Thursday (7 Sept) and Friday (8 Sept) were all about startups – the international startup competition and conference BETAPITCH Mostar, organized by SPARK (Mostar) and betahaus (Berlin), was held. The aim of this event is to promote community startup in our region and to foster cooperation between corporations and startups.
The first day of this event was reserved exclusively for startups and corporations and was held at SPARK. Representatives of companies participated in these three workshops:
“Innovations in Corporations with the Help of Startups and Their Technology” by Jasenko Hodžić (#CPHFTW)
“Online Sales and E-commerce” by Sedin Đugum (Ministry of Programming)
“Digital Marketing” by Amir Obralić (NSoft)
Fifteen startup teams were given the chance to attend workshops where they learned how to present their product/service in the best way, in only 5 minutes and in English. After the workshops and mentoring, the jury consisting of Miloš Lazovic (Swiss EP), Anne Richard (betahaus) and Mona Hübl (weXelerate) selected 10 startups for competition at Kosača. These are the selected startups: Amplius electronics, blablaDev, ClearHum, ClockworkBriefcase, Letos, Social Spot, Sophico, Toleero, VRET, and When in X. The day ended with a corporate dinner enabled by ABC Accelerator from Ljubljana, and the party at SPARK Café, to relax before the competition the following day.
All BETAPITCH Mostar event activities of the second day were held at Kosača. In the Katarina Gallery, we had a Meet & Match event by ABC Accelerator, where 15-minute meetings between companies and startups were held. Companies that participated were: ABC Accelerator, EIT Digital, South Central Ventures, Ministry of Programming, weXelerate, Mandeks, YEP, and Mozaik Fondacija.
In the small amphitheater, the event How to encourage entrepreneurship development with startups was organized by REDAH, where Haris Čusto (POS Sector), Matija Bumbak (town of Šibenik) and Ivan Milićević (Posušje municipality) shared their experience of working with startups and tried to encourage other municipalities from of our country to establish cooperation with young entrepreneurs.
The main stage was reserved for BETAPITCH conference and startup competition. The event was free and open to all those interested. Christian Sedat (German Embassy), Andrea Čordaš (SPARK), Anna Richard (betahaus) and Sanjin Osmanbašić (NSoft) officially open the event. This was followed by five lectures: Thomas Kösters (EIT Digital) talked about integrating education, research, and business into the startup ecosystem; Malcolm Duerod (Burch University) held an interesting lecture on incorporating innovation DNA into bh. youth; Maurice Beckand Verwee (Crosspring) advised startups how to expand the business beyond the state borders; Jasenko Hadžić (#CPHFTW) talked about ways of getting the first investment, while Mona Hübl (weXelerate) shared her experience of incorporating startup into a corporation.
After lunch, it was time for the part everyone was waiting for – the startup competition. The ten selected startups were given five minutes to present their work, and five minutes for questions from the jury. After listening to all the presentations, the jury, consisting of five members – Andrea Čordaš (SPARK), Aleš Pustovrh (ABC Accelerator), Miloš Lazović (Swiss EP), Anna Richard (betahaus) and Maurice Beckand Verwee (Crosspring) announced the winners of the first BETAPITCH competition in Mostar:
the bh. startup VRET won the first place and the trip to BETAPITCH Global competition in Berlin
the Israeli startup Letos won the second place and the trip to Meet & Match Regional in Ljubljana
What do the winners of BETAPITCH competition do? The VRET team works on a software solution that uses virtual reality devices in psychological treatments, such as overcoming a fear of heights, spiders, crowded spaces, and the like. Letos is an AI device that reads real-time emotions and allows anonymous enhancement of user satisfaction, focus of attention and feelings – it can be used in auto industry, buses, trains, ships, where customer feedback adjusts according to service responding and provides personalized experiences.
The event wouldn’t be possible without partners and sponsors: NSoft, Ministry of Programming, German Embassy, Swiss EP, INTERA, GIZ, REDAH, Hrvatski dom Herceg Stjepan Kosača, Telemach, ABC Accelerator, Networks, EIT Digital, ZEDA, ZeForge, weXelerate, South Central Ventures, HUB385, Fondacija Mozaik, Faculty of Information Technology, CKM, Ekonomski fakultet u Mostaru, International Burch University, Robot magazine, Sarajevo Model UN, CPU, American Corner, IT Girls, Impulse creative center, CTK, Market Makers, Gospodarska komora Grada Mostara, AHK, Advantage Austria, Grad Šibenik, UNIS Telekom, WEB Studio Agencija, BONK studio, Mandeks, ALBA, DHL, Oldtown hotel, and Downtown Villa.