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Innovation Center Kosovo is helping startups turn their ideas into real businesses. With an incubation and training department, practical workshops, events like Business Tuesday or Startup Weekend, Innovation Centre Kosovo, based in Pristina is helping innovators turn their ideas into real businesses.
Innovation Centre Kosovo, recently established in Pristina is funded by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and implemented by Athene Prosjektledelse AS in cooperation with Kosovo Association of Information and Communication Technology (STIKK).
In May, it will hold its second Startup Weekend, an intense 54 hour event where professionals or non-professionals from different industry fields gather to form teams, work on ideas and launch startups. And the best, will get the chance to move forward with more support from Innovation Centre Kosovo.
Through calls for application, ICK receives innovators with new ideas from different backgrounds, mostly related to technology, since nowadays through technology it is easier to start a business.
After the application process, some ideas that are not market ready yet go for pre-incubation, a program which includes accommodation services, business consulting and training for a maximum period of six months, which should make them ready for incubation.
While on the other hand, ideas ready to register as a business can make it through to the incubator directly, which provides start-ups an environment for their development and continuous learning, access to mentors and investors, as well as visibility in the local and international market.
“The Incubator is the heart of the Innovation Centre Kosovo, aimed at supporting the entrepreneurial process, by helping to increase survival rates for innovative start-up companies. “
“We currently have two teams in the pre-incubator stage, and after six months they will present their achievements during this period, and then they will get the chance to apply for the incubator. During this period they have to consider registering their business, since the aim is to accept only registered businesses in the incubator” said Safet Rama, Incubator Manager.
Pristina Startup Weekend is another activity by ICK, where business ideas are turned into real business in 54 hours.From this activity, ICK selected their current pre-incubation teams.
“Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and start-up enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch start-ups,” said Çelik Nimani, Training and Events manager at ICK.
Startup Weekends are specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in receiving feedback on an idea, looking for a co-founder, or who want to learn a new skill.
Startup Weekends are risk-free environments where everyone is expected to roll up their sleeves and dive into the exhilarating world of startup.
“Anybody with a young entrepreneurial spirit should take ICK into serious consideration for their startup idea,”Taulant Ramabja one of the winners of the Startup Weekend, told Balkan Insight. His business Sudo:baseplans to outsource software development for major international companies to Kosovo.
“I have studied management, but actually doing everything you've studied is very different from the literature.”
He added: “At ICK we got an office and all the consulting we need to get our company going.
Being in a professional business incubator has also helped us get in touch with serious business partners and potential investors; I didn’t believe that they would have taken us serious enough if we were just a bunch of guys with an idea.”
Valon Badivuku, another winner from the first Pristina Startup Weekend, that took place in December 2011, said that the ICK had been a great help in getting his idea off the ground.
Jan Braathu, the Norwegian Ambassador in Kosovo, mentioned at the first Startup Weekend that: “Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe and the people who are in business innovation are the ones who will develop further the country, and if they succeed the country will have a success too.”
Women entrepreneurs are also a special target for ICK. For more on their future women activities, follow them at: www.wominnovation.org
All innovators can start preparing for the second Startup Weekend that will be held on May 25, 26, and 27 in Pristina.
For registration and more details on the agenda, visit prishtina.startupweekend.org
INNOVATION CENTRE KOSOVO
Tel: +386 49 (0) 81 55 55
Rexhep Mala nr. 28A, Pristina, Kosovo
In two high-profile war crimes trials currently ongoing in Pristina, a series of witnesses have retracted previous statements alleging abuse at Kosovo Liberation Army detention centres.