Challenger Urban:Creative program is in full swing!
Our acceleration program has moved from the organizational phase to the implementation phase. This means that, together with the participants and their mentors, we have fully started working on projects that have the potential to improve the quality of life and services in the city of Košice. In the following article, you will get an overview of the most important things that have happened so far within the program and what is still ahead of us.
We met the participants of the program
The selection process took place during the Bootcamp, which took place online on April 23, with the participation of project partners and external mentors. The main purpose was to get to know the participants more closely and evaluate how they fulfill the requirements of the first round of the acceleration program. These included the project’s innovative potential, its ability to increase the quality of life in the city, and, last but not least, the motivation and readiness of the team.
The invited teams started by presenting their projects in the form of an “elevator pitch”, i.e. a short 30 to 60 second presentation of the team, the problem and the offered solution. This was followed by short presentations in smaller groups, after which the teams immediately received feedback, which they then incorporated into their projects. In the next part, the candidates completed individual consultations with mentors of their choice who shared with them their insight into their presentations, business plans and opportunities for further improvement.
In the end, the candidates again presented the already improved proposals to the other participants, mentors, and the jury. After a difficult decision, the jury selected 8 projects, which determined the final participants of the Challenger Urban:Creative program.
We continued with a kick-off meeting in less than a week. First, all participating teams received a detailed overview of the schedule, as well as the terms. Then, participants took part in two practical workshops. The first, led by Kristína Korčeková from CIVITTA, was about the basics of business communication. At the second workshop, we welcomed external mentor Adam Sipos, editor of the Trend, who covered the basics of communication with the media. This intensive introduction prepared the participants for the main part of the program – workshops organized in three thematic units, sprints.
Sprint #1 IMAGINE is successfully behind us
Each of the three sprints represents a week of group training and individual consultations with external mentors and internal coaches and requires the full commitment of the participants involved. For example, the first one was called IMAGINE. It was about understanding customers’ needs, product development, and selecting a suitable business model.
Ján Koscelanský from Sudolabs laid the foundations of “Customer Discovery & Segmentation,” which was followed by Dalibor Pulkert from Outboxers with a workshop on “Product Development & Service Design.”
Investment manager Terézia Jacová from Neulogy Ventures continued with the topic of creating and testing business models.
At the end of the sprint, the participants heard the inspiring story of the founder of the CourtQuant startup, Jozef Maruščák (currently Sudolabs). The participants also completed two rounds of coaching, which was to evaluate the benefits of previous workshops. With the help of coaches, the teams identified which of the topics needed to be addressed on an individual basis, set goals for the program, and identified opportunities to connect with potential partners and clients.
After the first sprint, the participants now have the space to process the knowledge and apply it in practice. During the two-week break, they will improve their products and services so that they can continue to gain valuable knowledge during the second sprint called VALIDATE.
What can the teams look forward to?
In the last week of May, we will continue with a program focused on sales, marketing and market understanding, and the possibility of piloting projects in an urban environment or in cooperation with the city.
The last sprint, called GROW, will take place in mid-June and will focus on the topic of law and intellectual property, financial planning and obtaining funding. The teams will also finalize their pitch-decks, i.e. short final presentations of projects for potential investors. Thanks to the “Startup Roast” format, they will receive factual and direct feedback from experts in their field.
After the sprints are over, the teams will focus on improving their presentation skills, which they will test at the final Demo Day. They will present their projects to the audience, investors and an expert jury, which will select the winner of the Challenger Urban:Creative program. The winner will receive the Acceleration Progress Award in the amount of € 10,000.
This final event will take place on June 29 in the Kasárne/Kulturpark complex in Košice and you are more than welcome to join! Come hear inspiring speakers and support your favorite team.
We will publish the complete program on our website soon.