A new co-working space for parents with kids has opened in Kyiv recently. ‘Zelenka’, hasn’t got a ‘keep quiet’ policy, so it’s ok if your kids start to cry. Dream Kyiv talked to the founder of Zelenka Herca Gronova about her new space. Her two kids, three years old Kvitka (Flower, – Ukrainian), and eight months old Lubchyk joined in.
The Idea, and the Startups contest
The idea to open such place was born about three years ago, at the time when Kvitka was born too. A young mother wasn’t willing to stay at home all the time and was seeking time for the child and for herself. But she didn’t find support quickly. Most people who heard the word ‘co-working’ tried to discourage Herca, while saying that the venture will require spending money on lots of computers, etc.
Then, a few months ago, Herca applied for the city’s startup contest. The concept received 1000 Likes and made it in the top three of the national vote. But the judges gave their preferences to another idea. Gronova believes it’s because they couldn’t believe that the prize of 200,000 UAH (£6000) is sufficient to execute the idea.
About the Space, and the Endurance
But Herca reckoned that such amount would be enough to start with. She would buy pads, seating, chairs for kids, and biscuits to treat the guests. A provisional agreement for the venue was already in place. Gertsia negotiated a partnership with the owners of a property on the Dnipro river bank, – that would launch a centre for families.
The property interior and its green surroundings were in good condition, so Gertsia and her team only removed some minor design elements to make the space suitable for kids and made the green yard more usable.
But the woman didn’t know where to source the necessary 200,000 UAH. However, Gertsia says, her little kids have endured her to the extent that she didn’t worry about the funding. She knew, things will work out in the end. So they did. Gertsia received an email from the “Alfa Care” community, who helped her to find the investors. In the end, she was able to buy all necessary equipment just in time.
How it works
There is a team of four working on the project. And there are two children assistants, to keep the kids entertained with games. Should children want to get back to mommy, they can. The mom’s won’t be isolated from the little ones. Gronova points out that Zelenka is not a kindergarten, rather it’s a space where parents and kids can spend time together.
And the organisers would like visitors to spend their whole day here. This is why you pay 80 UAH (£2.5) for one hour in Zelenka, or 180 UAH (£5.5) for the whole day. The price does not change depending on how many kids you have with you. The space is open until 6PM.
Gertsia also plans to organise seminars, workshops, and other events at the venue. All events will be open for bringing kids along with you.
Gertsya Gronova, The Founder of Zelenka:
“I know that such kids friendly places are common in Japan. They even have special cinema sessions where parents can come with small kids. It’s a different story in Ukraine, where mom’s can’t go even to seminars.
We decided to offer a solution to this problem. This is why we have opened Zelenka. it’s a new concept for our country, so feedback and continuos improvement is very important for us.
We just had a trial launch, and we plan to go full scale in this autumn. This is when the workshops and other developing activities for kidsshould be launched. It would be fantastic to find an investor by that time, who could help with purchasing the tablets for moms. I am not a business woman, and I don’t have experience of executing any similar projects. But I trust that when you are open and believe in your idea, and have a passion for it, things will work out eventually.”
Visit Zelenka in Kyiv, at 11 Brovarsky avenue (metro Livoberejna).