Fostering Creative Startups In A Coworking Space : Factoría Cultural

We have been bringing to you stories of the people behind all the great stuff you see on the Internet. Today we have for you a glimpse of the lives of the people behind these people. Incubators and Accelerators provide an opportunity to young creative teams to benefit from the experience of great mentors and navigate through the rough and challenging initial days of launching a product or company.

We spoke to Santiago Mazarrasa of Factoría Cultural, a co-working space and hub in Madrid to support and propel creative startups.

Please share a little about yourself, Santiago.

I am a philosophy post-graduate with the belief that an independent and sustainable creative industry is a necessary base for strong and healthy social and cultural communities.

What is Factoría Cultural? What is the ideology behind?

Factoría is a creative hub dedicated to the support of entrepreneurs among all ICCs. Our former slogan is a very good example of what are intentions are: “Turn your creativity into a sustainable activity” It does not rhyme in Spanish, though.

Who are the people behind it and how did it begin?

Factoría started both as non-profit cultural association and a private company founded by Rosina Gómez-Baeza, former head of ARCO, Lucía Ybarra, former exhibitions coordinator at MNCARS, Antonio Bazán, our financial director and Sandra Stuyck, project manager at Patrimonio Nacional. The project was ready for a public contest in December 2013 and we opened doors on April 2014.

Was it always intended to do what it is doing or was it initially planned as something else?

As the project started, we had many ideas about many things that entrepreneurs would find interesting but we, most times, failed. For example, we organized sessions with different advisors and workshops but then we realized that entrepreneurs were not interested in them until they had real doubts. We wanted to create a marketplace but the majority of our first residents did not have a product to sell. Also, we did have advisors that were not needed as projects were yet at very initial phases.
But then, we have learned and adapted quite quickly, providing them with more personalized incubation ways and giving them services that will, for real, give added value to their projects.  Basically, we have learned along the way that every projects has its own need and so we have to be clever to manage their and our  expectations. That means that we will work hard to get you where you want to get but we need to know first that that place is available.

What were your major challenges in the beginning?

To get people to understand what we do. I like to say that we do the most boring part of a creative project, to manage it. We do not produce records, publish books and organize big exhibitions, fairs and festivals. We help people do all those things but at the beginning people thought that we  will give them grants so they could write a book or start selling their paintings. Obviously, we consider those things important and worthy but we want to help – let’s say – from behind the creation and not directly to it.

Also, we had some problems with people that did not like that a entrepreneurship project landed on a creation centre like Matadero. It seemed to them as a  impure area. I think, a year and a half later, that we have earned our place by cooperating with all institutions, facilitating projects and entrepreneurs to gather and grow and trying to be as active as we can providing services, infrastructure and solutions to all cultural and creative projects and entities.

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What activities are you doing right now?

We have different incubation programmes active right now that are specific for architects, technological and creative projects, arts & health, music and digital publishing. Those grants programms with all the services that Factoría provides on its own but with the added strength of a specific partner that gives loads of added value to the incubated project such as specific advisors from its sector, presence at fairs, specific sectors mentoring or residences at a hospital to work with prototypes.
At the same time, we have launched two different online platforms full of learning content for creative entrepreneurs. Both are completly free and right now we are working on building an active community around both, Campus Factoría and Campus EmprendeLibro.
Also, we have our own Factoría Escuela, where we offer courses on the diverse areas of project management and a permanent conferences cycle, Programa Experto, where you can come and listen to  experts on very different areas. Since the beginning, many of the most important people have come to talk to us about their experience and we have all their talks uploaded at our platform such as Carlos Urroz (Arco) Antonio Basanta (Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez) or  Juan Herreros (Architect of Munch Museum and many more).

What is the response? How many people work here today and how many projects have you served?

Right now, we have 36 projects and 48 entrepreneurs. Our total amount goes up to  95 people and 76 projects. We are happy with it 🙂

What are some good examples of projects that grew into successful startups?

There are projects like Don Cicleto, a network of bike parkings around Madrid. They managed to open their first four parkings in the past year. People  like Anna Kemp, from Un Teatro Entre todos, who has opened a open air theatre in Granada through crowdfunding. Blue Planet Tales, an interactive tales application for kids. We are also working with Animatoon, the recent winners of the PlayStation Awards.

What are future plans for FC?

To establish all our sectorial projects, becoming a “hub of hubs” with general services provided by Factoría and sectorial ones provided by our network of partners.  Also, we want to develop our online platforms until we turn them into active communities with many different services.

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Category: Idea Factory