Sunday, October 09, 2011

Apartment Project 'HomeWork': Four Months Run

On October 4th I made a presentation about Apartment Project 'HomeWork' at the seminar “Strengthening Partnership in Creative Industries” organized by St. Petersburg Institute for Cultural Programs and Norden. The seminar gathered in the Ambassador Hotel those who does theory and practice of creative industries development in Northern Europe and Russia.

Here down below my thesis for this seminar.

Business Incubators are useful tools. Meanwhile you have to have something to incubate. That something is strong teams with professional expertise and market understanding. Such teams are in high demand and there is lack of institutes that grow them. I would like to introduce the term 'people colliders' to describe institutes that helps to grow teams with interdisciplinary expertise and market vision by mixing people, knowledge and ideas on a long term and continuous basis.

As examples of people colliders in St. Petersburg following can be listed
- Hackdays
- Master of Technology Entrepreneurship Program at National Research University ITMO
- Appartment Project 'HomeWork'
- Ad-hoc Education and Research Program 'GameCahngers'

HomeWork is an institute to present at this seminar. It's a place for co-working and events in IT, media and education. HomeWork's mission is to produce new contacts, discussions and collective actions in both business and culture spheres in St. Petersburg.

photo by Maria Belova

The place is a 280 sq. m. apartment in the city center in a historical building known as 'Tolstoy House'. HomeWork is a non-profit project that exists as a brand and as informal community.
All the content programming is based on people who are: Co-Founders and Residents - Yury Lifshits and Sergey Dmitriev and Key Participants: freelancers, startups and small media companies (approx 12-15 people).

Events are expert and media oriented, so talking heads or cinema's are not in favor. Roundtables, interviews, brainstorming sessions, co-learning seminars, internships and conference after-parties are main formats.

HomeWork runs for 4 months since June 2011. For this period it hosted more then 60 events (maximum per event is 70 participants, in average - 16, in total > 1000). Guests include well-known representatives of Russian and US innovation ecosystem as well as doers from media, education, event and fashion industries. One startup've got round-A investments (DrinCash), 4 projects (The Village, NextMedia, GameChangers, Animating Touch) have sustainable cash flow. 

Founders does not position HomeWork as a business incubator. It's more about people, culture, education, expertise and action. As a result of HomeWork activities 'Bootstrap Fund' was announced last week. It designed as advisory board, mentorship and PR support for scalable businesses, life-style businesses and social entrepreneurship projects.

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