Like all good ideas, the concept of Craftspace is extremely simple. On the one hand, there are young entrepreneurs, freelancers and artists who are not always able or willing to have workspaces of their own. On the other, there are many craft enterprises, restaurants, workshops and studios that are unused for hours or even days at a time. The Craftspace online platform brings the two together to their mutual benefit: the owner of the space gains some extra income, while creatives gain a professional workspace without any of the usual complications.
The idea of Craftspace was born out of necessity. Til Rochow, a business consultant from Hamburg with a doctorate in economics, wanted to set up an independent food truck business with a couple of friends – which ultimately became Holy Dogs, Hamburg’s supplier of premium hot dogs. Although they were quickly able to acquire and equip a vehicle, he and his colleagues struggled when it came to finding somewhere to prepare the food. Rochow only needed a kitchen for 5-8 hours a week, yet a professional kitchen meeting food regulatory standards would have been far too expensive for the few hours it would be in use. So he began looking for a kitchen to rent, but it took many lengthy phone calls and a great deal of painstaking online research before he found one. “Surely this could be done much more quickly and easily,” he thought – and Craftspace was born. With the help of two friends from his student days, Christoph Lange and Robert Frisinger from Bremen, he began to make his idea a reality.
Craftspace was created in February 2016, and in the two months that followed, more than 100 production sites had signed up to the online platform. Initially, the service was only available in Hamburg, Berlin and Bremen, yet it immediately proved to be a considerable success. The range of properties is vast: in Bremen alone they include everything from recording and photography studios to kitchens and carpentry workshops. A chocolatier, a jeweller and a screen printing workshop have also put forward their spaces. “There’s plenty of demand,” says Lange, the second member of the trio. “With this platform, we’ve hit on three important future trends. The first is the sharing economy, sharing instead of buying. You’ve also got the DIY scene and maker culture, which is flourishing everywhere – technology enthusiasts who love to tinker about with new concepts such as 3D printing. Finally, our platform captures the zeitgeist of the modern working world, enabling self-employed professionals and freelancers to work on an order-by-order basis, without being bound to a specific location and without having to invest in machines and equipment.”
For Lange and his co-founders, the fundamental meaning of a start-up is freedom. And with Craftspace, they want to make possible as much as possible. “Many people no longer like the idea of being attached to a particular company their whole lives,” explains Lange. “But they do have a great deal of respect for those who are self-employed. With this platform, we can make the initial hurdles easier to overcome.” Need to hire a professional kitchen to test out whether you can mass produce the marmalade that grandma used to make? With Craftspace, it’s not a problem.
You can create a profile on the platform free of charge – Craftspace only receives a commission when a lease agreement is actually signed. “We want to be for workspaces what Airbnb is to the hospitality industry: a simple way of bringing people together,” says Lange. The company is in the process of establishing its structure and developing its professional image, and ultimately hopes to expand its concept to other cities. Fast growth has been key to preventing others from imitating their idea, helping them hold on to the claim of being the only workspace provider of this kind in the world. To make all this happen, the team – which has grown beyond the original three – has pulled out all the stops, calling on trade associations, chambers of commerce, agencies and networks in order to reach as many production site owners as possible. “The feedback has been very positive – we’ve been able to convince a lot of people to work with us,” remarks Lange.
The owners of these spaces are the ones who often need the most reassurance. “What happens if my machines are damaged?” “What if I suddenly need to use my kitchen after all?” “What if a stranger messes everything up?” Lange is convinced that contact between the owner and the user is key: “The platform serves to facilitate communication. And that’s the most important thing – that space providers and those interested in hiring them talk to one another, get to know one another and come to an agreement. Anyone who is prepared to pay several hundred euros to hire a workshop knows to use the space responsibly, as well.” And in the event that something does break, this is also covered – if private or business liability insurance does not fully cover the damage, Craftspace’s insurance offers an additional level of security.
Craftspace is likely to build up its own community over time. The three entrepreneurs are convinced that shared spaces where people work alongside one another, and meet and talk to each other, will also bring about collaborative projects and new ideas. This is also the idea behind Kalle Co-Werkstatt in Bremen, one of the production sites listed on Craftspace. Saskia Behrens is the workshop manager there. She’s happy to have stumbled on a platform with such a wide variety of creative offerings. “I’m convinced that, with the help of Craftspace, many creative entrepreneurs have managed to quickly and easily find the right place to lay the foundations for their business, their ideas and their dreams. The Kalle Co-Werkstatt benefits in that we gain some additional publicity and reach a wider audience without the added cost,” explains the freelance designer. The sign-up process was incredibly simple: “I sent through details of our workspace, these were entered into Craftspace’s interface and formulated appropriately, I approved it – done.” True to Craftspace’s motto, ‘Machen einfach machen’ – making, made easy.
You can find Kalle Co-Werkstatt’s profile on Craftspace here: http://craftspace.de/space/kalle-co-werkstatt/
Bionics is the application of forms and functions found in nature to technology. Marine biologist Dr Christian Hamm and his team of researchers in Bremerhaven are leading figures in this field thanks to ELiSE. They are particularly interested in the tiny, yet incredibly complex, diatoms – nature’s experts in lightweight construction.
How will Brexit affect the trading of goods between the UK and the EU? Our guest contributor Anja Markmann, who is responsible for customs and international trade law at Bremen Chamber of Commerce, explains what is likely to change from April 2019 onwards.
A new process has been attracting attention in the food industry. Developed by the Bremerhaven Institute for Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering, the new method enables deep frozen fish to be defrosted in record time. And the fish tastes as fresh as the day it was caught.
For over 15 years, Jacobs University in Bremen has attracted young, talented individuals from all over the world. Students from 106 countries make up a community that contributes to academic achievement and produces graduates that are highly sought after by companies.
Fiona Moore is originally from Burton-on-Trent, near Birmingham, and now works as a freelance translator in Bremen. She fell in love with Bremen in her early twenties. That was back in 2000, but 17 years later she is still as enchanted by the city as she was on the first day. She tells us about settling in Bremen, about her family and about being fortunate to have found a home in here.
It’s an adventure playground for kids, an idyllic sanctuary for couples, and a quiet retreat for those looking to escape from stress – from joggers and Nordic walkers to lovers of nature and culture, the Bürgerpark in the centre of Bremen has something for everyone. For the last 150 years, this protected heritage site in the centre of Bremen has relied solely on the support of donations to keep it open and well-maintained.
A great deal of manual labour goes into aircraft construction. Despite this – or perhaps even because of it – Airbus is changing its approach to make increased use of digital technologies. It’s also researching the applications of new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. And not a moment too soon, as Airbus’ site manager in Bremen, Dr André Walter, explains in our interview.
GeoSea, a subsidiary of the Belgian DEME group, is helping to construct of some of the largest offshore wind farms in the German North Sea – and in Bremen, the company has found the ideal location to carry out its work.
Art, design and people with disabilities make up the fascinating focus of the work of two young designers from Bremen. Working together with employees from community-based workshops, they develop and improve on designs for handmade products – and are continually thrilled by the potential they see in their co-designers.
Companies wishing to access the European market should be careful about their choice of location. Brexit could result in significantly higher financial and tax burdens for UK-based companies. Under these circumstances, setting up a base on the continent might be a better option. Find out what challenges companies will be facing.
Environmentally friendly manufacturing and ethical standards are the principles on which the fair trade clothing sector is based. Leela Cotton, a successful German-Turkish textile company, produces clothes for children and adults that are not only stylish, but also make a positive contribution to the environment in the way they are manufactured.
Why have so many IT companies chosen to establish themselves in Bremen? We asked five key business figures and researchers from various organisations to tell us what makes the city such an attractive location for the IT sector.
3D imaging with millimetre accuracy for underwater industrial activities and deep sea exploration – company founder Jakob Schwendner has a very clear goal. The first prototype of a camera with brand new sensor technology was built in Canada and presented to industry professionals at the Ocean Business conference in Southampton, United Kingdom, in April.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is a successful business park that is currently undergoing expansion. Several major logistics companies have based themselves here, developing increasingly sophisticated processes that aim to optimise just-in-sequence production for the automotive industry.
Of all the states in Germany, Bremen has the highest density of major research institutions in relation to its population – a fact that also benefits those who study there. It offers a range of international education opportunities for prospective academics with strong practical relevance and research activities that span a diverse range of fields.
Weatherproof displays for transport services, and screens that don’t produce glare in bright sunlight – these are just some of the devices provided by AlfaNet Computer und Electronic Handels GmbH, a Bremen-based company founded nearly 25 years ago by Thomas Lie.
They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
Bremen: Down-to-earth, yet always ready to surprise you. An attractive place to live, a city through which we can move easily and without stress – on foot along the river Weser, on two wheels through the many parks, or by tram through the city centre. People from different cities and countries tell us why they fell in love with Bremen and have made their lives here.
Lighter, more bespoke and more intricate: for companies open to new ideas in manufacturing and construction, metal parts produced by 3D printers present an economic alternative to conventional die cutting, rolling and milling. Leading the way is Materialise, a company with its own metal printing plant in Bremen.
Bremen has been twinned with the city of Dalian in north-eastern China since 1985. Find out more about the similarities and connections that the two port cities share.
Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.
Wearables and smart glasses provide hands-free digital information. A visit at the headquarter of the global market leader for Industrial Wearable Computing, Ubimax in Bremen.
In 2016, companies invested a combined total of €229 million in the federal state of Bremen. Where do these investors hail from, how many jobs have they created, and what is their line of business? Our infographics provide an overview.
How will the UK’s impending exit from the EU affect the logistics sector? Günther Hörbst, Managing Director of the Via Bremen Foundation, on the economic links between the United Kingdom and the EU
The Chinese designer Haoyu Li combines his German design degree with Chinese business acumen. Now he is opening a design office in Bremen, with the aim of making it easier for Chinese products to enter the German market, and to bring German brands to China.
The colours of the local football team are not the only thing that's green about Bremen, as you'll see when you take a stroll around its parks and open spaces. A look at the statistics shows that Bremen is not only Germany's tenth-largest city, it is also its third-greenest, offering plenty of space to enjoy nature.
Keen to remain in Bremen? Then why not combine residency status with self-employment? Manuel Kühn from Bremeninvest’s welcome service knows all about how a start-up could allow British citizens to beat Brexit and kill two birds with one stone.
The high standard of logistical expertise in the state of Bremen functioned as a key to open doors, making this a successful year for Bremen. 2016’s successes were marked by automobiles and steel, welcoming ambitious international companies.
From initial idea to successful move. Andreas Gerber, who heads up the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, knows what international companies need to do to set up a business in Bremen. Here he tells us about the most important steps on the ...
Hard facts take top priority when it comes to the choice of location for international or domestic businesses. But the faster we feel comfortable outside the workplace in the everyday routines and culture of a foreign country, the sooner we feel at home. In addition to trade, science – and of course its port, Bremen has plenty to offer when it comes to quality of life.
BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG’s AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven is a record-breaking automotive hub. Every year, the terminal handles some 2.3 million vehicles. But that’s not all.
Going it alone is rarely an easy option. Co-working enables entrepreneurs to work in a shared space and experience the benefits and synergies that come with this. There are nine co-working spaces in Bremen – which one is right for you?
Permits and authorisations, a mountain of applications and a language barrier too. These are just some of the difficulties you face when starting a business abroad. Luckily, an advice centre opened in Bremen in early 2015 that can help you through the jungle: Bremeninvest’s welcome service.
Geographical distance and cultural differences make it hard to relocate or start up a company in another country. Luckily, help is at hand from the team at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Bremen. They'll do all they can to make your international business a success.
In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.
The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.
In 2015 Bremen won the right to host the International Astronautical Congress for the second time, after having successfully held the event in 2003. Its bid was the result of a collaboration between the Bremen regional government and Bremen’s space industry and space research sector. Event partners include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Centre.
The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.
Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.
Sometimes you have to learn from other people's mistakes and trust your instincts. That is what Muhammad-Farhan Aslam believed when he took over his father's business. Not only did he change the business model, but he also shelved his own plans to move to England. Instead he stayed in Bremen. And it turned out to be one of many good decisions that he made.
For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Centre in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Today more than 150 companies employing approximately 8,000 people are based at the site. It offers direct links to the ports, the autobahn and has a close proximity to Bremen City Airport.
Language barriers, unfamiliar legal and fiscal systems, qualifications that need to be recognised. There are many additional hurdles that entrepreneurs have to overcome when setting up a new branch or a new company in a different country. Bremeninvest is committed to offering you advice and support from the outset.
You might expect a Bremen-based company specialising in innovative instruments and implants for spinal surgery to be located at the Technology Park. But you'd be wrong. NuVasive Germany GmbH has its head office at the heart of the city centre next to Wallanlagen Park. Now employing a team of 44 people, the company generates annual revenue of more than €10 million – a figure that looks set to rise.
David Zhou came to Bremen three years ago with the aim of conquering the market – and a new continent – with LEDs. He started his business selling LED lighting and electronics at the World Trade Centre at Bremen Airport and has gradually built it up over the past few years.