Impact Incubator Explained: A Firsthand Experience

When they asked us, we gladly agreed. Being a partner of the broadest and socially impactful incubator is a no-brainer.

Last year was a great experience both for the participants and for us at Slovak STARTUP as well. Insightful ideas and projects with a goal to help others, condensed on one place – that’s worth being a part of.

The 2017 round of the Impact Incubator is open and if you have an idea or a running project, you should not miss it. You can get expert mentoring, workshops, PR, hours of experience and polishing your idea and, potentially, a funding. Everything for free in terms of money, not in terms of hard work, energy and time.

Still considering if such incubation program is for you? I have invited Branislav Šmidt, the co-founder and director of Impact Hub Bratislava, to communicate you the core ideas, benefits and history of the Impact Incubator.

To make it more interactive, Branislav invited a direct participant of the Incubator 2016 round, Karmadilo, to zoom in on their first-hand observations.

Enter Branislav.

Impact Incubator, Branislav Šmidt (left)

Branislav Šmidt (left)

We have launched the 3rd edition of Impact Incubator. Why did we come to organize such a program in the first place?

Our main motivation was to bring a professional support to as many projects as possible. We wanted to fill in the gap in the market and provide support to socially responsible projects and startups.

Increasing chances for survival in the market and helping the projects become more sustainable and investment-ready are the crucial goals of our initiative.

The first edition proved that our effort was successful. We received almost 150 applications, and 40 projects participated on the incubation itself. Each year we work hard to bring innovation and new elements into the program.

Therefore the second edition was divided into two categories: Social Business and a new category named Technology for Good. This year, we have opened the Impact Incubator not only for teams; individuals bringing in either ideas or skills are invited as well.

As of today, Impact Incubator is the broadest and most accessible incubation program in the Slovak market and it is free of charge for selected projects. It would not be possible without our main partners, namely endowment fund Nadačný fond Telekom and ZSE (gas and electricity supplies in Slovakia).

Who we aim at

For the Impact Incubator, we address mainly individuals, teams, startups or companies with ideas or running businesses and affinity to Technology for Good or Social Business fields. In terms of projects life cycle, we target the idea and early stage projects and startups.

On top of that, we have decided to address also established midsize companies which may want to add a social element to their existing business but don’t know how. Ideas from the area of health-tech and sustainability&waste management are more than welcome.

How can you benefit from the program?

For idea stage projects, the main value is a proper validation and setting up the right team for the execution. In terms of running projects and startups, the benefit lies in the business case fine-tuning, expert mentoring, networking and PR.

Early stage ventures will also learn how to pitch their businesses to the investors and, thus, increase their chances for initial funding. Established companies will get an opportunity to add a social element to their business and get inspired by young social entrepreneurs.

The organizers will award the winners with a financial prize and benefits of 10,000 EUR in total. The best projects can compete for the initial investment of 10,000 EUR from Impact HUB Bratislava.

What does the selection process look like

The application phase is open until the end of March. You can apply at http://impacthub.sk/impactinkubator/.

The process as such is simple and straightforward. From all the applications, our committee will select 30 projects for the Bootcamp and 20 individuals for the Ideacamp. All the selected participants will be granted introductory business and validation mentoring which will be of great value in their further steps.

The Idea-/Bootcamp is going to be the first funnel for some of the projects. Thus, the best of them will make it to the actual Impact Incubator program. If you have any doubts, you can come and consult your application and get advice. Just join us at the Impact Incubator Meetup on March 30th, 2017 at 18:30 at Impact Hub Bratislava.

Still not sure whether it is a good idea to send us your application? Do you have additional questions? Read a short testimony by our last year’s participant, Karmadilo.

Karmadilo is a platform connecting companies, users, and non-profits. It enables you to create an easy-to-make on-line survey, send it to your target audience, get fast and reliable results and send money to your favourite NGO.

Please, welcome Matej Brečka, the founder of Karmadilo.

Impact Incubator, Matej Brečka from Karmadilo

Matej Brečka from Karmadilo

It might be a game changer for you

Karmadilo started as a reaction to what bothered me as a marketer and socially responsible person very much. I was looking for a cheap tool that would enable me to test out a new product or ask an audience a few questions that would take it seriously. I was skeptic about feedback from paid panelists by various research agencies, both online and offline.

As I looked deeper into it, I came to a conclusion that there is a gap in a research market, which needs to be filled by something with a totally different approach. It was also about the same time when I talked to many people from non-profit sector and found out about their conditions and how is public reluctant to their needs.

That’s where Karmadilo as a marketing tool came into existence. Rewarding our panelists by giving them a chance to donate what they’ve earned while completing a quick survey provides a win-win-win situation.

I quit my job in a marketing agency, met the right people and jumped into the project. It has been a great ride and experience. A very important part of it was our participation in Impact Incubator.

To be honest, we hadn’t had any special expectations. We just wanted to validate and improve Karmadilo as much as possible and get valuable hints and advice. Even if your project is in an advanced stage, there are always business areas you can improve such as business case, presentation skills, or business development.

We traveled 200 kilometers from Banska Bystrica, back and forth every week, to take part in the sessions and workshops. It was worth the time.

The most memorable experience was the pitches and face-to-face sessions with professionals. For us, Jan Cifra was the mentor of the greatest value, if I had to pick one. He gave us deep insights based on his experience and charged us with great energy.

The Impact Incubator helped us to get into the finals of Startup Awards 2016, which we enjoyed very much. If you want to move on with your project, apply for the Impact Incubator and give it 100% of your energy.

You need to validate, validate, and then validate even more. Being able to receive advice from the marketing, financial, design, or project management professionals is priceless.

Don’t stay in your bubble and go for it. This might be a game changer for you.


Photos: Impact Incubator

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