There many factors the decide the future of a promising startups but two of them make a startup truly successful: the right advice and good mentorship.
The first international startups accelerator founded in Albania for the best regional startups closed its first phase of applications and startups selection for 4-months acceleration program on Saturday October 3.
40 startups applied until September 25 to join Uplift Albania and 20 of them were invited to Selection Bootcamp to pitch their ideas in front of an audience of mentors, experts and investors of startup and innovation ecosystem of Albania, Region and Europe.
Towards the end of this event that took a whole day, 12 startups were selected to follow Uplift Albania intensive 4-month acceleration program with workshops, training, mentorship and networking with potential investors that will help them built the right balance between technical expertise and business knowledge transforming their future in the process.
Varg.io, FoodFilled, Neuroyouth, Wellnes+, Hermex, Maia, iNegotio, AlbBnb, Swipin, Crossplag, Udhë and Nutriprep managed to pass Selection Bootcamp challenge.
The acceleration program officially kicks in on October 5 with different workshops helping them to better know fundamental business principles and some of the best practices greatly increasing their chance of success not only in Uplift Albania but also in the world of business and startups in Albania and world.
In addition to expertise the gain from Uplift Albania the best startups will be rewarded with 5,000-euro prize and each one of them with the opportunity to raise up to 50,000-euro investment thanks to the broad network of sponsors, partners, and investors of Uplift Albania consisting of ICTSmedia, SOVVA, SlovakAid, Vodafone Business, Raiffeisen Bank, Albvision, EU for Innovation, Swissep, Tirana Municipality, Ernst&Young Albania, Huawei and ICTSlab. More than 50 experts and trainers will assist during workshops and trainings.
In its second year, Uplift Albania, a sister event of Uplift in Slovakia, is a fruit of close cooperation between leading publishing house in information and technology in Albania ICTSmedia and Slovak organization SOVVA with financial aid of SlovakAid.
During Uplift Albania there are two days when emotions fly high: when the winner of acceleration program is announced at Demo-Day and the selection process of Selection Bootcamp.
Selection Bootcamp began with Elevator Pitch followed by 180-minutes of workshops: Lean Canvas with focus on problem validation; Investment and Pitching and Pitch Deck.
A further 90-minutes startups were assisted during a mentoring 1-on-1 phase. A last challenge for another 90-minutes took place just before the announcing the winners and every startup has the chance to pitch again their idea.
Selection Bootcamp started with opening remarks of Mr. Kushtrim Shala, founder of ICTSmedia, ICTSlab, ICT Awards and Uplift Albania. He encouraged not only startups but whole startups ecosystem in Albania and its stakeholders.
Mr. Eduard Shalsi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship Protection emphasized the important of challenge and how challenging times we and the world had paved the way for new opportunities. He also pointed to the new law going to be approved in the next few weeks for startups and entrepreneurship.
Executive Director of Uplift Albania co-organizers SOVVA, Mr. Daniel Straka described Uplift Albania as one of the most successful projects his company had abroad. Ms. Jaqueline Jaspert from EU for Innovation gave some inspiration messages for startups helping them understand the great opportunities of Uplift Albania.
Swissep, Swiss program for entrepreneurship support and development, is on the main partners of Uplift Albania. Its managing director of South Eastern European Countries including Albania Mr. Jakob Modeer, said that Swissep main objective is to help Balkans startups become competitive in the world and Uplift Albania stands in line with its mission.
Ms. Agar Perez from Vodafone Business shared her remarks about how important is to support startup and innovation ecosystem in Albania. She described Uplift Albania as a moment of reflection for startups and encouraged them to keep dreaming big.
Lastly Ms. Alda Shehu affirmed Raiffeisen Bank commitment to help startups and especially initiatives like Uplift Albania that cultivate creative mindset and innovation.
During Elevator Pitch every startup had a brief introduction for 60 seconds followed but questions from the audience and mentors.
Lean Canvas with focus on problem validation was the first workshop of Selection Bootcamp led by business consultant Anila Golemi. During this workshop startup understood how to articulate and pitch their business idea.
The second workshop of Investment from Andrej Petrus startups get to know what investors are looking at and what business ideas they are ready to invest. Advices how raise investment and different types of investors followed later.
During Pitching and Pitch Deck workshops lead by Jules Banning, startup got advice how to pitch their idea in front of experts, mentors, trainers and investors. She explained for the also different types of pitching like One Sentence Pitch, Elevator Pitch, Normal Pitch and Investors Deck.
Shortly after workshops, startups went on 1-on-1 mentoring for 90-minutes with mentors: Arjodita Mustali, Anila Golemi, Eneid Lika, Jeta Zagragja, Erjon Hazizi, Dritan Pecini, Dritan Musolli, Dairida Metalia, Emel Visha, Sara Usinger, Diana Xhumari, Tomas Penxa, Michal Laco, Lolita Ndoci, Arlind Haxhijaj, Erion Hajdaraj, Eneid Lika, Mentor Rexhepi, Jules Banning, and Andrej Petrus.
Selection Bootcamp closed with last pitch by startups after mentoring phase where each one of them had 3-minutes of pitching and 2-minutes of Q&A followed by winners’ announcement of acceleration program.
Startups of the second batch of Uplift Albania
Varg.io is a finance, cloud computing, blockchain and net infrastructure platform for developers. With a clean and easy interface, Varg.io gives organization the right tools to built their small blockchain networks with any coding.
FoodFilled brings together business with extensive food stock to end consumers who demand quality food with discount prices. The online app offers real-time market of available food stock.
Neuroyouth is software created to train the mind. In particular, it stimulates the so-called ‘higher’ brain functions such as memory, attention, language, abstract reasoning, problem solving and everything that allows us to be 100% functional in our daily life from a mental point of view.
Wellness+ provides an ecosystem for gyms and fitness clubs to manage their business workflow, create the community of their clients, control access within their facilities and create a personalized website.
Hermex is a platform for creating e-commerce websites(online stores). You can create a store with one click specifying only your email, password and store name. After you create the store, you can immediately access your store through subdomain. Custom domain can be easily configured to access the online store.
Maia analyzes and studies the gaps that exist everywhere in the urban world. In more detail, we deal with the design and production of smart products, which facilitate the lives of citizens. These products (only these so far) include: smart bins, smart benches, and super modern refrigerators. These products contain unique features, unseen in products of this type.
iNegotio will provide Procurement Outsourcing Services (procurement as a service) and has also developed a procurement tool (Software as a Service). Our aim is to assist our clients during the procurement process in order to create added value for them, shorten the process and reduce costs.
AlbBnb is a local online booking platform that allows people to monetize their space, food or tour guides for a set listing fee (or lower % commission than the competitors).
Swipin is a mobile social shopping app that aims to improve the shopping experience and is designed to bring buyers and sellers closer together. Swipin enables people to easily discover products, special deals and new arrivals from local stores to brands they love, exchange opinions, pay for them seamlessly and save money while shopping from their mobile phone.
Crossplag offers text similarity detection in both written and target languages (translations). This text analysis and comparison is conducted through a one-directional (English-English) approach and cross-language approach (English – German).
Udhë is a carpooling platform that matches drivers and passengers who have the same destination to provide them a more comfortable and convenient travel. This community counts more than 14,000 members and its rapidly growing day by day.
Nutriprep offers nutritious (ready to cook) meals and customizable meal plans depending on the customers needs. They developed a software which can generate these plans by taking in consideration the specifics of the person who is interested in buying the plan, E.G : height, weight, gender, daily activity, weight goals and food preference. By taking this information and based on our food menu the software will then generate the meal plan for that person.