Although the IEC Tehnopolis team planned this year thoroughly in January, we did not think that the activities would be delayed and the dynamic and energetic spring full of events, gatherings, meet-ups, conferences and training courses would be postponed. At the beginning of the worldwide pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, IEC Tehnopolis introduced the reduced operating mode from March 16, but then it didn’t stop. We continued to work from home, while part of our colleagues worked hard to provide security equipment and visors for those on the front line. Also, we adapted other activities and organized the first online Bootcamp in Montenegro as part of the BoostMeUp pre-accelerator program. We were one of the co-organizers of the first online hackathon organized to come together to good ideas and solutions that would help Montenegro to adapt quickly, react and recover from the pandemic.
We have already written about and published our activities before, but in the following lines you can read how the partners from the region (Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) have responded to the pandemic.
SP INTERA – Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Like all other organizations and companies, INTERA Technology Park has had to adapt to the new situation caused by the pandemic in recent weeks. Our team has been working from home since mid-March and it has been planning new upcoming activities since. At the initiative of Ma-Com, in cooperation with the Cluster of Metals and Plastics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Computing and Electrical Engineering at the University of Mostar, we used our resources to contribute to the first serial production of security visors in the country. Striving to continue to provide our users with the opportunity to develop their skills, we have moved some of our activities into the online world. The WordPress Course workshop, organized through the US-funded FREECO project, started at Code Hub Mostar, but due to the new situation, it has successfully continued through the online communication channel. We also used modern technologies to host the first online edition of Code On Meetup that brought together participants not only from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Montenegro and Croatia. In the period to come, we will have new workshops, courses and meetups in online editions. We also communicate daily with our startups, tenants and users of Code Hub Mostar, trying to find ways to make it easier for them to work in this situation. We strive to help them by giving some useful advice and access to various resources and information. We are proud as the partners of the competition of covIDEJA 2020 organized by UNDP and the BIT Alliance, which provides an opportunity for anyone with an idea that can help overcome the challenges caused by the global pandemic. ” (Ana Bogdanovic, TP INTERA)
“Since the entry into force of the State of Emergency, while ensuring compliance with all preventive measures, the Science and Technology Park Belgrade (NTP Belgrade) has remained functional and available to member companies for use, and the majority of members, wherever possible, organized work from home.
At the same time, we organized the work of our employees from home, with regular on-call duty.
Since the emergency, the NTP Belgrade team, with great effort to provide technical preconditions, has put innovation labs in operation, and made available new 3D printers and lasers, with expert support, to produce scarce medical aids to support the fabrication action equipment (visors) for medical staff in the Republic of Serbia within the framework of the Visionaries to Serbia initiative, of which NTP Belgrade is a startup. In this action, since the introduction of the state of emergency, thousands of visor glass guards have been cut on lasers within the NTP Belgrade laboratory, while 3D glass printers have also been equipped with visor glass carriers, as well as elements required for other medical equipment.
A special logistical and expert support was also provided for the implementation of LifeMask projects and the first Serbian respirator, developed by innovators from our community and supported by the Innovation Fund of the Republic of Serbia as part of a public call for small and medium-sized companies for prototype development, products, services and technologies to counteract the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adapting to the new circumstances, to animate young people for technological entrepreneurship and get acquainted with the world of startups, as well as supporting startups of NTP Belgrade, a new approach to online education has been developed and a series of webinars were organized several times a week ( Thursdays at four, Startup diary, Colosseum Sports Tech Serbia, Instagram LIVE). The implementation of the ImagineIF pre-accelerator program! for healthcare startups through online workshops and mentoring sessions also continued.
For all consultation and support, NTP Belgrade team members are regularly available to member companies. ” (Ivana Bezarevic, NTP Belgrade)
“According to the current state of emergency and shifting business to work from home, Science and Technology Park Cacak, as a socially responsible organization, has invited all interested businesses to digital solidarity by jointly exploring changes in business, completing online questionnaires and collecting information on the needs of the economy. Our goal is to coordinate between IT companies, as well as between the IT sector and SMEs, to come up with adequate operational digital solutions for smooth work from home and thus help the economy of our city. Of course, we are of service to all businesses and provide every kind of support according to our resources.
During the first days of the state of emergency, together with the startup team of “3D Printing House”, we launched an action of creating protective visors for healthcare professionals in our city hospital.
Shortly after that action, we also received donations from former students of the Cacak High School. Employees, together with volunteers, have drawn up about 2.000 visors on several occasions. Our actions and events are well followed by the media, with praise from all sides, but also a new demand for visors. From our funds and other donations from businesses, we were able to obtain more materials and assemble a new amount of visors. As of today, around 5.000 security visors have been made. The visors were distributed to health institutions in and around Cacak as well as organizations whose business is at risk of the pandemic.
In addition to our volunteer activities, we are proud to introduce a new business idea into our startup community that can help overcome this situation faster and easier – an online database designed as a website where supply and demand for different types of products and services are linked.
We aim to emerge from this situation globally smarter and more capable of addressing future challenges. Contributing to this is reading books, listening to various webinars and lectures, attending courses that employees practice on their initiative. ” (Miljana Tocilovac, NTP Cacak)
DELI – A creative activity space from Nis, after the state of emergency, was declared, decided to work from home until further notice. The Coworkers made the same decision one after the other. All the upcoming events were postponed for a better time.
“In order to indirectly contribute to the community, we have outsourced our 3D Parts 3D printer to our 3D factory partners to use it in addition to their printers to build security visors. Since the declaration of the state of emergency, they have produced over 1.600 visors for the staff of the Clinical Center Nis, which makes us extremely proud. We got used to working from home and communicating via Skypevery quickly, but we miss Deli. We sincerely believe that the epidemic will soon pass. When this happens, we are expected to return to the office, into regular life and business flows “, they said from the creative activity space. (Tamara Spasic, DELI)
The manufacture of 3D printed Venturi respirator tubes, designing visors for medical professionals, innovation in protective mask making, chatbot for hospitals, educational IT solutions and online tests to evaluate the real cause of contagion – these are the solutions that startups in Zagreb have been intensively working on now!!
These days, the ZICER space is empty. Presentation halls, kitchens, corridors, playrooms, creative rooms – all await, we hope soon, the time when the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, sharing of knowledge and experience will live again …
Frane Sesnic, the Director of ZICER, explained how ZICER has been working these days: “The essence of ZICER is togetherness and connection. But at the end of March, for the safety and health of our users, we decided to close the space and ask startups to continue their work from home. Nevertheless, for several startups engaged in 3D printing of essential medical equipment, with the obligatory adherence to all instructions related to the measures of protection and social distance, we have decided to ensure the continuation of work from our space. The results are visible and significant. We have also focused our human and other resources on the production of medical equipment. We have joined a volunteer 3D group and so far, on our printer, which we acquired a year ago with EU funds, have printed 70 protective visors for medical staff already donated to the Children’s Disease Clinic in Zagreb. In addition to this crisis-related part, we also seek to adapt other activities to the situation. Therefore, we held the first online Live Pitch Day to launch the second generation of EIT Climate-KIC RIS accelerators, which we will be conducting in Croatia. The names of the teams of this largest European program for accelerating climate-oriented startups will be announced at the end of April. “
Startup 3DTech was among the first to start making its contribution to the fight against the spread and consequences of the COVID-19 virus. Innovators at 3DTech have noted the main reason for the increase in death rates in Italy – the lack of Venturi respirator tubes. Since these tubes are consumables (has to be replaced with each patient every eight hours), young entrepreneurs have launched an appeal through social networks and other communication channels aimed at domestic and foreign government institutions and the general public. Besides the respiratory tubes, these innovators have designed plastic clips that, by the principle of staples, allow any form of fabric to be used as a protective mask.
Except for the startups that produce the equipment needed in these pandemic conditions, the rest of ZICER’s incubated startups replaced the workspace by home offices. Startup Agilos IT has adapted to the new situation and recognizing the seriosity of the situation, they organized themselves and in collaboration with Milan Mistric, Head of AI and Data Science team at IBM, created a hackathon on the topic of coronavirus and merged knowledge of applications with data science. Their efforts have resulted in the creation of a page through which you can educate yourself, but also make an online test for the likelihood of infection. You can complete your infection test on https://www.covid-19-my-review-calculation.com/.
The diligent experts from the Hero Factory have decided to help deal with the instantly challenging situation. With the Croatian Institute of Public Health, they designed an innovative project and launched it in record time. When they heard about the heavy workload of official telephone lines and hospital facilities, they wanted to help save time for all healthcare professionals who work hard. They already knew about foreign chatbot solutions (computer programs designed to communicate with people who function by sending them a query, and they automatically answer you in real-time – because they have already been taught how to answer correctly) for coronavirus which the UK, Spain and other countries helped with this plan, so they partnered with the Croatian Institute of Public Health. With the support of ZICER and HZJZ, they have designed extremely quickly and developed this tool that can be used on HZJZ Messenger.
To make food procurement easier in times of closed markets and recommendations for staying home, the incubated VeeMee startup at ZICER has the solution. It is a digital platform that brings together more than 1300 agricultural households offering a full range of home-grown products – from fruits and vegetables, milk, milk products and meat. In response to the current situation, VeeMee has developed a so-called Digital Marketplace on its site. This kind of marketplace connects buyers with manufacturers. To facilitate and accelerate the use of the VeeMee customer platform, contacts are categorized by county and product type.
The innovations do not end here. The young hardworking people associated with ZICER are intensely focused on problem-solving. (Ivana Rajkovic Pavlic, ZICER)