The leading Slovak startup acceleration programme Uplift is preparing its third run for this autumn
Uplift is an intensive 4-month acceleration programme. It consists of lessons, workshops and individual mentoring on topics such as sales, marketing, finance & investment and human resources. Startups will learn how to pitch to investors, protect their intellectual property, improve their business models and apply the lean methodology. Over the course of the programme, participants will significantly improve, finetune or scale their businesses and substantially increase their chances to succeed.
Individual coaching and advice will be provided by over 50 industry experts, mentors and successful entrepreneurs from all V4 countries. The programme is partnering with leading ecosystem actors in CEE, such as EIT InnoEnergy (Poland), JIC Brno (the Czech Republic) and Startup Campus (Hungary). Participants will have a chance to find new clients through networking with corporates, private companies and public institutions.
The programme will culminate in a public Demo Day. Startups will pitch to leading CEE investors and the winner will enter talks to receive €200,000 in an investment. One more startup will be awarded the Jury Award of €10,000.
"Reality-check is definitely the largest benefit of Uplift. It forced us to be responsible with ourselves. Without it, we wouldn't have had the courage to confront the most difficult questions. Our progress would've been a lot slower," says Štefan Olešanský, CEO of ParkTop, the winner of last year's Uplift.
Uplift is organised as a collaboration between CIVITTA Slovakia and Impact HUB Bratislava with the aim to support and develop the Slovak startup and innovation ecosystem. Partners of the programme include ZSE, Slovenská sporiteľňa, Slovak-American Foundation, Crowdberry, NKB Advisory, Nadačný Fond Telekom, City of Bratislava, Bratislavský samosprávny kraj and International Visegrad Fund.
Startups from outside of Bratislava may also receive a scholarship for the programme, funded by Slovak-American Foundation. The money will cover the costs of the startup's stay in Bratislava for the duration of the programme, as the organisers require full commitment from the startups.
Previous Uplift batches
Uplift's batch of autumn 2018 was focused on Smart Cities and Urban Innovation. 22 startups from 3 countries were given a chance to participate. 11 startups made it to the Demo Day, during which they networked with investors before pitching to them.
Matúš Vallo, the mayor of Bratislava, opened the sold-out event as a keynote speaker. ParkTop, a smart parking solution, emerged as the winner with Event Advisor receiving the Jury Award.
"Early-stage startups face multiple challenges, including sales, marketing, hiring talented employees and getting an external investment to fund their operations and expansion. Accelerators step in to help the startups weather this difficult period," explains Peter Kolesár, chairman at CIVITTA Slovakia.
"Every year the quantity, as well as the quality of applicants, grows. We are especially pleased to see that also dedication and drive to succeed from participants increases and that is the most important element. We have decided to reflect these promising trends when designing Uplift acceleration program curriculum. Program is more robust and intensive with the main goal to substantially increase chances to succeed for startups and founders in the program." mentions Branislav Šmidt, Managing Director at Impact HUB Bratislava.
Uplift is an established brand in the Slovak startup ecosystem and number one choice for early stage startups. This year's Uplift has expanded, and the 2019 batch comes with a more complex, more intense and more international program. The pool of mentors has grown from 30 to over 50 with notable mentors from abroad, and the programme has been extended from 10 to 16 weeks.
The application process for startups is opened until the end of September 2019.
You can find out more, including the application form, on its official website: https://uplift.sk