This is a report about the StartItUp! festival by the Startup Novo mesto team.
More than 150 people visited Novo mesto on Saturday afternoon, 7 September, where six successful Slovenian entrepreneurs discussed themes ranging from the mountain tourism to wine and cuisine. What’s more, the organiser, Startup Novo mesto, will start its accelerator programme called KickUP on 16 September. People who are interested in entrepreneurship, computers or design, and want to create their own startup, are welcome to apply.
The focus of the StartItUp! festival were the talks given by the six speakers who told their personal stories on how they got into the business world, faced its challenges and overcame its obstacles to run their companies successfully today.
Dejan Romih from MountVacation encouraged participants to follow their dreams and act accordingly. A few years ago, he left his regular job and started a venture that follows his passion: skiing. MountVacation is currently one of the largest web portals for mountain tourism in Europe.
Milena Jakovljevic from Mediodrom, a Novo mesto-native, talked about women in startups, and highlighted the importance of a mentor who can help a newbie entrepreneur cross initial obstacles.
Matjaz Mrgole from Confidly is simply attracted to the diversity of a startup life. Years ago, he left a well-paid but monotonous IT job and started working on various business ideas. His third attempt led him to the TS Startup accelerator, where he and his co-founder Jelena completely changed their idea only a month before the Demo Day but managed to win and got their first investment in the company.
Matej Golob from 30Lean talked about the power and influence of the business social network LinkedIn. Golob worked for a major international IT company for over a decade and now advises big companies on implementation of the lean startup approach to in-house projects.
Stas Stankovic of Lumu Photo credit: Jernej KokolStas Stankovic of Lumu advised participants not to take life as dictated by society, but to change it and make it exciting. The Lumu team, which surprised the Slovenian tech scene this summer with a very successful Kickstarter project, is currently visiting San Francisco and presenting their product at one of the largest startup conferences, TechCrunch Disrupt.
The event ended with a wine-tasting organised by Meta Kocjan, entrepreneur, sommelier and owner of Malamacka, a wine boutique. Meta also replaced her regular job with a business that goes along with her passion – wine and cuisine. Besides hosting the wine-tasting, she highlighted the opportunities in the wineindustry where, thanks to a new wave of young wine entrepreneurs, information technologies are more and more involved.
The startup scene in Novo mesto seems to be budding, and there seem to be more opportunities coming up. In mid-September, Startup Novo mesto will be starting its accelerator programme, KickUP. People who are interested in entrepreneurship, programming or design and want to create their own startup are welcome to apply. StartUP Novo mesto provides coworking space, mentors and training – everything that a young entrepreneur needs to develop their business idea and test the market. The KickUP winning startup will be awarded a trip to Amsterdam, visiting the Rockstart accelerator for two weeks.
The Info Day will be held on 16 September at the Podbreznik Incubator in Novo Mesto.
The organisers of the event would like to thank the main sponsors and partners of the festival: Si.mobil center Novo mesto, Banka Koper, Mozilla Slovenia and Razvojni center Novo mesto.