Petar Ninovski, a young entrepreneur from Macedonia has a vision to transform every corner of the world into an urban classroom.
His recently launched platform Brainster is a marketplace for offline classes where one can teach and learn the most relevant skills of the 21st century -- from digital marketing and design, to entrepreneurship and technology.
More importantly, his platform's success has been an inspiration to many young people in this small Balkan country to launch their own businesses and bring the much needed innovation in the country's fragile business sector.
Petar, how did you come up with the idea to launch Brainster?
The idea behind Brainster came naturally since I have always been interested in the educational process, how can we improve it and how this life-long learning process can help our self development. Also, the current youth unemployment and unemployment rate in Macedonia in general is higher than ever before. This has to change and we like to be part of that change. That's why we have an approach that has never been done before. Our aim is to use the Brainster platform to create and develop a community of Brainsters; A community where everyone with valuable skills can share their knowledge with others through offline classes and workshops. The 'learning a new skill' process will be more cool and fun because of the local experts, the nontraditional but urban 'classrooms' and the unlimited possibilities of networking.
How would you define Brainster?
Brainster is a marketplace for offline classes where you can teach and learn the most relevant skills of the 21st century -- from digital marketing and design, to entrepreneurship and technology. Our vision is to transform every corner of the city into urban classroom.
Brainster aims to enable every professional to share its knowledge with the community and each individual to be able to enrich their practical knowledge, and with that to find or create the perfect job for themselves. Our platform will help in the process of knowledge exchange, by making it easy and fun. Brainster stands for the community, for the sole purpose of giving back values, upon which generations can develop themselves further. The platform will initially have classes from instructors from the following areas: technology, marketing, business, design and art, and the first courses were set on the platform since our launch from this October and they are sold out. Skopje is our first stop, and the courses will be held in different locations as co-working spaces, accelerators, incubators, workshops and even cafes
We strive to start a revolution in education.
What triggered you to start your own business?
Working in a big international organization has had an amazing impact in my life. I have gained invaluable experience that I will always be grateful for. But, this is my passion to be honest. This is what I wanted to do for so long. Starting from idea till the launch of Brainster it was a long road, but that's what really drives me. I am very thankful to the whole Macedonian startup community for giving me honest feedback and helping me valuate my idea. Also, having the support from my core-team is priceless. Now, when I look back I can say that as a small team we worked so hard, but we do have a lot of work to do in the following period. One can be an entrepreneur, but cannot do all by himself. Having your own business is the best decision one can make, when you are firm believer in what you do and doing it for the right reasons and purpose.
What were some of the challenges that you faced in the beginning?
Some of the challenges I have faced when starting the business were finding the right team to build the platform as I envisioned it. Also, the administrative work, the laws I needed to learn it was and still is exhausting, especially when you are a young entrepreneur and we don't have a legal framework for startups in the country it is a challenge. Other than that, with hard work and dedication I believe that you can pass through the obstacles and they come up every day, because that is part of the entrepreneurial life.
The platform is currently available only in Macedonia. Do you have any plans to launch it regionally or internationally?
We started in Skopje, where we were testing all of our options and getting prepared for the next steps. Our plan and vision is to make Brainster available for everyone in every city. We want the Brainster community to grow and to be the starting point where people can share and learn real-world skills while networking. We have made connections with potential partners from the region such as from Athens, Sofia, Prishtina, but also Berlin and Vienna. So in the New 2016, expect us in your city, because we do plan to go from city to city and establish Brainster with local partners.
What are your future plans with Brainster?
For the next year, the plans for Brainster are to have as much diversity in the courses as possible. We invite every local expert that has a skill to share to get in touch or directly to set the course through our platform. Also, we would like for the Brainster community to grow and to help each individual that wants to learn or share a skill to be able to do it. We are looking for establishing partnerships with different locations where the classes will be placed. Also the Brainster community will grow in different languages and cultures as we go from city to city, but for 2016 we would like to shape Brainster as social enterprise and through different programs give back to the community. With this growth, the team will grow as well and for the following period we want to go from a startup to an enterprise.
What is your advice to all young people that want to start their own businesses?
It is our time to make some change. You can try to work 9-5, corporate job and see if this is for you. Not everyone should or has to be an entrepreneur. But I believe that those that want to make a change in their lives and lives of others should start their own businesses. It is all about trying and prototyping and meeting amazing people from the startup world. I can proudly say that I have met some of my team members at startup events. I have this presentiment feeling that something big is going to come out of our startup community. Some great success story is about to happen. If you don't step forward and get out of your comfort zone now, then when. Work hard on your business idea, share it with as many people as possible and don't be scared that someone will steal it. In the end from my experience I can assure you that entrepreneurship is way more exciting than a corporate job. Go after your dream!