Prague as a digital nomad destination

Prague as a digital nomad destination
“Prague Castle, a castle complex in Prague, Czech republic” in travelercorner.com

The first question is: “What makes a great digital nomad destination?”

There are some characteristics that make a destination ideal for digital nomads and their lifestyle. Here is a list of some of the most important characteristics: affordable cost of living, high-speed and secure Internet connection, a community of other digital nomads, good places to work from, good living conditions (safety, freedom of speech, tolerance, etc.). 
 
For several years, Southeast Asian cities (Chiang Mai, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City…) have been very popular among digital nomads and seem to be ideal places for their nomadic lifestyle. But EU cities are gaining ground, especially Central European cities such as Prague and Budapest.
“How to travel as a digital nomad” in retireby45.com

Now let’s explore the reasons why Prague has been a hotspot for digital nomads

  • A global phenomenon

Digital nomadism is exploding around the world. Prague has been one of the popular spots since the beginning and has benefitted from the global growth of this phenomenon.

  • Affordable cost of living
Prague is one of the most affordable cities in Europe and it’s a big reason why location-independent professionals make it a hub. According to the website Expatistan.com the cost of living there is around 50% cheaper than in Paris and 34% cheaper than in Berlin. In some restaurants or pubs, beer is even cheaper than water!
  • Architecture and History
“Food tour in the Czech Republic, Prague” in tourily.com

Prague is in the heart of Europe and many people say it is the most beautiful city in Europe!

  • High-quality infrastructure

You will find very modern infrastructure next to very old buildings and bridges, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice work efficiency or quality of life for your taste of history.

  • Great geographical location

Prague is in the heart of Europe. The country is surrounded by Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Germany, with almost the same distance from the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. Thus it’s quite easy to travel Europe with Prague as a base.

  • English speakers abound

Many Czechs (especially the younger ones) speak English well, making it an easy city to navigate if you don’t speak the local language (Czech!). You can also meet other foreigners and travelers. There are many of them! (Vinohrady is one of the neighborhoods favored by English-speaking expats).

Locus Workspace
  • Good places for productive work
Depending on your preferences, you can work either from lovely cafés or modern coworking spaces. Locus Workspaces is one of the favorites for digital nomads as we are an English-language space with members from nearly 30 countries. But there are many great cafés and coworking spaces in Prague that help make it a great spot for location-independent professionals.
  • Vibrant (night) life
Lots of events are taking place every day in Prague: concerts, festivals, markets, exhibitions… At night, the city centre in even more bustling due to the huge number of bars and clubs. Prague is a great European city for living it up.
“Prague Farmers’ markts and Flea-markets” in prague.eu – “Cross Club, nighlife in Prague” in likealocalguide.com
Prague is currently ranked as the 7th best cities in the world for digital nomads, according to Nomadlist.com, the premier web-portal for digital nomads (though this number changes daily). Check out the whole report about Prague here.

Buy, sell, trade, give in Prague: Best options for English-speakers

Buy, sell, trade, give in Prague: Best options for English-speakers

Looking for the best online to buy, sell, trade, or give away stuff in Prague, but don’t speak Czech?

  • Don’t use Craig’s List.
If you hail from the U.S., you might have noticed that Craigslist has a Prague page. You might also have noticed it is basically dead. Not worth your time.
  • Don’t expect the best prices.

Since the English-speaking market is much smaller than the Czech market, prices are less rational. Some used items successfully sell for more than they would cost new. Others don’t sell at all at a fraction of the price that they’re going for on Czech-language markets.

  • If you’re buying (not selling), and you’re looking for new (not 2nd hand), scroll to the bottom header for some recommended options.

The best English-language 2nd-hand online shopping tools for Prague:

The popular mobile app is widely used here. For finding nearby goods to buy and sell, it’s probably your best option. As long as you install the English-language version you should be able to create posts to sell or find what you want to buy quickly and easily.

 

Facebook has a handful of English-language groups just for buying, selling, trading, and giving away used goods in Prague. Here are four of the largest groups:

If you have a Czech-speaking friend (or are a wizard with Google translate) …

The biggest markets for buying and selling in Prague are, unsurprisingly, Czech. If you’re looking to buy (not sell), Google Translate is probably all you need. Many, perhaps most, Prague-based Czechs speak English, and at the very least they’ll be able to use Google translate themselves or have a friend to help.
Here are three of the biggest Czech-language online markets for buying and selling used goods (followed by one for good karma):
     
SBAZAR.cz is run by one of the great Czech website creators. They built seznam.cz, the last search engine in Europe to outperform Google (until recently). They still have the best local map site (mapy.cz; at least for certain overlays), and by far the best site for finding a place to live (sreality.cz). SBAZAR is their used-goods marketplace and it’s likely the best there is.
    
Bazoš.cz is a popular alternative to sbazar, and may have a larger market share with the younger crowd.
     
aukro is the Czech Republic’s answer to ebay.com. As with ebay, you can find and sell both new and used items, and you can do it either as an auction or with the “buy now” option.
   
Looking for freecycling (people giving away free stuff as an alternative to throwing it away)? VšezaOdvoz is the Czech Republic’s first freecycling website. While it has a much smaller inventory and less traffic than these other sites, it’s a great option for giving away things that you don’t want to money for, or for finding great junk to fill your closets with. Coincidentally, it was started by a former member of Locus!

Not selling and just want a great place to shop online?

If you’re not committed to buying used, heureka.cz is a great shopping aggregator, and definitely the go-to site for finding the best prices on widely sold products.
For digital electronics, I prefer  czc.cz to their larger competitor, alza.cz. Though alza.cz has a much wider inventory (they sell household items like refrigerators or vacuums, not just computers and accessories), czc has competitive prices on the goods they both sell. It is also more convenient and has better customer service. Twice in a row alza kept my payment for large-cost items after I had returned them (until I caught it in my bank account and complained). Most importantly, czc has a drop-off store location just around the corner from Locus Workspace. And the shop makes returns or warranty repairs easy.
Finally, many of the usual international shopping sites work fine in Prague:
  • Amazon will ship without import taxes as long as you use a European version (e.g., the British or German sites) and make sure they’re not shipping from outside the Schengen zone (or at least that the seller knows how to get around customs, as many of the Asian companies that sell on those platforms do).
  • Alibaba’s non-bulk alternatie, AliExpress, is a great way to shop for bargain items.
  • Google Shopping works for the Czech Republic as long as you have your location settings right, and works much the same as Heureka (though Heureka works better in my experience).

Locus Workspace member? Use our buy, sell, trade Slack channel

If you’re a Locus member, the best way to sell your things might be to another member. We have a Slack channel devoted to just that purpose, and there’s no easier way for both sides to come together than if you work in the same coworking space.

Have your own favorite or see something that needs correcting in the above list?

Please leave a comment!

Regional Accelerators and Incubators

Below is a list of some of the business accelerators and incubators in the Czech Republic and in nearby countries (or else ones that actively target Czech startups). This is a work in progress, so please help me keep the list current and accurate by sending me feedback or leaving comments!
The terms accelerator and incubator are sometimes used interchangeably and sometimes used differently from how I would use them, so take these classifications with a bit of skepticism. This overlap in usage and similarity in experience has me grouping the two together for this blog post.
For me here are the basic similarities and differences:

Similarities

Both accelerators and incubators provide shared work space and mentorship to startup businesses for a limited period of time (usually 3-6 months) to help startup businesses success. Both also tend to do this on a competitive basis, providing the space and support for free to the selected winners who are deemed to have the most potential.

Differences

Incubators

Incubators tend to be non-profit entities set up by regional governments, academic institutions, or other non-profit organizations with a mission to help support the startup environment. They generally have some kind of institutional support that allows them to provide the free work space and the mentorship. As such, incubators are not as firmly tied to either the limited time period or the competitive nature of acceptance. Some of them have relatively open acceptance based on university affiliation or some other general requirements, and many will not put strict limits on how long a startup can stay. Although they do not as a rule provide capital to the startups, some do, though usually without strings attached or any ownership stake in the company being incubated. Though acceptance may be in batches on a calendar schedule, it is often on a rolling basis as well.

Accelerators

Accelerators, on the other hand, tend to be for-profit entities. They provide free work space and mentorship AND INVESTMENT in exchange for a percentage of ownership in the company. For accelerators, the competitive nature of entry and the limited time period are essential features of the program. They are gambling on getting that next great startup that will compensate for the loss on most companies they accelerate. The investments tend to be small (5-25,000 USD) as does the percentage of ownereship (5-10%). Acceptance for accelerators tends to be on a set schedule, where all of the companies being accelerated will start and finish together, as would a class of students in the same cohort. Often accelerators will have stages with benchmarks, where additional help and funding will be possible as long as these benchmarks are met.
But again, this is my usage based on what I take to be the norms. I may not have it exactly right, and certainly many of the players in these industries mix the concepts as they see fit.
The list is organized geographically relative to Prague, since that’s where Locus Workspace and our members are located.

Prague

Czech Republic outside Prague

  • Help me add to this list!

CEE Region outside the Czech Republic

  • Urban Quest (added 2018.03.29), Warsaw, Poland. PropTech accelerator (Property / real-estate / space technology), sponsored by Skanska, Microsoft, and business__link.
  • hub:raum Krakow, Poland (also locations in Berlin & Tel Aviv). Has both an accelerator and an incubator program.
  • RubixLab Bratislava, Slovakia
  • CEE LiftOff Budapest, Hungary (website not working properly, may be ending)
  • PwC CEE Startup Collider Warsaw, Poland. FinTech focus. Seeking participants from all over the Central & Eastern Europe countries.

Coworking in Prague … An Internship Experience

When something is kitschy or badly made or just bad in general we say that it’s Czech. I guess that’s an indicator of what Slovenians think of Czech. 🙂 But using the phrase now, just makes me think of my lovely experience in Prague. Just a few weeks ago I was still an intern there. My four month internship at Locus Workspace went by in a flash and an eight hour drive to my home town of Ljubljana brought me back to reality.
 
I landed in Prague by coincidence, even more so at Locus. As it turned out Will and I have a mutual friend, who recommended us to each other.  And he is one of the people who started coworking events in Ljubljana.  For now it’s a weekly event at a cultural center. Hopefully they will establish a permanent space and give me a job. 🙂
 
Before this I didn’t know much about coworking. I understood the theory behind it, but didn’t know the real life feel of the concept. The community, networking, creating and sharing knowledge among members, forms a unique environment. It gives people a chance and motivation to work on projects, to help each other and make ideas come to life. But it doesn’t only provide a pleasant work environment; it also gives the opportunity to meet new people and to form new friendships. And I think this was also one of the wonderful things about working at Locus, meeting all the interesting people from all around the world that made the experience even better.
 
This was also my first time living abroad. Prague turned out to be a great choice. It’s a lot bigger than Ljubljana, but still easy to handle due to its great public transport.  There is a lot going on, lively atmosphere, beautiful architecture and lovely parks. I even almost enjoyed the masses of tourists and the occasionally rude Czechs who have to deal with foreigners on a daily basis and seem to be sick of them.

All in all, living in Prague and working at Locus has left me with wonderful memories of new places, new people and new experiences. And they were not at all Czech.

Coworking in Prague | Coworking v Praze

Recently Locus Workspace has teamed up with a group of other coworking spaces in Prague to see how we can work together to do things we can’t do as individual spaces.

The project was largely inspired by Coworking Seattle‘s collaboration, so we owe a big thanks to their positive example.

Central to the collaboration is a recognition from all of us that there are many ways in which we all gain by focusing on how we can collaborate as well as on how we can co-promote the idea of coworking, coming together as coworking spaces much as individual space members might come together to facilitate something greater than the collection of individuals. We all believe the potential future size of the coworking community in Prague is much larger than the capacity of our combined spaces, and that at least for now the more options out there the better for the success of coworking more genreally. For now–I think–the biggest barrier to our collective success is not one another, but the extent to which the public and media are unaware of the coworking option, and how valuable it can be.

We do things such as:

  • Co-sponsor a Jelly (free, informal coworking open to the public) that meets every two weeks and rotates across 7 different coworking spaces in Prague.
  • Participate in a “Coworking in Prague visa program” (inspired by the international Coworking Visa) that allows members of any one of 5 coworking spaces in Prague use the other spaces for free for up to 25% of one’s membership time.
  • Share a common website and Facebook page (please join it, we just started up) for promoting the idea of coworking and communicating options for coworking in Prague to the public and to the media.
  • Help organize cross-space events that can bring our members together as well as bring awareness about coworking and what it has to offer to the public.

I’m really excited about the collaboration and the support for it that has come from the other participants in the Coworking in Prague program!