Lessons from CCCSEE: What We Learned in Serbia

 

We came, we saw, we conquered coworking!

Claire Carpenter and Sam Hulls from the Coworking Accelerator team jetted off to sunny Serbia to join some of the most brilliant minds in the coworking movement at the Coworking & Coliving Conference South East Europe 2019. And now that they’ve returned to not-so-sunny Edinburgh, the team is so excited to share their experiences with you, along with all the interesting things learned along the way.

by Kristy Lambert, Communications Officer for the Coworking Accelerator.

A trio of coworking legends - Claire (left) and Sam (right) with the creator and organiser of the very first CCCSEE, Misha Mijatov (middle).

A trio of coworking legends - Claire (left) and Sam (right) with the creator and organiser of the very first CCCSEE, Misha Mijatov (middle).

What happened at CCCSEE?

Coworking Assembly Gang.

Coworking Assembly Gang.

In short, a lot! To kick it all off, the opening address reaffirmed something we know to be very true; coworking has a magical, healing quality to it, something often unspoken that is tricky to put into words. However, Misha Mijatov (pictured above) hit the nail on the head when he said that it’s a cure for loneliness. The dark age of freelancers being confined to their homes or cafes is gone…

Now, people have somewhere to go that facilitates creative thinking, allows for flexible working AND the chance to socialise with like-minded people. It’s all about people and community. The crowd of coworking aficionados that flocked to Belgrade eager to learn and share testifies to that.

The coworking crowd continues to grow internationally, and we’re seeing more and more spaces popping up all the time. The first German space opened 10 years ago; now there’s over 300. Did you know that? Because I was certainly (but pleasantly) surprised! Notably, Germany’s rural communities are experiencing huge growth in this area, making it easier for people to join the coworking movement.

The conference continued with a series of inspiring speeches and engaging workshops jam packed with helpful advice on fostering community, supporting innovation and much more.

What is Coliving All About?

If you’ve found your way to us, you’re likely to have a good grasp on what coworking is. But what about coliving? CCCSEE was created to look at both coworking and coliving so here’s the run down to make sure you’re clued up:

Simply put, it’s shared housing as a service. This has become highly popular as a number of trends have emerged: freelance workforce, rise of loneliness and a climate wherein people are more willing to share with others. The expansion of coliving has led to a more affordable and social way of living.

It’s centred around shared physical space and often philosophical values, like a community; something which is at the absolute core of coworking. People coming together in one space, sharing ideas and resources, is always a joy to experience.

The Coworking Scene in Serbia

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić makes an appearance!

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić makes an appearance!

South East Europe is a hub for exchanging ideas, knowledge and culture, and it’s becoming increasingly recognised externally as such. The conference was the perfect opportunity to connect with these visionaries and learn more about how they see the future of work.

Like Germany, the number of coworking & coliving spaces dotted about Serbia is growing. Today, there are over 40 spaces nationwide. Taking this development in their stride, the Serbian government have repositioned themselves with the slogan ‘Serbia Creates’. Here, the creative and innovative practices of its people have been credited as contributing to a flourishing economy, with Prime Minister Ana Brnabić taking to the CCCSEE stage to share her glowing praise of the sector. A very proud moment for us all!

Budding entrepreneurs and social innovators are being further enticed to pitch up in these emerging shared spaces in Serbia. Further supporting ‘Serbia Creates’, the payment of tax for 19 days has been suspended for digital nomads in 2020. This means that people can come along to work as a business tourist without incurring extra costs. We encourage you to keep this in mind, should you find yourself venturing over to this spectacular country.

A Chat with Anas Husanovic

The lucky winner of our competition!

The lucky winner of our competition!

As you may know, we held a competition offering a CCCSEE ticket to one lucky winner. Claire managed to find him amidst the crowd and have a chat. Anas formally stepped onto the coworking scene in 2015, after a struggle to locate a suitable space for his work. Taking inspiration from a number of his coworking idols, BRDO Creative Hub was born, the first in the Bosnian city of Tuzla.

Talking of the Balkan context, Anas shared further obstacles which make the coworking movement challenging. For example, he notes that the working culture implores people to seek job security, something which entrepreneurs seldom enjoy, particularly in the early days. This, coupled with a culture of scepticism, make innovative ideas harder to sell and sustain. Despite this, Anas continues his role as a pioneer of his local coworking movement and hopes that Bosnia will follow in the footsteps of Serbia and take similar leaps towards embracing coworking, as those at CCCSEE so warmly do.

While he is taking a pause to develop the business, his continual commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and social innovation in the local region is truly inspiring. The Coworking Accelerator wishes him the best of luck and look forward to a visit in the future!

Will you be at CCCSEE Croatia in 2020?

At the end of next year, CCCSEE packs up and ships off to Croatia. We hope to be lucky enough to make an appearance there - and we’d love to catch up with you! If you’re interested in keeping up to date with the latest developments or simply learn more, check out CCCSEE news.


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Kristy Lambert is the Coworking Accelerator’s Communications Officer.

She creates our online content to help us share our knowledge and insight with people working with coworking communities and businesses around the world. We first met Kristy when she joined us at The Melting Pot for a summer internship.