The 2nd edition of the Challenger Urban:Creative acceleration program has started 

[Acceleration program]

The acceleration program’s 1st sprint has already taken place – a series of workshops and individual consultations, during which 12 teams, together with expert mentors, worked to improve their projects, which have the potential to improve the quality of life in Košice. 

Selection of 12 finalists  

The selection of 12 finalists took place online during the so-called Bootcamp on April 7, with the participation of project partners and external mentors. The main goal was to get to know the participants and their projects and to evaluate them within the selection criteria of the acceleration programme, such as the innovative dimension of the project and its potential to improve the quality of life in the city.  

22 teams were invited to the semi-finals, where they presented their “elevator pitch”, which is a short 30-second presentation of their team and the proposed solution – product or service. This was followed by 3-minute presentations in smaller groups as well as 1-on-1 individual meetings with the selected mentor, during which the teams received feedback, which they incorporated into their final presentations.  

After the final presentations, the expert jury selected 12 projects for the finals, which were given the opportunity to participate in the Challenger Urban:Creative acceleration program

Kick-off event 

The series of three sprints of the acceleration program started by a Kick-off meeting on April 20, during which the finalists got a chance to learn more details about the program –  the upcoming workshops and individual consultations, as well as about the Košice 2.0 project within which Challenger Urban:Creative is implemented. One of the guests of the kick-off meeting was Peter Feciľak from the e-Green City project, 2021 winner, who shared his experience with the acceleration program as well as with cooperation with the city in piloting an innovative solution. Another guest was Martin Mudrák, Plenipotentiary of the City of Košice for Innovation and Economic Development, who introduced the city from an innovation perspective to the international team of finalists. 

Sprint #1 IMAGINE 

Each of the three sprints is a week-long series of group workshops and individual consultations with external mentors as well as internal coaches and requires the full commitment of all participants. The first of the sprints took place from May 3 to May 6. Innovation expert Milan Čapka focused on preparing presentations for investors and differences between business model and business plan as part of the workshop “Business model generation”. This was followed by a workshop of investment manager Jaroslav Lupták from Neulogy Ventures with a focus on market identification and its understanding.  Part of the sprint was dedicated to the “Founders story”, where the co-founders of Matsuko, Mária Virčíková and Matúš Kirchmayer, shared their experience of running a successful international company focused on holographic communication. 

Participants also attended meetings with their coaches, who are supporting them through the whole program, as well as individual consultations with external experts as part of the 1st sprint. At the same time they attended a meeting with the city representative Martin Mudrák, in order to identify the most suitable forms of possible future cooperation with the city in the field of innovation. At the end of the sprint, an informal meeting took place, where participants were given the space to get to know each other and share their experiences.   

What will the next two sprints bring? 

The second sprint will take place in the last week of May (May 24-27), during which two workshops will be held focused on marketing and strategy preparation.  Presentation of the director of Creative Industry Košice Michal Hladký “Vision Košice 2.0” will be part of the sprint as well, followed by “Startup roast”, which are presentations of startups followed by feedback from experts representing various areas.  

The final sprint, which will take place from June 14 to June 17, will address topics such as sales, investment acquisition and legal issues. During this sprint, the teams will also finalize their pitch-decks, short final presentations of projects intended for potential investors.  

Once the sprints are over, teams will devote their time to improving their presentation skills which will be put through a test on the final Demo Day. They will present their projects in front of an audience, investors and a professional jury, which will select the absolute winner of the 2nd year of the Challenger Urban:Creative programme, which will receive a prize from the city of Košice – Acceleration Progress Award in the amount of 10,000€.  

The final event will take place on 28 June in the Kasarne/Kulturpark in Košice, and it will be open to the public