desks and have no community [or] events.”
But this is not all. What the team of currently six full-time members is also up to is launching a crowdfunding lab. As everywhere else, crowdfunding has become an increasingly valued alternative to financing. “In the past year and a half, the Slovenian Crowdfunding community has helped develop several successful campaigns on Kickstarter and collected more than 1,5 million dollars,“ said Piskoric.
The Crowdfunding Lab is, first and foremost, a place where people can talk about their knowledge and experience with the process. The team of Poligon is organising free consultations for young entrepreneurs who are looking into the matter of crowdfunding, four times a week, and they also plan a series of events, workshops and talks on the topic. On 11 April, they will also launch an international crowdfunding conference with experts from the USA, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy.
“Our vision is to establish international collaborations with similar hubs and communities and also further develop our expertise and projects in the fields of crowdfunding, service design and social innovation,” said Piskoric. With Poligon being a creative hub in Slovenia and the initiatives they have in the pipeline, this seems like a doable plan for 2014.