Within the framework of Visegrad Urban Creative Clusters Network grant project, we realized the first part of the creative tour to European countries aimed at making useful contacts, gaining experience as well as looking for sources of inspiration for the winners of Hackathon of creative entrepreneurship, held earlier at the National University of Water and Environmental Engineering.
Over the past week, a creative team of 15 people attended various places, organizations and businesses in Lublin, Krakow (Poland) and Kosice (Slovakia).
On the first day, the team visited the Science and Technology Park in Lublin, where its director Tomasz Malecki gave us a guided tour. He talked about the structure of the park, and the most interesting information was about his work and the most successful startups. NexBio became the most exciting and most massive. The idea behind it is that with the help of a small gadget and a special cartridge, you can determine the genetic structure of plants, and what they lack. Moreover, similar genetic tests can be done for people, for example, to discover their talents.
Then we moved to Krakow, where the team had a meeting with Dominika Kasprowicz, the head of the Villa Decius Association, and learned about the projects that are being implemented there, as well as plans and prospects. On the same day, we visited Krakow Science and Technology Park, which impressed us with its scale and architecture. The park focuses on the development of region’s smart specialization - ICT and multimedia, electrotechnology and machine building, and creative industries. The park's employees showed us well-equipped multimedia laboratory, which operates mainly in two directions: gaming industry and post-production of video materials.
The next day brought us the meeting with the organizers of the Najedzeni Fest in Krakow, who told us about the festival’s idea and concept, and gave advice on the first steps in creating similar festivals in Ukraine. Then we visited a unique cultural place – Pauza in Garden. This place represents the future of a creative society, because there is a cafe where thematic events, meetings, and workshops on different topics take place EVERY DAY! The cafe is located in the modern building of the multimedia library! This is a three-storey building full of audiobooks, electronic publications, board games, etc.
The next stop in our creative tour was Krakow Fablab - a place where everyone can show their creativity, thanks to the large number of equipment, including 3-D printers, laser engraver, sewing equipment, etc. We also visited a unique place - Tytano. It used to be a tobacco factory, and now it is a collection of creative cafes and restaurants, you do not notice at first sight, as there are restrictions on restoration or changes in the appearance of the old buildings.
Then our creative team set off for Slovakia, its second largest city, Kosice. There we visited the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Technical University of Kosice. It was really interesting to learn that the students are divided into groups of 4-5 people, and each group has its own mentor. We had an opportunity to talk to two students from Ukraine. They told us that, in addition to writing and developing the diploma project, the university students have to find a company that would like to buy it and they start their careers in this way. On the same day, we had a meeting with one of Hackathon mentors, Gabriel Oprentek. Gabriel and his brother have started the production of cider and original lemonade with honey in Kosice. Here, in addition to the production process itself, we also heard the success story of the business and a large number of life hacks.
Hackathon winners also visited the place similar to Tytano in Krakow – Tabacka in Kosice is a cultural park located on the site of the former tobacco factory (although it is not as big as Tytano). We were surprised to know that the day in Kosice was the opening of the Ukrainian Culture Week in the Kasarne Cultural Park. The location is extremely interesting as it is the territory of the former barracks, renewed, restored, reconstructed and equipped by the city authorities with the help of the EU.
The participants of the creative tour had little free time to go for walks in all the three cities, as the schedule was tight. In general, the members of each team found projects similar to theirs, let alone inspiration and emotions.
At the beginning of May, which is very soon, the second part of the creative tour will take place. You will be the first to learn about its results.