A new start-up incubator for the young entrepreneurs of Croatia.
As one of the cities of the future, and as part of the development strategy for the period 2014-2020, Rijeka has adopted three strategic objectives. One of them, “to develop a competitive economy on the basis of the knowledge society and new technologies”, combines a number of activities, measures, projects and programs with a goal of developing the local economy based on knowledge and innovation, reports Poslovni.hr on November 6, 2015.
Important part of this strategy is a start-up incubator. The City of Rijeka launched the project in February 2013, as an incubator for young entrepreneurs in order to create an environment suitable for self-employment of young people through the implementation of their own business ideas.
Target groups of the start-up incubator are unemployed youth, students of the University of Rijeka, as well as other young people from Croatia and abroad, who are provided with free mentoring and advice. The incubator is dedicated to young people who have innovative business ideas and provide new and better solutions than existing businesses. Young people are given support to set up their business models and business plans. The City of Rijeka is implementing this project together with the Rijeka Development Agency.
The mentoring network consists of experts from various fields and entrepreneurs. It is important to emphasize that the project is implemented thanks to the cooperation between public and private sectors and academia. The incubator offers specialized training for the development of business models, consultations and meetings with mentors from a variety of business and scientific fields, defining business models, as well as the creation of a simplified business plan. In addition, the participants are able to connect with all those relevant for the implementation of their ideas.
An additional advantage is that the young people who sign up for this project have the opportunity to work with new technologies. Communication with the teams is conducted via electronic communication channels. Teams are introduced to 3D printing techniques and Oculus Rift virtual reality technology as well.
The value of the project is demonstrated by the number of participants. In its first three generations, it had 122 participants and 47 teams and has created a network of 27 mentors, experts and entrepreneurs willing to share their knowledge and experience. The fourth generation started the process in early May 2015 and consists of 48 participants and 16 teams. Teams have developed ideas in the areas of IT, mobile applications, energy, mobility/transportation, e-books, tourism, marketing, biotechnology, medicine, manufacturing and hospitality. The participants have so far founded five businesses, and directly and indirectly employed 25 people.
Since 1996, the City of Rijeka has 5,000 square metres devoted to two business incubators. The entrepreneurs can stay there for a period of up to 3 years after which they have to enter the market. The concept will be presented to other major Croatian cities, with the aim of creating a support network for young people to develop their entrepreneurial skills and create better possibilities for their employment and self-employment.