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Western Balkans

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel endorses the Western Balkan policy recommendations

It was only on 15 November 2018 at Startup Europe Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, that the Founding Members of the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network (SECEEN) and the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network (SEWBN) publicly signed a Joint Declaration aimed at reinforcing the tech entrepreneurship ecosystems of their regions. Four months later, the Founding Members of the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network (Seavus Educational and Development Center – North Macedonia; Serbia Start Up- Serbia; Oficina- Albania; Innovation Centre Kosovo- Kosovo*; Digitalizuj.me- Montenegro; SPARK poslovni park d.o.o- Bosnia and Herzegovina) are proud to present the first joint effort from the Network– the Policy Recommendations reflecting the main challenges the Western Balkan countries need to tackle in order to thrive and be further connected to the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In her opening speech in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, at the Startup Europe Summit 2019, Mariya Gabriel highlighted the perfect timing for the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network and Startup Europe Western Balkans Network to be established, which is why she supported their launch back in November.

“[The Networks] focus on existing barriers for growth in the region and this Summit, now in Romania, is crucial because they will present publicly a set of concrete and actionable recommendations for European leaders and policymakers” – Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

The Commissioner strongly believes that the policy recommendations are just the beginning of a long journey and everyone’s support is needed for the winds of change to blow strong. Throughout her speech, she pushed for active participation from all startups coming from Central and Eastern Europe and, in particular, the Western Balkan region and stressed that the opportunities provided by the Digital Agenda for Western Balkans should be seized. This is the only way for a truly Digital Single Market to be created.

Soon afterwards, Mariya Gabriel was handed over the policy recommendations by Europa Media Group, the Hungarian founding member and the leader of the two Networks, about which she said:

“This set of policy recommendations will facilitate the development of the Networks and contribute to the economic progress of their regions.”

Mariya Gabriel’s endorsement is already providing the boost that Western Balkan voices need in order to be heard by ecosystem players across Europe, thereby allowing everyone to benefit from a more equal and leveraged European startup ecosystem.

Concerning the policy recommendations for the Western Balkans

The policy recommendations, which are the very first joint endeavour of the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network, aim to facilitate the internationalisation of the Western Balkan countries and promote them in macroeconomic environments, as well as building bridges across the participating markets and cultures. In the long-run, the Western Balkan countries have a huge potential to become new hot spots attracting startups and innovators from all over Europe. However, common structural challenges must be addressed first through target measures. Some of the strategies that could be highlighted include building new collaboration mechanisms and support the existing ones, nurturing soft-landing opportunities and enhancing coordination both at national and regional levels.

For more information pertaining to the work of the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network and the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network, please contact Krisztina Toth at krisztina.toth@startupeurope.network.

 

 

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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MY-GATEWAY project wants 22 CEE and Western Balkan startups to attend Startup Europe Summit!

In total twenty-two startups, twelve from Central and Eastern Europe and ten from the Western Balkans, will be selected to attend this year’s edition of ‘The European Startup Event’. A committee comprised of leading startup support organizations from the CEE and Western Balkan countries will select the startups through specific criteria.

Selected startups will be given the possibility to meet high-profile people such as Prime Ministers and European Commission policymakers to discuss European entrepreneurship and new opportunities. The one-day Summit will be filled with workshops on how to access venture capital, business angel funding, EU funding and panel talks on how to scale-up. Travel and accommodation expenses of one representative per selected startup selected will be reimbursed by the European Commission.

Take a look at the Summit’s agenda here.

Would you like to apply? Click here.

‘We need to create programs and policies to connect ecosystems, founders and startups at European level.’

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and also key-note speaker at the Summit, said at her speech on Masters of Digital.

‘This is with a view to accelerate growth, cooperation and diversity.’

In order to be considered for the application process and be eventually selected to attend Startup Europe Summit, startups need to have a high growth potential, a prototype or viable business plan and a unique business idea.

 

What is Startup Europe Summit?

Startup Europe Summit is a European Commission event which aims to bring together startup founders and policy makers. More than 400 people will attend this year’s Bulgarian edition to learn about new funding opportunities, meet entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders and benefit from the possibility of closing a business deal.

Check out the agenda here.

 

What is MY-GATEWAY?

MY-GATEWAY is an initiative of Startup Europe that aims to strengthen the capacities of high-tech start-ups and innovative SMEs in the CEE region to become better connected, gain higher market exposure, and have improved streamlined access to funding opportunities and talents.

 

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MY-GATEWAY partner SPARK was at the We Are Developers World Congress 2018!

SPARK, as one of the communication partners of the Congress, took the opportunity to offer access to the event to 2 startups and while there did not miss the chance to promote the Startup Europe Ambassador initiative to the international audience.

Over the last 2 years, SPARK has been partnering up with the 3-day conference and, as usual, some team members attended the event:

 

  • Sanjin Osmanbašić, Managing Director

  • Ivan Krešić, Executive Director, Research & Development Program Lead

  • Sara Lerota, Partnership & Startup Development

But they did not go alone, they were accompanied by their colleagues from NSoft, a top quality service solution provider.

About 8000 people attended the event, with over a 1000 coming from the Western Balkans. The outcome of the event was positive and software developers, business developers, startups and students would definitely attend the event again. Even Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak was present and declared his strong inclination in favour of the Blockchain Technology.

The startups that SPARK brought to WAD were Amplius electronics represented by team member Robert Rozić and Ante Delić representing Imicron.

If you want to know more about how the story between WAD and SPARK began, read this.

 

 

What is SPARK?

SPARK is an advanced digital technology acceleration platform dedicated to regional startups and projects commissioned by leading European companies. SPARK’s programs are SPARK school, SPARK r&d, SPARK startup and SPARK business. Users are individuals, teams, investors, companies, researchers, and sponsors. SPARK has been listed as a Network Partner.

What is We Are Developers?

 The WeAreDevelopers World Congress takes place in Vienna once a year and provides thousands of developers with the latest insights.

More info: https://www.wearedevelopers.com/about/

What is MY-GATEWAY?

MY-GATEWAY is an initiative of Startup Europe that aims to strengthen the capacities of high-tech start-ups and innovative SMEs in the CEE region to become better connected, gain higher market exposure, and have improved, streamlined access to funding opportunities and talents.

 

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