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The V4 Startup Force Programme is here for startups from the V4 region to help them speed up their business and build cross-border relationships within the V4 territory. It is a hybrid (online and offline) acceleration program, during which startups meet interesting mentors and experience amazing workshops.
The final part of the program focuses on business matchmaking, connecting relevant SMEs and corporates with startups that can support their expansion. Investors are invited to observe the pitching sessions where they can provide relevant feedback and help each startup with its pitching presentation.
Last but not least, the startups meet many inspiring people in person and networking is one of the most important parts of the program. We are happy to have stronger candidates every year and to help create amazing connections between startups and industries within each V4 country.
We asked WisePorter, the successful finalist at V4 Startup Force Programme and winner of the autumn edition 2022, to find out her experiences with the program full of workshops, business meetings, and tailor-made mentoring as well as team building activities and social events during the final 7 days they spent in Budapest. We talked with Lenka Michalská, Co-founder of the WisePorter.
Why did you apply to the V4 Startup Force program and what were your expectations?
We were in the moment of a well-established position in the Czech market, with the ambition to go abroad. I was actively looking for effective ways to start in new European markets, and business networking and connecting to relevant local business partners was exactly the offering of V4 Startup Force.
So, there was a great fit between our company phase and priorities with a focus on the program. I hoped to save a lot of time and blind alleys when investigating V4 markets through the helpful network of people with this local knowledge and contacts.
You have been through several training sessions and workshops during the program. You met other startups, you could be an inspiration to each other, an example of good and bad practice. What did it bring you? How did it move you forward?
There was a great fit between the level of workshops and our current experience. Most of it was advanced, with no basic intro for beginners, but advanced best practices for those who already gained some experience and lessons from the daily business. I enjoyed networking with co-attendees, and with some of them, we agreed to introduce each other to our business networks.
Through the discussions and mastermind groups, I gained a better understanding of local specifics in individual V4 countries. And last but not least, it was a fun and lovely step out of our daily routine.
Today, the market is overwhelmed with various accelerator programs, what do you see as the biggest benefit of the V4 Startup Force program? What do you see as the added value and advantage over other similar programs?
As mentioned above, the level of advancement exactly fits the stage of the seed business. Second, this program focuses not as much on mentoring the startups, but on connecting them with business opportunities and partners. Again priority no. 1 for the seed stage. Third, the international group was colorful and inspiring.
Imagine someone shares an offer to join the V4 Startup Force program and you are hesitant. What would you say to undecided people in this position? Why is it worth their time and energy?
If you are in a seed phase, you probably spend hours every day trying to get visibility and contacts via cold calls, cold emails, and content marketing. With lots of rejections and a low level of success compared to the amount of time you need to invest. V4 Startup Force can significantly save you time at least for V4 countries. And based on the gained experience, you can be much more effective in the rest of Europe as well. Definitely well-invested time with exactly the type of results you need in the seed phase.
OpenWise as a company was founded in 2015. In the beginning, there were only three people who wanted to create something they could be proud of.
The core of what OpenWise does is Java development, both product, and custom. They create products of two kinds:
● opensource (the “open” series) – we contribute to the world of free software through the OpenHub integration platform;
● commercial (the “wise” series) – flagship is the WisePorter, the smart product catalog.
The most useful and highly beneficial of the V4 Startup Force Programme are speed mentoring and investor speed dating. The next semester will be launched in spring 2023. Registration for the V4 Startup Force Program starts in February. Follow us and get updates! The V4 Startup Force Programme is in charge of Adam Červenka, Project Manager at DEX Innovation Centre, which executes the program in the Czech Republic. "I am very proud that we selected amazing startups from the Czech territory. Many of them earned great experience, leads, and connections.
Their participation during the 3-day long online Bootcamp gave them new insights, and I believe the program was fruitful for all of them," says Adam.
The V4 Startup Force Programme aims at keeping the value-added activities in the region, expanding and strengthening the business activities among the V4 countries, as well as playing a role in retaining and attracting young talents to the area now and in the future. In the long term, this Program can contribute to the increase of business activity and economic development of the region. The main sponsor of the Program is the Visegrad Fund.