Hello Romy, first of all thank you for your time, could you please start by telling us about yourself
I am Romy, maker of Coworking Camp. Im an open minded person trying to spend my life as happy as possible by surrounding myself with passionate and independent people who prefer a more doing less moaning lifestyle – executing crazy ideas and client projects for a living at the same time.
When and why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
My parents come from the working class and I don’t know why but I always admired people having their own company and not depending on a boss. I started my first company in the age of 19 while studying; I was a freelancer for building constructions. After my studies of Marketing and Design I worked for a big Austrian Design & Branding Consulting Agency. I found out that big brands are made of common people as well and that there is no magic trick behind except never doing things without passion. With this knowledge I started my own “design thinking” agency and opened the first Coworkingspace in my home city Salzburg. Why? Due to a very egoistic reason: I am not creative and productive by being on my own.
What are the risks of entrepreneurship?
I think for a person with interests in different fields, passion for doing things and communication, being an entrepreneur is not a risk at all. It’s more difficult for very specialized people who have difficulties doing accounting, sales, marketing or being flexible to adapt to new options on the market. Being a generalist helps a lot – and to trust in own talents is important too.
Tell us more about the idea of co-working camps? How did you start this business and what do you offer?
The origin of Coworking-Camp goes back to an informal conversation at Coworking Salzburg on a rainy day in spring 2013. “What if we move with our laptops to a beach and get our things done from there…”
We did not get rid of this idea and thought about where, how and with whom to implement it. Coworking Camp is not a business at the moment. Since it gains no profit or money. Currently it’s more a startup idea in the phase of its first prototype, which we did with Camp Nr1.
We very simply offer an place at an inspiring place on earth e.g. El Gouna, bring together like minded international MAKERS (this is the biggest challenge) and do some activities with them (workshops & sports actives).
Are you willing to franchise your brand one day?
I am struggling a lot with the franchise topic. On the one hand it makes sense to “sell” knowledge we gained from some years of experience in the coworking business – because it will “cost” people who want to enter this industry a lot of time (= money) to make the same mistakes and learning we did. On the other hand: passionate people who are the right ones for running a coworking business, (in most cases) do not have any money in the beginning. That’s the dilemma. Maybe taking shares for support and advice is a more reasonable concept.
Are you willing to organize more co-working camps? if yes, when and where?
The first Coworking Camp has done the “proof of concept”. Feedback was amazing. People enjoyed it a lot meeting entrepreneurs from different spots on earth and realizing we are facing the same challenges and motivations and being able to work on our laptops next to the beach. Once the business model for Coworking Camps is set we will be able to do this 1 week events on a regular basis. We are looking forward doing a next Coworking Camp soon. Maybe in summer or autumn and possibly we are going back to El Gouna since this beautiful destination is just perfect for our needs.
What is the one thing entrepreneurs need in Egypt to boom?
Despite to all circumstances: NEVER GIVE UP as long as you believe in your dream!
In your opinion, how entrepreneurship will affect the Egyptian economy in the next years?
You know when I compare the startup spirit in Egypt to the spirit in Austria or Germany I see a bright future for the Egyptian economy. I met a lot of Egyptian entrepreneurs and they where all full of passion and lets do it mentality. Where I come from people first ask “why should I do that” – e.g. quitting a job and work on a new idea. The lifestyle as an employee is very convenient in Austria and Germany – if you have a job. We have a great social system, so why moving and leaving a comfort zone? This is the biggest advantage Egypt has I guess, not being happy with a current situation and having well educated people willing to create a good future by starting up an innovative company.
What a about these days? Do you have any new project that you want to share with us?
Maybe we do something more often and more permanent in ElGouna, ask me again in some months please 😉
What do you advice new entrepreneurs?
Think about why you do what you do. And if things scare you or make you feel worried – ask yourself: will this matter 1 year from now? These 2 questions make me focus on what I want to achieve in life – which very generally is: doing more of what makes me happy J
Thank You Romy for your time, we wish you best of luck in your next endeavors and we are looking forward to see you again in Egypt soon.