Some unpredicted circumstances and the whole situation with the coronavirus slowed down but did not completely stop all the activities. Although IEC Tehnopolis, Amplitudo and the Science and Technology Park of Montenegro planned in detail the implementation of the first pre-acceleration program in Montenegro – BoostMeUp, some activities had to be implemented differently. However, this did not affect the dynamics of the planned activities, so the Bootcamp was organized online via the Zoom platform, which was also successfully implemented for the first time in Montenegro.
“BoostMeUp” is the first pre-acceleration program in Montenegro, which is intended for innovators, development teams in the early stages of an entrepreneurial venture, as well as entrepreneurs who intend to bring new and innovative products or services to market.
47 teams with innovative ideas applied for participation in the program, 19 of which were selected to present their ideas at Bootcamp.
Due to the current situation caused by the coronavirus, the four-day online Bootcamp was held using the Zoom platform from 13 to 16 April. Within the Bootcamp, the teams had the opportunity to present their ideas, answer questions and work with the representatives of the consortium of the project partners and international, regional and national mentors such as Tanja Senekovic – Slovenia, Petra Karanikic – Croatia, Vladimir Nedovic – the Netherlands, Maja Miljevic – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djordje Celic – Serbia, Nenad Novovic – Montenegro and Darko Ivanovic – Montenegro. The BoostMeUp program also provided support for the BeSME project, through which the key EU expert Phillipe Geffroy – France, as well as experts Alain Kagan, Arnaud Catinot and Jean-Luc Scherer were included in the program.
The Ideas and teams were evaluated based on the 5 criteria and they were: the area of activity and compliance with the priorities of the Smart Specialization Strategy, the team, the stage of the development phase of the project, innovation and competitive market solutions and pitch.
Of the 19 teams that participated, six ideas that were rated as best in the Bootcamp and with the greatest potential for growth and development were selected to be part of a four-month BoostMeUp pre-acceleration program under which they will receive the financial support of EUR 4.500 per team, mentoring program in 7 modules, using services of co-working space Code Hub Nikšić, FILA innovation laboratories, biotechnology laboratories, space for rapid prototyping. The selected teams are Flourish, Seljak.me, Orhis, Zahn 265, Solar Villager, Sunrocket Solar Cooker.
Also, five ideas, which as for the consortium of the project partners and mentors were evaluated with the potential for further growth and development, were given the opportunity to be part of the four-month program and receive all defined non-financial support as well as the 6 most successful teams. The teams that received this support are Partour, Innat, Light4Life, Smart Bike Parking System, Plated Wind Generator for Highways and Urban Areas.
During the evaluation process, a very important aspect was the compliance with the Smart Specialization Strategy, which enables the strengthening of the competitiveness of the economy by connecting its forces in research and innovation with the needs and development opportunities of the economy. Achieving the main goal of S3, i. e. a modernized and competitive Montenegro, is based on four key strategic priorities:
- Sustainable agriculture and food value chain,
- Energy and sustainable environment,
- Sustainable and health tourism and
- Information and communication technologies (ICT)
The teams that entered the next phase focused their area of activity towards ICT in combination with another area. Thus, in Sustainable Agriculture and Food and IT Value Chain, we have 3 teams, Energy and Sustainable Environment and IT – 2 teams, Sustainable and Health Tourism and IT – 1 team. Other teams are from the following areas: Traffic and IT – 2 team, Psychology and IT – 1 team, Creative industry and IT – 1 team and Sport and IT – 1 team.
As of Monday, May 11th, all teams continue to further develop their ideas together with their mentors. The entire program continues to be implemented, in accordance with the current events and recommendations that we will receive. The selected teams have a large number of workshops, training courses, consultations and work on the development of ideas that will be organized online or in IEC Tehnopolis, until the program final, which will be organized on September 22nd, 2020 within the Western Balkan Startup Forum 2020, which IEC Technopolis will be organizing for the second time. The competition “Montenegro Pitching Contest” will be organized as part of this international event, and the teams that have completed the program will have the opportunity to present their innovative ideas and knowledge, and skills acquired through work within the program to the potential investors, business angels, representatives national and international business communities and institutions from the country and the region.
Upon the completion of the program, the users will be provided with support from the Business Incubator for the further development of their ideas as a continuation of this program, which includes the use of data center resources, industrial design laboratories, FILA innovation laboratories, and two biotechnology laboratories, as well as co-working space and other infrastructure of IEC Tehnopolis, Science and Technology Park of Montenegro and the company Amplitudo.