Gender stereotypes are a persistent feature in society, so it is not unsurprising that these are still perpetuated in the artificial intelligence bots that have been produced over the years. According to a Maxus Survey in 2016, although 56% of gendered bots are female, 100% of Law bots and a majority of Finance bots are male. Yet most virtual personal assistants are female. It is clear that the utilisation of bots to complete routine tasks is a growing phenomenon that will continue to pervade people’s daily lives. Therefore, in our increasingly inclusive society, where equality and diversity are celebrated and stereotypes are often disrupted, there are hard questions that have to be answered: Should bots be assigned a gender? Or should gender be taken out of the equation completely? Join in the discussion as we uncover trends and development, share with you real examples and hear your views on this issue.

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Want to know more about bots and/or this topic?

Be part of the first fully digital Botscamp and discuss in our digital session on Wednesday Dec. 7!

Picture source: http://www.lifehack-abc.de

The Romanian economy has been a sensitive topic for quite some time. But starting with 2007, the small enterprises have been encouraged to develop more and more, especially by investing money in developing projects for which they got funding from the European Commission or from the Romanian Government.

There hasn’t been much emphasis on an entrepreneurial education which is probably responsible for the small number of SMEs in Romania. I hope this is about to change, because I have seen more and more projects for young people, where you can learn things about running your own business, and the advantages of being your own boss and so on.

Another reason for my hope of change is the fact that there are business incubators and places where you can develop your new business. You can benefit from financial support, consultancy and offices. For me, this is one of the best projects implemented by our government, but I had no idea about it until I was a trainee last summer for The Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise, Business Environment, and Tourism Department. There I heard about this project for the first time and I was really excited that startup companies have opportunities like this in Romania.

The idea was first implemented in 2005-2006, as a pilot program, to see if it works and if there’s a need for it on our market. 3 incubators were formed for 60 businesses and for 3 years, which were helped by our government. 56 of the businesses ended successfully the 3-year incubation period, creating 255 new jobs in 2009.

Given the fact that the pilot phase was a really successful one, 10 other incubators were set up in other regions of the country. Each business incubator houses between 16 and 24 businesses for a period of three years (the duration of an incubation cycle). At the end of 2014, 330 businesses were “incubated”, creating more than 700 new jobs.

What are the benefits for an entrepreneur go work with a business incubator?

  • Office spaces endowed with furniture and IT&C equipment, as well as production spaces
  • Access to meeting rooms and conference rooms
  • Access to utilities
  • Grants to cover start-up costs and utilities costs
  • Consultancy services, specific to the pre-incubation and incubation periods, free of charge or at low costs.

Moreover, business incubators are platforms for business development. They offer opportunities for networking, transfer of know-how, learnings exchanges and partnership development. The aim is to support the development of early-phase startup companies and help them to reach stability and autonomy before leaving the Incubator. After graduating from the business incubation program, companies should have increased competitive power and higher chances of long-term market survival.

Who can apply for the business incubation programmes?

  • Entrepreneurs who intend to set up a new business
  • SMEs with an operating history of up to two years

The selection process is carried out locally, at the level of each Business Incubator in the project. Tenant firms are selected upon their innovative business ideas.

Therefore, I do believe there is hope for new businesses to develop at the same time as our economy. The government is clearly trying to improve something and I hope they will continue doing it. And as soon as I will decide to start my own business, I will definitely apply for the business incubation program.

Ioana Vasiloiu has a Master’s degree in International Relations gained in Bucharest – Romania, and also studied International Marketing in Poland. She has been working as a Social Media Coordinator for two years now and is enthusiastic about new developments in business and marketing.

Digitalisation and new technologies are rapidly changing the way we work, cooperate and communicate. Having a fixed office space where you sit from 9 to 5 seems somehow outdated. Especially freelancers,  students, travellers or start-up entrepreneurs often don’t have their own office anymore. They don’t need to. Digital nomads can set up their office anywhere, anytime; all you need to work is a laptop, the WIFI password and a proper coffee machine.

Co-working spaces provide this kind of infrastructure and aim to create an inspiring work environment. We have tested four options in Zurich and rated them according to price, location, atmosphere and quality of coffee.

Büro Züri by ZKB

The fancy Büro Züri has opened its doors in August 2015. This very modern and well equipped office space offers a variety of single or double working spaces and even a conference room for up to six people, which enables video conferences. Work spaces can be booked online and are available Monday to Saturday between 7am and 7pm.

  • Price: free
    This co-working space is sponsored by ZKB and costs absolutely nothing.
  • Location: very convenient
    Büro Züri is located at Bahnhofstrasse 9, not far from Parade Platz.
  • Atmosphere: focused
    The office is a bit over-styled and looks very much like the foyer of a bank or fancy hotel. People usually work quietly which allows for a very focused atmosphere.
  • Coffee: unlimited
    Coffee and mineral water are free and can be ordered at the “bar”. Staff is very friendly but add to the rather stiff atmosphere by looking like cliché bank employees.

Conclusion: Büro Züri is a great (and free) co-working option in the heart of Zurich. It gives you the modern infrastructure you need to work with a lot of focus.

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http://www.buero-zueri.ch

Impact Hub

The incubator Impact Hub Zurich is all about community. When you join you will not only be able to book the co-working spaces in Zurich and more than 80 other cities around the globe, but you will get access to a vibrant network of over 11’000 “hubbers” (550+ in Zurich). You can meet these people at member events, through Impact Hub’s own virtual cooperation platform, in the café areas of each hub or just while you’re working on your next project. The setting of the Impact Hubs encourages connections and creative exchange between the members.

  • Price: exclusive
    A membership starts at 45 CHF/month. You can then book as many days at the co-working space as you need, for 25 CHF/day.
  • Location: stylish
    Impact Hub Zurich has various locations within Kreis 5. The newly opened Colab at Sihlquai is the biggest of these venues, with 1700sqm of working space and relaxing areas.
  • Atmosphere: vibrant
    While the hubs also provide quite working areas, the main focus is on a relaxed, communicative atmosphere. There is sometimes music and often people discussing new ideas and projects. It’s an inspiring environment to be creative but you might get distracted a lot.
  • Coffee: self-service
    Coffee, ChariTea and beer are available for sale at reasonable prices.

Conclusion: Impact Hub provides a very hip and creative environment which is well worth it’s price. When you are working on the next big thing and need some feedback or are looking to make valuable connections, this is the place to be!

zurich.impacthub.ch
https://zurich.impacthub.ch

BUREAU.D

BUREAU.D has been initiated by Thomas Kupferschmied and is run by an association of creative people. They created this space to meet their own criteria, which makes it an excellent choice for those who don’t fear the way to Dietikon. It offers six permanent and up to eight flexible work spaces which can be booked on a daily basis.

  • Price: fair and flexible
    Work spaces can be booked for 25CHF/day. You don’t have to be a member to work at BUREAU.D but if you are, you can get better rates.
  • Location: hidden gem
    Eventhough this space is located in Zurich’s “agglo” (suburb), Dietikon can easily be reached from Zurich main station or by bycicle.
  • Atmosphere: creative
    The very unique interior and big open space create a lovely atmosphere to inspire a creative mind and to meet friendly people.
  • Coffee: nice and cheap
    You can get coffee for one Swiss Franc – which is incredible. Cold drinks can be bought from the fridge or you can bring your own picnic.

Conclusion: BUREAU.D is a wonderful choice for a creative people that appreciate a unique working environment. Dietikon rocks!

http://bureaud.ch/
http://bureaud.ch/

Toni Areal

Toni Areal is home to Zurich University of the Arts, zhaw and the Museum für Gestaltung. While it is not an official co-working space, Toni Areal offers a vast amount of lovely working spaces for students and visitors alike. You can sit in one of the cafés, at the group working spaces in the atrium or grab one of the many flexible tables which are scattered throughout the building. The undisputable highlight however, is the beautiful roof-top which offers breathtaking views and oasis-like working spaces within the herbal gardes. The only downside is that there is no WIFI for non-students.

  • Price: free
    It’s a university, so just sneak in and pretend to be a student. It helps to wear big glasses.
  • Location: modern architecture
    Toni Areal’s architecure alone is worth a visit. Go explore the various areas and try different spots to work at. If you get bored, you can visit the exhibitions at Museum für Gestaltung.
  • Atmosphere: busy
    Lots of arts students roam around, it’s always busy and the high ceilings create a powerful echo.
  • Coffee: great choice
    Get your coffee from one of the many cafés (Café Z, Bistro Chez Toni, Momento etc.) where you pay around 3 Swiss Francs per cup.

Conclusion: A very vibrant and busy atmosphere paired with stunning architecture and a variety of working spaces. If there was free WIFI, the place would probably be overrun.

https://www.zhdk.ch/
https://www.zhdk.ch/

We are curious to hear about your own experiences at co-working spaces. Have you been to one of the four mentioned above? Do you have other favourites to share with us? Please leave a comment!