Soon after my short meeting with Andrius from Mash Machine, it was time for exploring the place and meet the Garage48 HUB Manager. As newly appointed manager at the hub and as a great host Susanne Org gave me a tour and briefly explained what this space is usually used for. Even though outside was super cold, January in Tallinn, you can imagine, the inside was pretty welcoming and warm. We grabbed a cup of hot coffee, which was much needed at the moment and we started discussing about different “startup stuff”.
Sure, I wanted to know how Susanne joined the team and what does Garage48 represent in the Estonian startup community.
“Summer 2015 is when I first learned about Garage48 and I was interested to join and to help out in a way. So I started as a volunteer and I was engaged for an event that was happening in November. In the meantime everything that was happening in the HUB was filling me with motivation. Garage48 is not just an NGO and the HUB space can be used as a startup co-working space, event center and community house. Everyone is welcomed to join, especially because all the events that we are organizing are in English aimed for local as well as international audience. One of the things that we are maybe most recognizable for, are the many hackathons that we are organizing. The very first Garage48 hackathon took place in April 2010, in Tallinn, Estonia. Every Garage48 event is a special occasion and for that we need to find partners and sponsors to make it happen (some bigger successful companies, eg. Transferwise, Microsoft or universities – to support entrepreneurship in this town). Sometimes Embassies and Ministries support it when hackathons are taking place abroad. Some sponsors help with mentors/experts, some provide the venue, some with food/snacks , some with money, some with tickets etc. There are 15-20 hackathons (3-day events in Estonia and abroad) and more than 20 different Garage48 events every year including some smaller, like pre-events for hackathons at HUB (Tallinn and Tartu) and mini-hackathons like Student Camp etc. The HUB itself has around 80-100 events per year, but they’re mostly few-hour events (eg. seminars, networking events) and mostly we are hosting than organizing.” – says Susanne.
Slowly but surely she is getting used to this entrepreneurial lifestyle. Working normal hours is out of the table and for many people that might be discouraging and stressful. How does she cope with it? And what she thinks about the Estonian eco-system were my next Qs:
“For the younger generation is very trendy to have a startup or be part of one. In Estonia the very common thing you see in the media are success stories. But, do not get inspired only from success stories and then come to a hackathon or an event and get disappointed. Take part to as many events as possible, find some inspirational people and stories to follow and test your idea as soon as possible. Our aim at the HUB is to give everyone an opportunity to see how this works and especially through the hackathons, where you can validate your idea and get feedback in real time. I believe that this is a great platform to kinda experience if entrepreneurship is for you, if you are willing to start a company. And at these hackathons we can see people from different generations coming together, trying to solve problems. Also, I want to point out that you are not taking this job, you are taking this lifestyle. I can work from home, but I also work on the weekends and sometimes you need to take a break and to reflect. In the end you need to be a self-starter and be active. Less talk-more action is the motto!” – adds Susanne.
She is a great host and I wish her lots of success with her work as a manager in Garage48 HUB. As well I am sure that we will soon meet again and reflect on what they’ve been doing in meantime. To anyone who is travelling to Tallinn, you already know which place you need to visit 🙂
My next guest for #StartupSelfie was already at the doors and in the following days you can see who I’ve met. Subscribe via e-mail and don’t miss a story.