We present an interview with Rannar Park, Head of LIFT99 Tallinn. LIFT99 grew out of Garage48, the first startup co-working Hub in Estonia and the organizer of well-known hackathon event series with reach across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
1. What are the main focus areas, challenges, and motivations of LIFT99?
LIFT99 is a community-centered coworking space for idea and early-stage startups with a mission to build a community of international startup-minded people through an environment of support and trust. We provide a space for freelancers, digital nomads and budding local entrepreneurs that is designed to facilitate collaboration through events and knowledge sharing. With a mission such as this, the main challenges we face are related to staying relevant and up-to-date with what we offer to our community. Examples of this include when planning educational seminars, we have to make sure that the topics matter to our members. This kind of people-first thinking helps us stay motivated because our community is always changing, which means that LIFT99 needs to do the same and this is the fun part in my opinion - adapting according to our community, never really resting on our laurels.
2. How is the work of LIFT99 connected to Cultural and Creative Industries?
LIFT99 brings together people from all walks of life and has a reputation for being open to everyone - for this reason, we are not just another tech hub, but a community center for professionals from all sectors. As LIFT99 also often functions as "landing assistance" for Tallinn's international expatriate community, we are responsible for immersing members in Estonian culture, making sure that everyone who makes LIFT99, and Estonia by extension, their home, feel like this is a place they would like to stay. We have also been actively engaged in several projects tied to cultural and creative industries - the latest example from 2022 was when we put together a charity art auction (Art Against War series) in collaboration with the Estonian art community to support Ukraine.
3. What potential do you see in cooperation with and between CCI organizations and cultural institutes in the Baltic Sea Region?
The main, mutually beneficial, argument for cooperation with and between CCI organizations and institutes is greater inclusivity within the international community as well as communities in the Baltic Sea Region cities, enveloped in the projects they're tied with. For the organizations and institutes, this would mean greater visibility and advancement opportunities to develop whatever it is that they are focused on.