Every country nowadays has some business competition celebrating and popularizing entrepreneurship. Some are big, some are small. Some are aiming for professionalism, some doesn’t care and stay “punk”. From what I’ve seen in last few years, Podnikateľský nápad roka is by far the best stand-alone business competition in V4 countries. I will tell you why.
Thanks to Združenie mladých podnikateľov Slovenska I had the opportunity to see more of the Slovakian startups for the first time. And I was impressed. Podnikatelsky napad roka 2014 exceeded my high expectations.
Quality of business ideas
There was 425 business ideas applications this year! (note: please, let me know if you are aware of some significantly bigger competition in Central Europe). 425 applications in the country of 5 mil people. That is a lot.
Since I was member of the jury, I saw long-list of 50 projects. Frankly speaking, if I chose any 10, I would get close to the Top10 quality in most of the Central European competitions. Top 15 teams made it to the finals.
Very positive was the increasing presence of the knowledge intensive ideas – projects that have competitive advantage in knowledge and skills of the team rather than low price point or first-player-on-the-small-market.
On the other hand, those knowledge-intensive teams sometimes lacked the business drive. That is unfortunately quite usual.
You can check the top15 videos here.
Professional and fun
The final event was fun. There were 2 live bands playing at the podium during the ceremony evening. Business Leaders Band was chosen because there are successful business(wo)men playing in the band. The Dynamo Team because it is one of a few bands that started from scratch but achieved international success (i.e. their hit is used in US/Canada car commercial).
Comparing to startup and business plan competition’s average, this one is little more formal. And professional. Which makes it easier for next year’s fundraising. Sponsorship in 2014 was really nice so the package for the winner if worth more than 330 000 EUR! What can we expect next year?
Selected venue (Stará Tržnica) was superb as well as whole organization of the evening. I saw managers and business leaders in the audience rather than hipster students. Also there was Secretary of Education and Deputy Secretary of Finance in the audience.
Jan Solik, the leader of ZMPS says that “Slovakia was positioned at the bottom of European entrepreneurial charts. That was also the reason why we established Podnikatelsky napad roka.” They started small. This year, organizers managed to get some broadcasting prime-time as well as nice media coverage from printed and online journals and national newspapers. The whole Slovakia will know about it and about the best ideas. The competition will really inspire other people to start and step up. Hopefully.
The winner of 2014 is Pygmalios Analytics. Tool for analyzing spatial data with plenty of other possibilities. They developed their own “indoor navigation” as a by-product.
I also like Ladybag, heated and elegant women handbags which become Popular idea of the year (voted by the public).
There were more interesting ideas including material engineering (carbon inserts), logistics or hi-tech sports (OxyPole). You can check them here.
Or you can watch TV summary at TV3:
There is always something that can be improved, but overall, Podnikatelsky napad roka 2014 was great. Hopefully other competitions in Slovakia and neighbouring countries will get inspired by the good parts and make own competitions even better, inspire more people, bring more and more (not only) hi-tech projects alive.
The thing I hope for is that it will not end up with the competitions. I hope that organizers of such events or their partners will continue to work with promising teams so many of them will really become successful. That will make the whole Central European region stronger.