Yurii Kozakevych: Intellect Hub has to unite citizens into an intellectual community
The graduation project of Yurii Kozakevych – this year’s graduate of Lviv Business School of UCU (LvBS) Key Executive MBA Program – started as a document and turned into Intellect Hub creative workspace in Ivano-Frankivsk. Its main mission is to unite citizens into an intellectual community, to create ideal conditions for effective cooperation and inspiration.
Graduates of Lviv Business School of UCU (LvBS) Key Executive MBA Program are people who have their own stories in business but are still ready to rethink their experience and to learn lifelong. Yurii Kozakevych is a co-founder of the Fabbrica restaurant in Ivano-Frankivsk; until recently he worked as a regional CEO of the UAE-UA Comp. International Trade Company. In our interview, Yurii tells more about the very idea of the hub, about his project and studying at LvBS.
Yurii, please tell us more about the idea of your Intellect Hub project, and how much time did it take to realize this idea?
There were several prerequisites for launching this project. First of all, I was a member of the team that created and realized the idea of Urban Space in Ivano-Frankivsk. It is a great platform for communication where new ideas are born. Besides, my partners and I co-own the Fabbrica family restaurant. This restaurant is in a building in the very center of the city; we extended it for two floors, and the third floor had free space. Therefore, we wanted to create a comfortable space for cooperation and communication of people who can be united by sharing common values, aims and needs.
The main value and the base of this project is intellect. As a matter of fact, intellect means opportunities as well as strength and resources that encourage us to move ahead. That is how we came up with the name Intellect Hub – a workspace and a meeting place for the intellectual community. And it became a basic idea around which everything else materialized.
What was the role of Lviv Business School of UCU in it?
Of course, my studies at Lviv Business School of UCU (LvBS) Key Executive MBA Program were of great importance. Certainly, it was all about vision, mission, and values.
Generally, it took us almost a year to conceptualize the idea and to realize it technically. Now we understand very well the needs and the development strategies of our city in general and its social groups in particular – business, authorities, community – each of them moves in its own direction but they still need comfortable spaces and facilities for quality and effective interaction, cooperation, and dialogue. Thus, we organized two separate areas: a coworking for individual and group customers, and conference service for general meetings.
We strove for maximum comfort and quality. That is why we actually had an unspoken rule: it has to be a five-star quality workspace.
Be you a traveler, a guest or a citizen of our city – you can come here, to this cozy and comfortable space, and communicate, have meetings, presentations, conferences, or just work by yourself.
This very project was your graduation project at Lviv Business School, wasn’t it?
Yes. But it had been boiling inside me for a long period of time, and I was longing for something like this. It is true that my studies gave me the push: during our international tour to Israel we visited WeWork coworking – a part of a worldwide network – and then we also visited other coworkings in Norway. That was when I realized that there is no such a comfortable facility in my city, there are no such inspiring open spaces where people could come and work efficiently on their ideas and projects. And when we asked the people of our city, it turned out that many of them dream of such facilities but there was no complex solution. It was mostly hotels and cafés that served this function. But there was no place focused on providing conference services and excellent coworking facilities. We felt like finding such a refined solution that would meet all the requirements and needs, and with the funds available. That is how Intellect Hub was born. So, the factor of Lviv Business School has been quite substantial for me.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when putting this project together?
When you open your second or third restaurant, or another business that is more typical and common, then you, and your team, and your customers understand everything (more or less). And when you do something for the first time, then your partners, and customers, and clients, and subcontractors do not often understand completely what it is going to be. That is why we spent a lot of time making people love this idea, explaining them what we are going to do, the way it is going to work, and the use of this project. It was one of the challenges. But a lot of people liked the idea, and I believe we rose to the challenge!
For you personally, Key Executive MBA Program is …
the people who studied with me. 80% of the importance is the environment, the community of fellow students, lecturers and co-members of our program, their stories of success and their experience, their challenges and mistakes, emotions and emotional experience.
What were your expectations for this program?
I was fully in my comfort zone, and I even mentioned it during the interview for this program. At that moment it seemed that I had absolutely no need in education. I was in full harmony, but I knew that somewhere ahead, in a year or two or three, this calm at sea will eventually come to an end. Therefore, I decided to study for the future, it was studying in advance, for later, so to speak. So that later, when there is a need in knowledge, it will be right at hand. And something like that happened. The outer conjuncture changed, as well as something inside you; you rose up to something, and you already have the knowledge and experience!
What was the influence of your studies on your personal and professional growth?
Only positive. This program offered a new outlook on life, it helped to focus, to make the sight clear. The main thing is a positive excitement after a calm comes to a storm and a new vision of life around you.
By Olena Yankovska