SPARK Makerlab was the biggest open workshop (makerspace) in Estonia and a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) hobby school for kids and adults alike. Although the open makerspace has been permanently closed to the public due to the coronavirus, it still hosts a hobby school for kids called Medoonity. Located in Tartu's downtown, it has a woodworking, metalworking, electronics, 3D printing, painting and general working areas on about 200 sqm.
I became one of the co-founders thanks to my friend and schoolmate Uku Püttsepp with whom we shared the CEO's position for almost the first two years (May 2016 - March 2018). What is amazing to me to this day is that we basically started from scratch, only receiving 2000 EUR per month for all of our expenses (incl. salaries) for an year and being rent-free for the first 2 years. While Uku mostly focused on the open makerspace itself, I used my previous experience to set up profitable workshops for makers of all ages.
SPARK Makerlab hosted workshops for thousands of people, visited numerous schools, held (international) hackathons (eg. Garage48 and Hüppelaud), helped other science popularizers (eg. Teadusteater Kvark, HK Unicorn Squad, Vivita Estonia, Mobiilsed Töökojad), represented Tartu as an innovative NGO and much-much more. This was a time of many hardships, a lot of unforseen challenges, tears and sweat, lost summers and allnighters, but in hindsight this experience was the best I have had so far and I can call myself fortunate for having been there.
Co-founder & CEO
Marketing & sales
Educator & performer
HR & Recruter
Communicating with sponsors & partners
Building the makerspace
Creating and holding workshops
Working out financial plans
Hiring, testing & training employees
Writing projects & finding funding
Marketing through materials and events
Other team members
In its prime, we had up to 37 people, of which 7 worked full-time. These included a hardworking multitalented specialist Pille-Riin Saarse, an artistic makerspace manager and the last CEO Katrin Nigumann, a sales respresentative, 4 workshop creators & educators
Summer 2016 - March 2020