Financially sustainable creative incubations units
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27 · Jun 13 | Bratislava city regional implementation group 2 - Business model of the creative incubator in Bratislava

The goal of the 2nd workshop was defining a sustainable creative incubator´s business model  based on a combination of artist needs and those of creative entrepreneurs with regard to best practices and experience in the operation of incubators in Europe.
Image - Picture Vladimír Kmeť of OneClick,s.r.o. stated that Bratislava has a different starting point than other partner regions in the project InCompass, where infrastructure for creative incubators is more developed. Developed „creative“ cities, such as Milan, Amsterdam or London are home to dozens of incubators. Most of them are still very dependent on public funds and projects. The goal of this project is to search for best practices that could help to reduce this dependence, not necessarily to zero. The importance of looking at the incubator itself versus using a view of the „creatives in incubator“ has also been discussed. Financial sustainability can be achieved by limiting services and reducing costs which may not be desirable. Help for emerging entrepreneurs requires public resources, as well as finding the right balance between the different sources of revenue:

Creative incubator’s business model

To better understand the needs of creatives and a model for a functioning creative incubator, the group worked on a definition of the business model for creative incubator. Participants presented their ideas and activities that creative incubator could offer or what is already being done or have been prepared. Workshop moderator enriched this information with findings from study visits and other InCompass workshops, as well as with other examples from successful creative incubators.

What does creative incubator offer to emerging entrepreneurs? (Value proposition)

Bratislava City shouldn´t have the ambition to start to run something that is already being done by someone else – like existing co-working areas focusing on start-ups, such as SPOT or Connect.

Services offered by incubators should include traditional things like facilities, infrastructure, classical and practical learning, mentoring as well as cooperation on joint projects. The team identified first opportunity for a joint project of incubator members - The Story of Bratislava, public area improvement. BSK also sees opportunities for creative services of incubator to be used by BSK institutions, even if it requires legal analysis in relation to the procurement process.

First real joint project of incubator creatives – The Story of Bratislava

Strategy of Bratislava should partially draw from its heritage. Well known writer Daniel Hevier reminds us that Bratislava „still doesn´t know its own story“ and we need to be able to tell it. „All of the economically successful cities have a story that can also be economically evaluated. Whether it´s Prague, Vienna or Budapest, they all live off of their myths“.

Proposed is to create a group of experts composed of writers and historians who would try to create a story of Bratislava that could eventually also serve other segments.

It is necessary to identify potential partners and initiate discussion about concrete form and terms of possible cooperation, seek common grounds and synergistic effects.

What activities it has to carry out? (Key activities)

Business development and new opportunities
It is necessary to find ways to attract new projects, to find new customers and partners for creatives and use the potential of incubator members, as well as find out how to present them abroad, online or locally.

Common position on key topics and educating the public sector can help in creating favorable conditions for the entire ecosystem and business development. Creative industry is one of the priorities of EU.

It is necessary to attract top professionals from the industry in order to compete with high-end production. Marek Veselický from Solid Enterprise mentioned that in preparation for the new film studios he plans to invite experts from companies such as Walt Disney Studios or Lucas Films. He also stated that in 2018 he plans on opening a Film University.

Analysis and data collection
Several members of the regional implementation group pointed to the lack of reliable data on mapping and needs of creative industry in Bratislava (type of companies, what do they do).

„Existing data is not quite correct“, says Vladimír Kmeť. There are only older data but statistics were only collected from companies with more than 25 employees. An ongoing mapping in Košice uses primarily telephone surveys as well as focus groups with specific groups (designers, architects). A national strategy for creative industries is also underway with Ministry of Culture as a coordinator. We assume that during the following strategy we will also be able to collect relevant data for Bratislava and its region.

Incubator partners should be experienced representatives of creatives interested in helping start-ups (mentoring), representatives of educational institutions and universities, representatives of the public sector as well as NGOs.

The Office of the main architect of Bratislava expressed a demand for a clearly defined platform of creative industry representatives that will be partnering with the city in the development of public areas. Today, there is nothing like that. Main aim during the creation of this new concept is to communicate with the creative industry and „return it“ to the streets of Bratislava.

According to Kmeť, the city should therefore initiate creation of a cluster that would be able to fulfill this new function. Creative Industries Forum has similar ambitions. Clusters are the most effective way in the process of creating an innovative ecosystem.

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InCompass Project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development fund through the INTERREG IVC programme