A guest post by Andrej Mikula
Starting up in Slovakia: 6 must-knows
Photo credit: Creative Commons License, Kiban, http://bit.ly/MliyHN
Andrej Mikula, Tue, 02/25/2014 - 15:24
What is Slovakia famous for? Perhaps mostly for its nature, the High Tatras mountains and the historic centre of Bratislava. But in Slovakia there are also plenty of smart people, who want to start something big. The best example is the company ESET, whose antivirus systems are being used in a number countries across the world.
Slovakia is also country of big differences. During the week, the capital has a population of about three quarters of a million, and during weekends just about half a million. It's the place for people from the entire country to find the job that best suits them – and that also means in startups since Bratislava is the startup centre of Slovakia. So on that note, here are six things you should know if you want to start your startup here.
A young community that hangs out together. The startup community and the whole ecosystem are really young, but they have already discovered a number of successful young entrepreneurs, mostly concentrated - but not exclusively, in the coworking spaces The Spot, Connect Coworking and Clusterhaus. The first two hubs are also organising educational events every week, where you can get to know the stories of many inspiring people. Most famous startup events in Slovakia are Startup Weekend, StartupAwards and Startupcamp.
A great position on the Danube River. Bratislava has a great position for business connections, since it’s about 70 kilometres away from Vienna (where you can get also with a speed boat, in case you need that change of perspective), about 100 kilometres away from Brno, 300 kilometres from Prague and about 200 kilometres from Budapest. That means you can test your product, find new business partners or look for other opportunities without having to go very far.
Bratislava IS cheap, but NOT for Slovaks. Bratislava isn't an expensive city, but only for visitors; for a lot of people in Slovakia it is quite expensive. Interestingly enough, Prague, which is bigger, more famous and more visited, happens to be cheaper for them. The result is that in Slovakia a lot of people aged 25-34 are still living with their parents.
A country of unlimited relaxation possibilities. If you need to relax after a day of hard work, Slovakia can offer you mostly everything. there are a lot of options. Wellness centres, gyms, sport activities, mountains, everything what is needed. The most beautiful area are the High Tatras, where you can ski or do other touristic activities and most importantly – relax.
Slovak startup factory. Apart from ESET, Slovakia also has other great companies like WebSupport, a kind of a startup factory. Primarily it is a hosting company, but it’s becoming more and more known for the startup passion of their CEO Michal Truban. With a brand new startup – RunForm, they now have already four startups. WebSupport ranked eighth in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 – for fastest growing technology companies.
Helpful people all around you. Slovaks are really open-hearted (most of them) and they will help you with anything, if they can. In the startup scene, everybody in our hubs is ready to offer their feedback, test your product, mentor, look for an investor, and anything else around your startup.
Photo: Facebook, Andrej MikulaAndrej Mikula is a young entrepreneur and the founder of the first Slovak startup portal Startupers.sk, where you can find the hottest news from the scene, a list of slovak startups, startup events from Slovakia and beyond as well as startup job opportunities, and much more. Andrej has a degree in Media and Communications. He is passionate about startups, and loves sports and traveling.