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IT Crowd – the first coworking space in Bitola

IT Crowd is a coworking space located in the center of Bitola and is a space intended for those who need a hybrid office and a daily place to work on a computer, and not only that, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the delicious food prepared in the kitchen of IT Crowd.

We talked with Ilche, who has a master’s degree in IT and works as a Cloud Architect, i.e. DevOps Engineer.

How did you come up with the idea to open a co-working space?

The idea came to us when we had to find a solution for the merger of two family businesses, one quite old, about 25 years, which is for selling fresh meat and is also in the city center, and the other a relatively new business, i.e. a small IT company that offers consulting services within Cloud and DevOps. This combination created the IT Crowd, the first coworking space in Bitola, where the part dealing with IT found a space to work and the other part related to food found its market.

What does your co-working space offer?

A wide range of services and quite a few innovations come from IT Crowd, starting with food where we have existing collaborations with IT companies, then we have collaborations with IT companies that arrange for their employees to work in our spaces, and we help promote their services as well as provide a space for those who do not have offices in Bitola to perform team activities. Our team offers marketing services for IT companies that want to promote their services internally and promote their open job positions. In IT Crowd, there is a mini academy for children who want to learn programming through games and robots, which is completely our product it is called Rowbotech, and the interest in this mini academy is getting bigger and bigger.

What are the terms of use and who can use your coworking space?

Our coworking is virtually divided into several parts, where we have free space, then we have desks that we rent on a daily or monthly basis, and we have an office that can be used by those who need a quiet space. We also have a summer garden that was often used for events and promotions in the past.

What are the benefits of using this kind of space?

Mainly socialization, and finding new opportunities in their careers for those who come individually. Also, we offer companies an atmosphere that helps their employees to adjust faster to the projects they work on.

Is there interest in N. Macedonia for using co-working spaces?

Compared to the period when we started this business, the interest is currently greater and greater, but generally, I think that the interest is not too great considering all the benefits that can be obtained from such hybrid spaces.

In which direction do you want your co-working space to develop?

Our goal in the future is to increase cooperation with both local and IT companies outside Macedonia. We have been in a situation where IT Crowd helped to open new collaborations in the Cloud and DevOps sphere, and also in the reverse direction, our expertise in the IT part helped to start new collaborations with external IT companies who want to form teams in our country.

What is your opinion about remote jobs?

As an engineer, I have been working on that principle for more than 6 years. That principle of work has helped me a lot in the development of my career, and with the support of places like IT Crowd, I think that for many individuals it would be a winning combination.

What are the most interesting profiles of freelancers/companies that use your coworking space?

The individuals are mainly developers who work remotely for foreign companies, and the companies we cooperate with are mainly IT companies, like Endava, Keitaro, Ecomwise, Blueshift, MusalaSoft, etc.

How do you keep freelancers interested and what events do you host at your place? Share with us some interesting examples/events that have taken place or will take place in your co-working space.

Several regular events take place every month. They are mainly events related to IT technologies and work principles. In addition, daily, we have a midday informal gathering where there is a lot of discussion about technologies, problems at work in everyday life, and ways to deal with such problems. For this, I have to thank my 12 years of experience as well as the experience of the circle of engineers who regularly visit IT Crowd. We have internal projects with which we motivate young and future engineers to use the opportunities in the IT world, and anyone interested in volunteering on Open Source projects where technologies like Python, JavaScript, Terraform, Kubernetes, and Docker are mainly used, can contact us.

What pricing model do you use and what is your policy?

The prices for using the space are minimal because it allows us to sell more food and drinks, but our main income is when companies organize larger events where they use most of the space.

Do you collaborate with another space like yours, in the country and abroad?

For now, we do not collaborate with other coworking spaces.

Andrijana Serafimovska

Andrijana Serafimovska is the Communications Assistant at Impact Foundation. An ambitious and self-driven individual, with a passion for volunteering to better the quality of life of disadvantaged groups. She is experienced in project management for NGOs and social media marketing.