Great weather and temperatures up to 30 degrees didn’t discourage a hundred-strong crowd witnessing Green Vision taking the top prize at Entrepreneurship Avenue at Vienna University of Economics and Business on 10 June. The hyper-modern spaceship-like new campus of WU certainly gave the event a visionary and futuristic feeling; the perfect place for a startup event. Organisers filled the space with decent content, a line-up of formidable presenters and over 40 speakers in sum. Among them were Christine Spernbauer (Impact Hub Vienna), Bernd Litzka (Austria Wirtschaftsservice), Gabriele Tatzberger (Wirtschaftsagentur Wien), Ondrej Gandel (inventures.eu), Lena Gansterer (Investment Read Programme) or Martin Poreda (kununu).
The great jury of the mostly known faces of Austrian startup scene honoured Green Vision at the event’s 2014 Avenue Pitch Award. The startup’s product is a tablet-style device that would enable visually impaired to read a screen in Brail. Currently in emergent phase, Green Vision has already taken several awards in Austria (e.g. TUN Nachhaltigkeitspreis, Social Impact Award) and is on track to build their prototype.
“We are delighted to see Green Vision to win the overall prize, especially that they have already won Social Impact Award, organised by Impact HUB Vienna,” Christine Spernbauer from Impact HUB Vienna said.
Running up the Entrepreneurship Avenue
Slavi Slavev, one of the co-founders, came from Bulgaria two years ago to study at TU Vienna. He explains that they specifically chose Austria for their start up due to the proximity to their home country and because of the support system in R&D and go-to-market. With co-founder Kristina, they left their ‘well-paid’ jobs back in Bulgaria to pursue their dream in Vienna. “Entrepreneurship Avenue is a best such event in Vienna: giving a lot of support throughout the process, great speakers and jury,” winner Slavev said.
Another pitching award went to LockLight. The team developed a bicycle gadget that is not only a lock but at the same time lights the streets ahead of you and makes you visible for other road users. The two TU students started their project in Entrepreneurship Avenue’s pre-workshop and won the second price with their idea already.
For the third place, Bgood convinced the jury with their social and environmental sustainability approach. Their service provides a platform where users can engage in several projects and collect coins for their volunteering work. In return, the coins can be exchanged for goodies offered by the company.
The fourth place went to Beacon. The Austrian startup won an award for their data gadget including a cloud software that makes sure that news, offers or e-mail arrive at the right time to the right people.
Preparations for the conference
The one day conference for Austria’s startup scene aims to encourage young students from TU, WU, BOKU, MED and other universities to start a business on their own. Expertise from keynote speakers as well as eye opening panel discussions should help them gain new insights and motivate them to take matters into their own hands. “The feedback we received was great! Mainly in that there was a lot of honest, practical and hands-on knowledge shared and that the day motivated students to become entrepreneurs themselves some day. We are also very pleased to see that some of the winners come form the teams who participated in our Pre-Workshop Series and hope that they will pursue and succeed with their business idea!,” lead conference organizer Anna Lisa Hülpüsch said.
Before the conference, Entrepreneurship Avenue featured four preparation sessions for businesses founders. The pre-workshop series took part from 6 May until 3 June and supported attendants in learning how to develop business plans and organise startup ideas. Besides receiving a certificate, workshop participants could show what they learned at the conference’s 2014 Avenue Pitch Award.