Today we present you the article about CLIPSTER – is a co-living/co-working startup accelerator program in Gdansk, Poland. 2020 will see the continuation of the international Clipster pre-acceleration programme (launched in 2015) offering a co-living option, first of its kind in Poland. Selected on the basis of their applications, candidates from Poland and all over the world are invited to Gdańsk where they are provided with co-living and co-working space and are offered opportunity to participate in training courses and mentoring. Participants are able to test their business ideas in a creative, international team. Clipster won the Polish finals of the Central European Startup Awards and was named the best incubator and acceleration programme in Poland, taking the second position in Central Europe.
You can read it here: https://medium.com/@gdansk/clipster-co-living-and-start-ups-in-gdansk-24f0c8d73c44 or the transcription below:
Several people have decided to live in one place, even though they didn’t know each other earlier. Some of them have an idea regarding a business, others, skills in which they can help support these ideas. Their home is Clipster, in Gdansk. Currently there is room for three more people. Clipster was founded by Alfabeat and the Gdansk Entrepreneurship Incubator STARTER. Both are organizations which, for years, have been helping develop ideas into businesses, supporting start-ups created under their wings to achieve success.
This unique place was formed in the Culture Garrison, a new hot spot on the cultural map of Gdansk. Clipster is made-up of single and double microapartments with a kitchen annex and bathroom. Why micro? To give the residents a place to eat and sleep, without encouraging them to create their own private den. The entire basis on which Clipster is founded on encourages Clipsters to spend as much time together in a common room dedicated to work.
Who is the ideal candidate?
“Clipster is unique because it supports co-living, meaning, all participants of the project live together”, says Kinga Kuczynska from STARTER. “We’d like to invite all individuals who have an idea for their business, even those who might not have an idea but want to find one.”
At first, it’s possible to live at Clipster for three months. After that, the residents’ activity and development is verified and based on this their stay can be lengthened by three or even six months.
“At Clipster we offer an easy and harmless entry into the business world. Three months can be spent here without any commitment and can help answer vital questions such as: Is a career in a start-up fit for me? Will I find my team here? Maybe I belong in a corporation?” explains Jan Wyrwynski from Alfabeat. “However, a start-up is an obligation for a few years. If you receive money from an incubator, you can’t back away. At Clipster, ideas can mature and they don’t necessarily have to achieve success. If the idea is interesting though, we will invite its founders to form a business with our help.”
Entering the business world with support from Clipster is very intensive. At the moment, the process of connecting the residents and mentors into pairs is underway. Individual tutors are made-up of people who have already had success introducing an innovative product into the market. Among them are investors, advisors, managers and participants of international projects.
The residents will have to take part in weekly courses. The courses will go over teachings of business models, presentations, how to engage investors, and sales and marketing.
Jan Wyrwinski also underlines the weight of Clipster’s location: “The entire purpose is to mix different backgrounds which were exclusive up until now. The Culture Garrision gives us such possibilities. On the other side of the wall we have a gallery, right next us we have a music club and not far from here students of the Music Academy and Technical University have their housing.” counts Wyrwinski. “The more things going on in this melting pot, the better. We want to enrich the start-up scene in the Tri-City which currently is only Polish. Clipster is a way to bring in foreigners. At the moment we are waiting for confirmation from a very interesting candidate from Moldova.”
“The interactions and what goes on between participants is very important.” underlines Kuczynska. “We are very interested in what comes out of this combination of energy, ideas and characters.”
From the beginning of 2015, 10 people have already moved into the Clipster microapartments. The next three will move-in shortly. Tomasz Gabrys, a citizen of Gdansk, an alumni and electronical engineer from the Technical University of Gdansk, was the first.
“My work is to analyze the market for various patents and new technologies. Of most interest to me is the part where we have to check the demand for such a product and creating it, already after we have the technology and team”, says Tomasz. “I have participated in patent creation process several times. I know where people usually get held up. Most often it’s what we want to create in Clipster — a team of competent people who are able to spend a lot of time together not “jumping to each other’s throats”, however, stimulating mutual development.
He counts on mentors and the huge contact base. “Contact some of the rare Polish and European experts with specialist knowledge is incredibly difficult”, stipulates Tomasz. “When someone opens the door for you, the specialists will to help is much larger and it saves you much energy.
Another resident, Piotr Bialobrzeski is from Bialystok. He is an architect, who after his studies at the Technical University of Gdansk, decided to stay and can’t imagine living elsewhere.
“I spend my time putting together projects, however, for quite some time now I’ve been thinking of a start-up. I used to work with NGOs in creating various events where I was responsible for finding sponsors”, he says. “I want to create a web platform connecting both worlds, however, it this is a project completely separated from my own industry. I have to learn everything from the beginning and there is no better place for me to do that than Clipster where I can meet people who already have achieved their ideas. I count on their support and inspiration.”
Other than this, Piotr would like to find at least two residents who would like to create this platform with him.
Robert Rozanski landed in Clipster straight from Manchester, where he studied and started his doctorate in artificial intelligence.
“I came back to Poland because my scholarship ended and life here is cheaper. I am from Elblag, however, I was looking for residence in Gdansk and I found Clipster’s offer”, says Robert. “I have no idea what will become of my stay here, we’ll see. If someone will have an idea for their business which will require the use of new technology, I’ll help. In December I plan on handing in my doctorate thesis. Being here I can simultaneously expand my knowledge and contacts in the business world in which up until this point I didn’t have any relation with. Business and the academy seem very interesting, however, they restrict some flexibility. I would like to take some time to think about where my vision of life fits best.
“Co-living is a fresh trend, present in only a few cities in the world for a few dozen months. The development of such a new idea in Gdansk could help position our city as an important place on the start-up map of the world”, underlines Kinga Kuczynska.
If you’re interested in knowing more on Gdańsk Business Incubator “STARTER”, operated by the Gdańsk Entrepreneurial Foundation and their great initiatives visit their website: https://www.inkubatorstarter.pl/en
Project Social entrepreneurship development in the Baltic Sea region SEBS2 is executed under the Erasmus+ program and co-financed by the European Union.
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