It’s the beginning of a new year and finally we found the time we needed to talk about one of the latest adventures of CRU Cowork.
Last December, through European Creative Hubs Network (ECHN) and it’s Peer to Peer Scheme (P2P) we had the opportunity to choose a Creative Hub to visit and work for a week. The goal of this program is to share knowledge and learn the best practices of another hub, through an emersive experience and a face to face relationship.
It was a really difficult choice, as the network is vast, diverse and full of one-of-a-kind super creative places, interesting platforms and amazing people. We focused in our goals and establish that we’re looking for a place with some particular characteristics: a private and for profit institution, with no public funding, with a maker space and lots of events. We also wanted to learn from a bigger and older coworking space, with a large number of creative professionals. We chose Betahaus Berlin.
Tânia, the founder and manager of CRU Cowork, went to Berlin from November 27th to December 4th, to meet Betahaus and it’s team.
Katy Zühlke is the ‘all-kind-of-problem solver’ at Betahaus and she was our P2P host who guided us through everything.
On the very first day, Tânia was invited to make part of the weekly team meeting and got to know everybody in the team. From Events department, to Academy, from the chiefs to the interns, the Betahaus team meet every Monday, at breakfast, to briefly talk about that week’s bigger events, to point out the week’s challenges and ask for help in the harder tasks.
Betahaus Berlin was one of the first cowork spaces in the city and in 2009 founded the first floor around the cosy cafe, that is now the entrance to the building.
The space has been growing organically and nowadays, each one of the 4 floors reflects it’s integrated growth, through the decoration of the different spaces, and the rearrangement of the space to the needs that have, over time, been detected.
During our week at the Betahaus, we were able to go through all the working spaces and work from every corner of the house. We have observed all the details of the space: the furniture, the solutions found for the provision of privacy, comfort, sharing or meeting points. The work space in the Betahaus is inspiring and unprepossessing, demonstrating that for fertility and creativity there is no need for expensive furniture or no magazine cover design is required. It matters functionality, comfort, sense of living space and sense of belonging.
The community is worked through numerous events that promote not only professional growth but also social contact among coworkers and their acculturation in that particular environment.
Betabreakfast, Betabeer, the cafe, the community room, events, workshops, all together make this a building full of life and activity and filled with beautiful and vibrant people.
Katy and the rest of the team were super friendly and patiently answered all our doubts and questions. About the business model, they were opened and shared with us relevant information about the sustainability and profitability of the various vectors that Betahaus explores.
Events, rental of spaces, courses and workshops, guided tours, partnerships are all ways to keep the space monetized and to keep good prices for those who need them most – entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives who work daily to grow their own projects and businesses.
It is clear that both the scale of the team and the greatness of the space bring benefits but also new difficulties: the space is huge and always needs a great organization, maintenance and attention from the team. The community is large and needs to be cherished everyday: it is necessary to come up with new ways of maintaining personal and relevant contact. The team needs to be careful to always be cohesive and to stay in tune. Although there are no magic formulas, no perfect processes, Betahaus seems to do it all right and smoothly.
This experience was very useful to us and made us realize that it does not matter the size of a hub, there are core issues that are always the same. Things do not become simpler, they become different, the challenges take on different proportions.
It strengthened our ability to believe in ourselves and motivated us to move on, and to try out new approaches and ideas.
We must follow the principles we believe in, defending the community and the network we are building for almost 5 years.
Making part of a network of creative hubs make us feel more secure and crafting tight bonds with Betahaus makes us feel comfortable to ask, to apprehend and to look for ways to collaborate and grow together.
Now, let’s think about taking advantage of the synergies created and extend the results of this exchange to our communities!
We are sure that this is a first step towards a multiple joint projects!
Thank you European Creative Hubs Network, thank you Betahaus!