Dreaming up a new arts, culture, community and business hub for Leipzig, and looking for input


Leipzig-based entrepreneur and IT professional Göran Nitsche has a lot to say about his cool idea of what to turn an abandoned building in town into, so I will let him explain it all to you, dear blog readers…

An international and intercultural “FlatHub” for Leipzig: What could this be? – by Göran Nitsche

Roughly a year ago I had a brainstorming session on my own to think about what to call a collection of offerings that I planned to connect at some physical location. Such site would preferably be some kind of a landmark building in Leipzig that hasn’t been restored yet. The idea came to be named “CoDIRECT,” which primarily stands for “Connector of Digital Innovation, Research, Edutainment, Co-Working & Technology.” But the characters can be associated with various other meanings as well, e.g. Centre, Communicator, International, Intercultural, Cultural, Catering…

The main concept is to connect several local, regional, national, international and intercultural businesses from high to low value creation with cultural offerings, events, music, arts, gastronomy, non-profit projects & organizations, and even more. Thought up as some kind of social entrepreneurship, the idea is to have the lower profit and even non-profit parts of such a “hub” be internally subsidized by the resident higher profit operations. Long-term state subsidies for running, maintaining and expanding a centre that fulfills the stated mission would not be used. Ideally, the creation and restoration of some Leipzig landmark to start should be financed by crowdfunding, via founding some kind of a people’s public limited company. (In Germany you would say a “Bürger-AG,” as for example the one working for sustainable and regional economy/business in Frankfurt am Main: http://buerger-ag-frm.de/?page_id=303). Of course, some specific state subsidies might be very helpful as well but just as kind of a kick-off.

Since communication about some “CoDIRECT Business Centre” might be a bit difficult (because the possible associations are so broad), I’ve looked for a more “familiar” and less abstract name that would somehow fit the mental picture. So just some weeks ago I thought about all the stuff again and had the feeling that the name “FlatHub” could be fitting: A “flat” meaning a place to live in, combined with the “hub” idea as a place for connecting people, ideas, businesses, cultures. And it’s also interesting to think of the meaning of “flat” in the sense of not being wavy/hilly, or as a blueprint for “flat hierarchies” – entrepreneurs within a centre that’s operated by other resident entrepreneurs, or partly even by themselves, as some kind of “autonomous entrepreneurship and cultural centre.”

The whole project is still at a rather early physical stage. It’s not yet even clear which location(s) to choose right now; there are some options but the focus is to develop the concept of use first, before jumping into deeper discussions with building owners. However, mentally the whole vision is at a higher stage already, otherwise I wouldn’t write some public stuff about it, you see?!

So right now I’m looking for people to support the whole idea, who want to come along with me a long way to create one or more really innovative social cultural business locations in Leipzig. People who might be interested in joining on a personal or institutional level, starting with discussions about business planning, operational stuff and so on. I also welcome people who might simply be willing to spread the word about the whole vision that I hope to be able to implement, in the long run not only here in Leipzig, but in other regions as well – so, local as well as global. Just glocal.

Feel free to join conversations, meetings, and discussions about the whole thing. I’m happy to connect with you on my personal Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/goran.nitsche); at the CoDIRECT fanpage ( https://www.facebook.com/codirectbiz); on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CoDIRECT_BIZ); or on other channels, such as the Web site http://codirect.biz, via e-mail (goeran@codirect.biz), in person at networking meetings, and so on. A Facebook page or public group for the FlatHub idea itself will be set up soon to as a more targeted way to share thoughts and discussions about the project.

Thank you very much, and I’m looking forward to your thoughts!

About the author

Göran Nitsche was born in 1979 in Dresden, and has been living in Leipzig since 2006. He has supported several non-profit projects and organizations through the years, starting already in the mid 90s at age 14, in a project to finance solar lamps and service equipment for African communities. He went on to support the Leipzig Music Trail (Leipziger Notenspur) as voluntary webmaster and developer from 2006 to 2013. He then started to develop more and more of his own ideas to be implemented, while spreading the word about other people’s great projects in social media, supporting crowdfunding campaigns and other stuff. He says that he is “willing to make the world a better place to live at day by day – but I know that even this is a rather hard ‘business!'”

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