Mama CoWork

Mama CoWork: Mama CoWork: coworking for parents, creative care for children and development workshops in one spot.

Warsaw , PolandWarsaw
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mama CoWork creates and develops co-working office for parents, especially mothers: self-employed, freelancers, part-time worker, e-workers, job-seekers. It enables them move towards work by offering: space (office and equipment), time (childcare, creative activities), networking (peer network), qualifications/skills/knowledge development (trainings, career counseling) and capacity building/job incubator (virtual job agency).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

DIRECT PROBLEM: high female unemployment rate and loss of women’s potential due to mother’s exclusion from labor market. Being a mother worsens women’s chances on the market, especially the self-employed. Running own business requires time and space. Staying at home with a child combined with home duties makes professional goals impossible to achieve. Open hours of crèches are inconvenient, their number is limited, financial/psychological costs of separation are high. FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM: Europe gets older. To change this demographic trend more children should be born. Women need to feel secure on the labor market and it should be more flexible to enable work-life balance. Best use of labor supply and “flexicure” policy are urgent issues.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

This vicious circle of women’s exclusion from the labor market would be broken if time, space and development opportunities were provided. In short-term Mama CoWork enables mothers move towards work, make better use of their professional potential, increase employment opportunities. In long-term it will have positive social impact on EU scale: self-sustained flexicurity model based on new tendencies of more flexible labor market and networking. Creating the MODEL PLACE that links together co-working space with child care/activities as well as trainings, career counseling, job incubator. This self-sustained holistic solution combines few areas (unemployment, learning) and is flexible to change according to the needs of clients/the market.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Imagine you are a young mother spending time with your child, willing to do your work. You work at home, manage your time between mother the child, work for an employer, search for new jobs offer. You are full-time mom and part-time worker who desperately ‘hunt’ for more time. Sometimes you feel lonely, not sure if your qualifications are up-to-date. You wish to have contact with people who share similar problem. Why not to find a coworking office designed for parents? Would it be possible to bring the child and find professionals who will take care of her/him there? Mama CoWork meets your needs! We offer flexible time, safe environment, development training, job offers, and facilitate contacts. You gain more time, feel more empowered.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Mama CoWork ambition is to assure the benefits for the whole family: double income/work-life balance. The idea is simple to replicate and could be implemented in other countries with necessary modifications tailored to local needs: franchising as a business model with its social fabric; good practice and systematic model to construct new patterns in social policy to increase employment opportunities (used by policy makers); inspiration for e.g. the EU to organize similar solutions. Short-term: Revenue/expenses balanced in the 6th month. Approx. 5 clients daily before the 6th month. Min. 24 development workshops in the 1st year. Long-term: Awareness change based on positive feedback of 80% clients. Systematic growth of clients’ number: 45 permanent, 20 temporary in 1st quarter 2017. Co-mothers peer network. Double number of workshops in the 2nd year. Supporting the children development

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our benchmark are co-working offices, mother’s clubs/cafes, day-care clubs for babies/nurseries/kindergarten and job agencies. All of them deliver services that are combined in Mama CoWork to create synergy which allows to lower the prices and be competitive. Other inspired benchmark are workplace nurseries, with the difference that Mama CoWork is for mothers with flexible workplace. Mama CoWork differs from these approaches by offering: SPACE: Co-working space: ca. 10 places adapted to work, Baby CoPlay space: room adapted to children needs, CoWorkshop space: training room. TIME: Safe time: simply logistics – mother and child go to the same place; Gain time: time without child: child-minder/animators. DEVELOPMENT: workshops, coaching, career consulting; creative children activities. CAPACITY BUILDING: virtual office, job incubator, virtual job agency, peer-networking.


In our team we have a mix of people from all the sectors the partners steam from: people with management experience (board members partner 1, 3), IT skills (partner 6), PR skills (employees partner 4, 7, board member partner 5), with knowledge on children education (partner 4, 5), trainers (partner 1, 5), career councilors (partner 3, board member partner 2, employees partner 8). They were all involved in creating the idea of Mama CoWork. We plan that the management of Mama CoWork will be participative and innovative which in our opinion ensure that we achieve our projected impact. It will involve employees at every level: boards’ members who are already involve in preparatory work of the project, administrative staff, contractor and trainers, in contributing creatively to its development. Mama CoWork will have a flat organizational structure with elements of matrix structure.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Ecorys Polska
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)


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Organization Name

Ecorys Polska

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Ecorys Polska

Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, MZ, Warsaw

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact


Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet.

What awards or honors has the project received?

finalist of the 2013 European Social Innovation Competition organised by European Commission, in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1
G10 Foundation
-Type of partner: Social
-Short description sentence: The G10 Foundation is an independent Polish foundation established in 2007 by the group of 10 women employed that time in the United Nations Development Program in Poland, all involved in several social projects. The mission of the foundation is to implement social changes as well as stimulate social innovations. It supports various social groups, in particular women-mothers.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: The idea of Mama CoWork was born in heads of foundation management. G10 Foundation work with women, strength their in role of being mother, supports the idea of entrepreneurship among parents and reinforce their capacity. Foundation tries to develop new solutions that might help parents to combine work with child-care and help people to find new jobs offering them development training and career counseling.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: G10 Foundation contributes by recruiting people to make use of the services provided by the project.

-Partner 2
Ecorys Polska
-Type of partner: business
-Short description sentence:
ECORYS Polska is a Warsaw-based research, consultancy and programme management company and an integral part of the international ECORYS Group. The company has, over a relatively short period of time, earned the confidence of many of the leading public sector institutions and companies by providing tailor-made advice, based on the results of innovative and accurate research and analysis.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: The company is interested in supporting new emerging social innovations addressed to young people, and understands the need to develop new ideas for active parents who like to work, build network and search for new job possibilities.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Ecorys contributes by offering jobs/internships possibilities directly to Mama Cowork clients.

-Partner 3
Polish Communication Foundation
-Type of partner: Social
-Short description sentence: Polish Communication Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates on the field of social communication. Its mission is to use social marketing and communication tools to initiate social changes.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: Polish Communication Foundation understands very well the idea of Mama CoWork as many of its coworkers and partners have children and like the idea of work&life balance that the project aims for. They are interested in supporting social innovations and see the potential of this project.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Polish Communication Foundation contributes by making marketing and PR of the project.

-Partner 4
Fairy Tale – Children Development Foundation
-Type of partner: Social
-Short description sentence:
Children Development Foundation produces radio programs for children in the age of 2-7 years, as well as to parents and child minders. Its mission is to support the development of children and help parents/child minder to raise them.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: The idea of Mama CoWork project is compatible to the Fairy Tale mission. Mama Cowork address its services to parents and children, and the children needs have to be meet in this project. Mama Cowork offers them safe care and activities that support their natural skills to be creative, innovative and see things in surprising perspective.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Fairy Tale contributes by working out the new scenarios of creative activities for children as well as support the PR activities of the project.

-Partner 5
SMYRSKA PR Marta Smyrska
-Type of partner: business
-Short description sentence:
PR company that offers its PR services (PR, events and conferences, social media, editing) to different clients. SMYRSKA PR mission: „doing good, and getting credit for it.”
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: Smyrska PR is involved in creative projects in varies companies and deals with different communication issues. Marta Smyrska is co-author of “Child in Warsaw” project, a city guide for Warsaw parents, issued by the City of Warsaw, which the third edition is in progress.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Smyrska PR proposes to build children’s engagement in two fields: communication skills and creative visual arts. There are both important in children development (imagination and general awareness) which plays vital role in children wellbeing.

-Partner 6
National Information Processing Institute (OPI)
-Type of partner: public
-Short description sentence:
National Information Processing Institute (OPI) is an interdisciplinary research institute. OPI gathers, analyzes, and creates information about the Polish R&D sector. Together with a community of scholars OPI aims at building a society and the economy that exchange knowledge and foster innovativeness.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: OPI is interested in supporting social innovations and considers Mama Cowork as good example on this filed.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: OPI contributes by making available its with Mama Cowork clients and supporting the creation of Mama Cowork portal for its clients and enterprises (virtual employment agency).

-Partner 7
Local authorities of the City of Warsaw,łeczne
-Type of partner: public
-Short description sentence:
Public administration of the City of Warsaw and its Office for Support and Social Projects.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: Local authorities are interested in new solutions for parents of youngest children. They might be interested in future changing the way the system of social policy works by adding new model solution to the existing one – to have the effect of decreasing unemployment among women-mothers.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Local authorities contribute by dissemination, mother’s recruitment and PR support. They also have shown us the possible ways to obtain financial support which we include in long-term financial plans.

-Partner 8
SMG/KRC Poland
-Type of partner: business
-Short description sentence:
SMG / KRC Poland is one of Poland's first independent research institutes and a member of a global network of Millward Brown International. The Institute carries out research using both traditional and proven methods as well as methods involving the use of the latest achievements of information technology. It specializes in: mass communication research and condition of brands, advanced qualitative research and in media studies.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: The company is interested in supporting initiatives that move people towards work and foster employment opportunities.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: SMG/KRC contributes by offering jobs/internships possibilities directly to Mama Cowork clients as well as offers carrier trainings and advice.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

In 2012 in Warsaw more then 18847 children were born. Providing that only 1% benefits from the solution, target group counts ca. 180 clients. Mama CoWork is not only a place, it is an idea to enable mothers move towards work. It answers specific needs: possibility to merge private life and career development with child care; physical well-being thanks to a reduction of the dilemma child well-being vs. career development. According to Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, the crucial feature that differs male and female enterprise is ability to balance family and work. Mothers fall out the labor market, become dependent on partners, their self-esteem/career chances lower. If Mama CoWork proofs that the solution is effective, policy makers’ awareness of the problem will be risen. It might be integrated in social policy as systemic model solution. Intersectoral collaboration is crucial.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Regional government, National government, Customers.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

Mama CoWork could be replicated and based on the public-private partnership. It will generate incomes, however this business provides solutions to public issues. It moves to work group of people who generate considerable part of GDP. The prize will help us to introduce Mama CoWork into life, but long-term sustainability requires new ideas for future funding.

Potential revenue streams:
- the idea has its business part: one of the streams remain clients’ payments,
- this social innovation might become a model solution to increase employment: part of funding might be public (local, regional, national level),
- sponsors that financially support social innovations (programs/grants),
- EU support (EU stimulates innovative activities),
- advertisement and cooperation with new partners,
- franchise revenues in long-term perspective (business model with its social fabric).

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The idea of Mama CoWork was born in a head of a mother of 8-months child (free-lancer in creative sector). It was one of those stormy days in autumn. She was bringing her child to the nursery, only for 3 hours (she does not like when her baby sleeps there). She knew how much work she had to do and was desperate go back home fast. In the changing room she spent too much time – the baby was more fretful that usual. It was no time left to go home, so she decided work in a near café. She drunk too much coffee, ate unhealthy cookies, spent too much money… She found out how difficult it is to combine mothering with working and started to dream about a place where people like her might work, leave children in another room, meet others, exchange ideas, develop skills…She talked to parents in similar situation and discover great need for a solution that will help to find work&life balance.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

Main barrier is the communication between all co-creating partners because the consortium is quite large and involves entities from different sectors. All partners are involved in project creation and interested in its development, so they all try to overcome this barriers, but crucial is the role of the coordinator that knows all partners, involves them in different stages of the project and keep them informed. One of coordinator’s task is showing social value, financial self-sustainability and development potential of the idea to all partners. Other barrier we have already encountered is time management. The consortium involves different entities with specific working and management structure. Coordinator task is to organize tasks for partners and optimize their engagement in co-creation and implementation of the project.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

It is a joint project of Polish Communication Foundation, G10 Foundation, Fairy Tale – Children Development Foundation, SMYRSKA PR Marta Smyrska, National Information Processing Institute (OPI), Local authorities of the City of Warsaw, Ecorys, SMG/KRC Poland Human Resources, that involves other partners in roles described in section: project summary. With new partners we will have contractual relationships.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

The hybrid partnership transforms the partnering organizations because they show and learn each other different perspectives. They want to create and develop social business which involve all entities and engaged employees in learning processes. Business partners have the possibility to be more engaged in CSR, social partners learn business approach and concentrate more on financial sustainability, public partners develop their cooperation skills with entities from other sectors.
Example: Challenging creative sessions with all partners in the co-creation phase show that we had to learn to understand different organizational structures, operational languages (‘corporate’ jargons) and ways to reach common aims. It was interesting lesson for all partners, and common understanding of the project idea was only possible because of well-balanced process facilitation done by idea funders.

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