Leading Slovak Startup Acceleration Program Uplift is Preparing Its 3rd Run


August 14, 2019

With Uplift, startups will compete for the chance to get minimum EUR 200,000 in investment from Crowdberry. One startup will also win the Jury Award of EUR 10,000 and a number of other benefits and perks.

The program will run in two thematic tracks:

  1. Urban Innovation/Smart Cities, and
  2. Blockchain, sponsored by NKB Advisory.

You can apply here.

What’s in it for you?

Uplift is an intensive 4-month acceleration program, consisting of lessons, workshops and individual mentoring on topics such as sales, marketing, finance & investment and human resources.

Startups will learn how to pitch to investors, protect their intellectual property, improve their business models, and apply the lean methodology. They will have a chance to significantly improve, fine tune or scale their businesses and substantially increase their chances to succeed.

Individual coaching and advice will be provided by over 50 industry experts, mentors and successful entrepreneurs from all V4 countries.

Slovak Startup Acceleration Program Uplift - Mary MacPherson from Slovak-American Foundation
Slovak Startup Acceleration Program Uplift – Mary MacPherson from Slovak-American Foundation

Uplift is partnering with leading ecosystem players in CEE, such as EIT InnoEnergy (Poland), JIC Brno (the Czech Republic) and Startup Campus (Hungary). Participants will have a chance to find new clients through networking with corporates, private companies and public institutions.

The program will culminate in a public Demo Day. Startups will pitch to leading CEE investors and the winner will enter talks to receive EUR 200,000 in an investment, while another startup will be awarded the Jury Award of EUR 10,000.

“Early-stage startups face multiple challenges, including sales, marketing, hiring talented employees and getting an external investment to fund their operations and expansion. Accelerators step in to help the startups weather this difficult period,” explains Peter Kolesár, chairman at CIVITTA Slovakia.

Branislav Šmidt, Managing Director at Impact HUB Bratislava, adds to that: “Every year the quantity, as well as the quality of applicants, grows. We are especially pleased to see that also dedication and drive to succeed from participants increases and that is the most important element. We have decided to reflect these promising trends when designing Uplift acceleration program curriculum. Program is more robust and intensive with the main goal to substantially increase chances to succeed for startups and founders in the program.”

Previous batches

Uplift’s batch of autumn 2018 was focused on Smart Cities and Urban Innovation. 22 startups from 3 countries were given a chance to participate, 11 startups made it to the Demo Day, during which they networked with investors before pitching to them.

Matúš Vallo, the mayor of Bratislava, opened the sold-out event as a keynote speaker. ParkTop, a smart parking solution, emerged as the winner with Event Advisor receiving the Jury Award.

Slovak Startup Acceleration Program Uplift
Slovak Startup Acceleration Program Uplift

Reality-check is definitely the largest benefit of Uplift. It forced us to be responsible with ourselves. Without it, we wouldn’t have had the courage to confront the most difficult questions. Our progress would’ve been a lot slower,” says Štefan Olešanský, CEO of ParkTop.

What is Uplift?

Uplift is organized as a collaboration between CIVITTA Slovakia and Impact HUB Bratislava with the aim to support and develop the Slovak startup and innovation ecosystem.

It’s been an established brand in the Slovak startup ecosystem and number one choice for early stage startups.

This year’s Uplift has expanded, and the 2019 batch comes with a more complex, more intense and more international program. The pool of mentors has grown from 30 to over 50 with notable names from abroad, and the program has been extended from 10 to 16 weeks.

Partners of the program include ZSE, Slovenská sporiteľňa, Slovak-American Foundation, Crowdberry, NKB Advisory, Nadačný Fond Telekom, City of Bratislava, Bratislavský samosprávny kraj and International Visegrad Fund.

Startups from outside of Bratislava may also receive a scholarship for the program, funded by Slovak-American Foundation. The money will cover the costs of the startup’s stay in Bratislava for the duration of the program, as the organizers require full commitment from the startups.

The application process will open in August.

Find out more, including the application form, on its official website.

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