While working in Berlin for a week in the framework of our Erasmus Plus project Our Memories and I, we’ve got a chance to visit a place that was definitely on our CHCstories wishlist; BETAHAUS. Located in the alternative cultural heart of the city, Kreuzberg, betahaus offers a space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, artists, makers and all open-minded people who want to work on and develop their projects and ideas, exchange knowledge and gain inspiration from others.
Everything started almost ten years ago, in 2009, when a group of six young students decided to build an unconventional workspace; what began as a single room filled with used furniture that first members brought themselves, grew to a huge space of 4000 square meters with around 550 members. Betahaus spreads on five levels filled with different kinds of spaces; here you can find coworking spaces, meeting rooms, community spaces, team rooms and event spaces. Whether you wish to work, relax or socialize, betahaus clearly stands behind a writing we’ve seen on one of its walls: everyone is welcome in our haus.
And, clearly, you can see and feel that this is not just a clever wordplay: this sentence reflects the philosophy of betahaus – to foster diversity on many levels; in fields of professional background, experience, age and personality. Betahaus is open for everyone, there is no selection process, nor requirements for you to join.
For betahaus, community comes first. You need to listen and observe the community around you and change and adapt according to that. It is not enough to just offer a space; with the competition in Berlin being so strong, you need to keep your online presence strong and your offer interesting. Betahaus operates in four teams; events, marketing, coworking and HR team all work together to make sure to shape this space to fit the community it is meant for.
In order to grow and develop new ideas, you need to spend time with people in spaces that welcome creativity and motivation. Betahaus surely found a way to do it and to keep their members always interacting: on Thursday morning they offer a weekly community breakfast buffet with a starter of introductions and a side of three startups pitching, every last Thursday of the month you can join betabeer, there are also Tupperware Tuesdays, and in summer they stage their 24-hour festival People In Beta.
During the last decade, betahaus has not only expanded inside this specific place in Berlin, but also to other cities in Europe – to Sofia, Hamburg and Barcelona. Currently working on opening spaces in Tirana and Thessaloniki, they point out that the first step when coming to new community remains the same as it was when they started in Berlin – observe the reactions of the local community and hope that they are open to new ideas and space.
As it is stated in the name, betahaus is about always changing, about always being in beta. So, after almost a decade in this location, betahaus is moving to a different location in Berlin. With the terrace on every floor and rooftop garden, new place will continue to be a space shaped by the community and welcome some of the interesting ideas betahaus members wrote on the idea wall made for this purpose. It goes hand in hand with the sentence our Berlin host told us, while explaining betahaus development: It’s like life, you need to change and make effort.
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