Global network and IT services sharing project wins Usti Dragon’s Den
On January 23, startups from the enterprise incubator of the Innovation Centre of the Usti Region went head to head at the Drama Theater of Usti nad Labem in a competition for the best business project. The main prize, a package of business development services from the Innovation Centre of the Usti Region (20,000 CZK) and CzechInvest (10,000 CZK), went to a project entitled “SpecialistsGrid” from the city of Most. The project is based on the principle of shareconomy and matches offers of IT services with demand on a global scale. The audience award went to Iva Coelho and her “Alice” project, which uses modern technology to help people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease exercise their memory and reduce memory loss.
The third round of the Startup Go enterprise incubator of the ICUK culminated on Tuesday, January 23 with a public “grilling” of new startups. Eight beginning entrepreneurs, all of whom completed the enterprise incubator, had five minutes to present their business and acquired knowledge before an expert panel of judges and potential investors. In the end, the judges chose the best projects, which received individual coaching from their mentor of choice for business development provided by the Innovation Centre of the Usti Region as well as business development prizes from partners CzechInvest, Ceska sporitelna, Node5 coworking centre, and LDM Production. Visitors to the Startup Go Grill event decided the audience award.
Ales Smetana’s SpecialistsGrid for matching offers of IT services with demand wins top prize. The project is based on the principle of Airbnb for IT specialists. “As an agency for supporting enterprise and investments, we like the global ambitions and perspective line of business of the winning project. And that’s where can help. Moreover, Airbnb for IT specialists has already demonstrated that there is demand in the world for such a service,” says Alena Hajkova, a member of panel of judges and director of the regional office of CzechInvest.
Voting for the audience award was conducted online by visitors to the Startup Go Grill event. The most points were earned by Iva Coelho and her “Alice” project, which uses an application in smart watches and telephones together with an audio chip to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and their relatives combat forgetfulness and improve memory.
“An excellent and, first and foremost, socially beneficial project. I also like the business model, which the project’s creator put together in cooperation with the ICUK, because it doesn’t force customers to purchase smart watches or special telephones. All they pay for is the service, which is prepared specifically to their needs,” says of the audience award Jana Nedrdova of the Usti Region, which supported the entire event.
“Of course, I’d be very happy to have an investor. In the first phase, however, the more important thing for our team is help in establishing a network of doctors and patients in our region who will test our service and assist us in improving it,” says the project’s creator Iva Coelho of Usti nad Labem.
The registered beginning companies (startups) completed the Startup Go educational programme organised by the Innovation Centre of the Usti Region, which comprised several months of intensive learning designed to help them move their businesses forward. At the end of the enterprise incubator, they gave closing presentations on their polished business plans and participated in the “grilling” before a panel of expert judges and the public. In addition to the aforesaid members, the panel included entrepreneur Radim Bzura, who runs the EnergieUsti.cz portal, and Jana Mechurova of Ceska sporitelna.