Ostrava Craft Incubator
The Ostrava Craft Incubator was established in October 2016 by the City of Ostrava and the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, which remain partners in the initiative. In December a third partner joined the incubator: the Vítkovice Secondary Industrial College.
The concept of the incubator is based on the well-known concepts of Fab Labs and DIY Workshops, which have proved popular throughout the world. It is targeted at both amateurs who enjoy manual crafts and professionals in the field – in short, anybody who would like to try out a new craft and learn new skills under the supervision of expert craftspeople as part of themed workshops, courses, lectures and other types of presentations. The incubator also collaborates with a range of other partners.
As part of the Operational Programme Employment, the incubator teaches skills that are useful on the labour market as well as supporting entrepreneurship among individuals and SMEs. It provides a platform that cushions entrepreneurs from the risks of starting a business, as members of the public can pilot their own business projects in a safe “dry run”. The incubator also runs its own projects supporting training and entrepreneurship, which are subsidized to ensure that they can be offered completely free of charge to the public.
The incubator offers a range of fully equipped workshops:
1. a textile, leather and paper workshop
2. a hi-tech workshop with 3D printers and equipment for experimental work with Arduino 3. a pottery workshop with two potter’s wheels, a rolling stand and a pottery kiln
4. a metalworking workshop
5. a woodworking workshop
6. a concrete workshop
7. a community garden
Similar workshops and craft incubators are currently being established in numerous European cities. The closest examples to Ostrava are in Poznań (Poland), Bratislava (Slovakia), Plzeň (Czech Republic) and Vienna. Everywhere they have met with a very positive response, as recent years have seen increasing numbers of people take an interest in making things with their own hands. We are confident that especially in Ostrava, with its strong industrial tradition and huge skill potential, an incubator like this will bring major benefits. Indeed, the membership of the incubator is growing constantly – and plans are now underway to expand it by adding new workshops (for car repairs and blacksmiths) at new locations.
The craft incubator in Ostrava always responds flexibly to the current and newly emerging needs of all its users in order to constantly enhance the services it provides – not only by investing in new equipment and expanding the range of workshops available, but also by enlarging its team of expert staff.
2019 – A SUCCESSFUL YEAR IN FIGURES
4911 amateur and professional craftspeople used the incubator in 2019
508 registered users signed contracts with the incubator by the end of 2019
409 visitors per month on average
108 events, workshops and teambuilding sessions
14 regular users have started up their own businesses since the incubator was opened
Another programme set up by the City of Ostrava (and its municipal districts) and implemented by the craft incubator is targeted at school students aged 13–15. The programme supports education and talent management. It helps students acquire and develop technical and manual skills, as well as raising awareness of vocational studies and technical studies at both primary and secondary level. Responding to the lack of workshop facilities at many schools, the programme also gives many students their first ever encounter with manual crafts, helping to develop their skills and encourage enthusiasm for technical and vocational studies. Another major step we have taken this year is our new partnership with the Vítkovice Secondary Industrial College, which uses the incubator’s facilities for its practical carpentry courses.