What happens when 3 cross-border regions decide to turn their disadvantage into their benefit? Representatives of diverse business support organisations in Moravian-Silesian region, Silesian Voivodeship and Žilina region decided to come together and form a stronger voice on the startup scene in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Startup Network).
The initiative wants to balance the power of capital cities that attract promising projects from other regions. The network aims to create opportunities for startups and associated partners targeting area with more than 6 million people together. Building on close geographical and cultural ties the network seeks for ways how to support new-born projects to become successful companies with international impact. The flagship activity of this year is a Startup Voucher competition that is announcing an open call for projects.
“We connect startups, corporations and regions and thus build a strong and internationally competitive startup environment. Everyone can benefit from this network. The startups can get access to various business support services, enter foreign markets, use valuable contacts to mentors, investors and get feedback on their business plan,” says Pavel Csank, CEO of Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre, who came up with this vision. “On the other hand, thanks to startups, corporations can find new original solutions to their problems, get contact to talented entrepreneurs, and discover new investment opportunities. We want the world to know about all the gifted people and entrepreneurs in our regions and show our dynamically developing startup environment,” adds Csank.
Startups, projects or even older companies with fresh and innovative solutions can enter the Startup Voucher competition until 30 September. The jury will select the successful candidates to continue to the second round. “One of the unique things about our competition will be a 2-day event in Katowice organized for both successful and unsuccessful participants so they can meet and establish contacts. Second day of the event will be dedicated to finalist only, while experienced mentors will help them with polishing their pitch-decks for finals,” explains Adéla Píchová, project developer from Ostrava. Winners will be announced after the second round during the final event in Ostrava on November 24.
However, the CEE Startup Network is going to be much more than a common competition. Matchmaking and networking activities travelling around big cities are the base for the ingrowth of the single regions into one bigger startup scene. First meet up is planned in December after the Startup Voucher competition.