New ways of working in Potsdam

Image © Unicorn Potsdam

The working world is changing. As a result of digitisation, more and more people now have the opportunity to work autonomously in a new, inspiring environment. The pioneers are innovative companies and start-ups – including ones based in Potsdam. In essence, the idea is that one should have personal control as far as possible on determining the time and location. Of course, this also requires new spaces – which were particularly scarce in Potsdam. But now they keep springing up all over the place. Coworking is being created in these new spaces – and that can be inspiring. This is where one meets people coming from a different background and giving new input.

According to the KfW Group’s Entrepreneurship Monitor 2019, Brandenburg is now in third place as far as start-up activities in the federal states are concerned. It is only topped by Berlin at the head of the field and with Hamburg in second place. Florian Kosak, CEO and Co-Founder of Unicorn ( (UNFOLD Magazine, P. 132-133), thus calls Potsdam an “attractive location with an excellent start-up climate”, and Ansgar Oberholz, Founder and Managing Director of St. Oberholz, points out: “I think new life is currently being breathed into Potsdam.”

Some coworking opportunities already exist at the Mietwerk, the Rechenzentrum or Atelierhaus Scholle51 in Potsdam-West, the Officium in Alleestrasse or the Business-Center Potsdam in the town centre, as well as at the Alte Feinbäckerei in Potsdam-West or the MediaTech Hub Lab, an office floor for start-ups located above Studio Five on the Studio Babelsberg lot. But now things are really starting to happen.

In July 2019, the Unicorn Workspaces opened in the Haus am Platz (an extension of the Kutschstallhof) on the initiative of the Hasso Plattner Foundation. The workspaces at Neuer Markt are within easy walking distance of Potsdam’s main train station. Start-ups and established companies can rent more than 200 workspaces with different office sizes on over 1,200 square metres on three floors. The CEO & Founder of Unicorn describes the concept of an office with a flexible subscription where overheads can be kept low as a “workspace as a service”(UNFOLD Magazine, P. 132-133). Larger conference rooms for meetings can be rented by the hour. Coffee is available free of charge for the clients in the building’s entrance area, and help is provided in the event of any problems. Unicorn’s first “Potsdam Pitch Night and Networking Event” was held there at the beginning of December 2019. “Pitch yourself into your new office” was the motto. Start-ups and established companies were given an opportunity to present their concept in a five-minute pitch and convince the jury. The winner can now use the workspace rent-free for three months.

The popular St. Oberholz, who has been established in Berlin for the past 15 years, will soon be coming to Potsdam with its innovative café and coworking concept. April will see it opening its doors in Babelsberg. The old post office building in Voltastrasse will be given a new lease of life after having stood empty for almost two years. Founders, start-ups, entrepreneurs, but also freelancers and employees are welcome there. There will be a public café in the former main hall – as a meeting place for interested people, neighbours and all kinds of café guests, with or without work. “What sets us apart from most other coworking spaces is that everyone is welcome here,” says Ansgar Oberholz. “You don’t have to be a member.” There are also separate coworking spaces and team offices at St. Oberholz in Babelsberg – for members and those purchasing day tickets. Members have access to the workspaces around the clock and every day. “We liked Potsdam and the location of the old post office when we were looking at the location as part of a project for a client,” Ansgar Oberholz stresses. “The building stands for the transformation of work. Everything just came together there. We are now curious to see what the people will be working on there”. The combination of science and business in Potsdam and Babelsberg is definitely unique. A perfect place to inspire people to work in the way that suits them.

Last but not least, a large and much discussed IT and Innovation Centre is currently under construction to the south-east of Potsdam’s main railway station and is expected to attract international attention. A creative centre with flexible offices, spacious communal areas and other facilities and its own restaurant is planned on the site of the former railway repair works which had been vacant for years and a listed building since 1997. Construction is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2020. A flexible-use space for events, a kind of auditorium, is also planned. New buildings will be constructed next to the repair workshop. In total, more than 32,000 square metres of net space will be available. Up to 1,400 jobs will be created. The planning coordinated by the Berlin architect Jürgen Mayer H. (creator of the Metropol Parasol in Seville) is underway. The managing director of The RAW Potsdam GmbH, Mirco Nauheimer, wants to use the centre to help Potsdam expand its leading position in the fields of research and science. Optimum technical facilities will be guaranteed since the fibre optic cables run alongside the railway tracks. The building will be open to the public. Two international hi-tech companies have already expressed interest in becoming tenants. However, the area will not only to be a place of work as parts are also to be used for trade fairs and events. Well over 100 million Euros are set to be invested in this project.

Contacts for Unicorn and St. Oberholz

Unicorn
Anyone interested can contact Unicorn directly by e-mail.
ttromposch@unicorn.de, phone +49 30 629 390 167

St. Oberholz
Anyone interested can contact St. Oberholz directly by e-mail.
info@sanktoberholz.de

By Eva Werner

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