We talked to Emil Shekerdzhiiski, Founder of NETWORKING Premium Coworking, an elegant coworking space developing into a high-performance micro-environment where entrepreneurship and innovation thrive and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: We try to be strong after a recent loss of a relative. My Father in Law passed away two days ago due to Covid-19. It is still hard to believe, but this is life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded NETWORKING Premium.
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: I am a serial entrepreneur, Israeli startupper, and Angel Investor.
I have two major projects running in parallel, and thanks to globalization, it is possible and even succeeds excellently.
One is a Lynx.io startup company we founded with Naum Berestetsky, who was interviewed here in the panel and told about this unique entrepreneurial venture and the other one I founded – the NETWORKING Premium, which I would like to tell you about.
NETWORKING premium is a special coworking of 7 locations after surprisingly discovering all good people who go to such places.
I always joke that our coworking doors have a filter that lets only good people in, but it is actually like that.
This discovery made me decide to move my life entirely to Bulgaria to develop this community even further.
How does NETWORKING Premium innovate?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: We build beautiful spaces with the latest design trends combined with our signature style. Spaces that host innovative companies. We push innovation through events such as our monthly pitching competition: “Pitch2Pitch”. An elevator pitching competition in the style of “Shark Tank,” 1 minute, 5 judges vs. 5 Startups.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: Oh, it was bad; one by one, our customers stopped their memberships, from the smallest companies to the unicorns, people were afraid to use the coworking along with trying to reduce costs.
It was devastating. BUT we survived, recovered, and became better and stronger!
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: During the first months of the pandemic, since we were almost empty, we decided not to rest and wait for good news but to use the time to build, renovate and develop further. This, believing, that in the time after the pandemic, whenever it comes, our business helping other businesses revive will be a keystone in reviving the economy.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: We are using statistical tools to make our spaces more “usage effective.” Basically, it means that we are making every square meter usable. If a corner is not attracting people, we change it.
This results in overall space effectiveness as it directly affects the number of people we can host and therefore reduce the price per person.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: We have lots of good competitors, and we are thankful for that. It basically makes us work harder and become better and better, a real growth engine for our company.
Your final thoughts?
Emil Shekerdzhiiski: I wish good health to all the people reading this and a good year to the businesses behind those people and overall to all of us, as to unite the global community and become better when it is all behind us.
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