Twelve start-up companies participated in the recent StartUp Harvest conference, which was held in renovated spaces in the Lower Vítkovice Area in Ostrava on 18-19 September 2014. The firms presented their projects to a jury composed of Czech and foreign investors. MouthMouse, a compensatory aid for the physically disabled, was named the winner of the event, which was organised by the Regional Development Agency under the auspices of the Moravia-Silesia Region. Miroslav Novák, governor of Moravia-Silesia, presented a prize in the amount of CZK 100,000 to the winner. CzechInvest was a partner of the event.
“The winning project had previously participated in the CzechAccelerator project, which sends promising innovative technology firms abroad in order to gain experience. We believe that success in this competition will further motivate the firm to develop its business. It’s great that Czech entrepreneurs are able to combine business with the development of a necessary medical aid,” says Ondřej Votruba, acting CEO of CzechInvest.
“Thanks to cooperation with CzechInvest and CzechAccelerator, we were able to bring foreign investors to StartUp Harvest, which gave the event an international character,” says Petra Chovanioková, director of the Regional Development Agency.
“It is a great honour for me that our product has been awarded, as it is very difficult to penetrate our market in the field of healthcare. The valuable prize will help us to develop the product and undertake the next steps in the process of obtaining intellectual-property rights and providing real assistance to people who find themselves in a difficult life situation,” says winner Petr Uličný.
Members of the jury included Alfredo Coppola of the American business incubator US MAC; Christa Bleyleben of the Boston-based consultancy MassGlobal Partners; Marta Nováková, cofounder of the company U & SLUNO and owner of other IT firms, who is also president of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism; Daniel Lefenda of Moravian seed, who has twenty years’ experience running his own business in the IT field; Čestmír Gříbek, chairman of the board of directors of Gansa a.s. and chairman of the supervisory board of ELVAC a.s.; and Robert Tůma, partner in HUB Ventures, which will soon open its Impact HUB branch in Ostrava.
“All of the presented projects were high-quality and solve real problems. Nevertheless, they should focus more on the business plan, customers, monetisation, knowledge of the competition and return on investment, which are the things that most interest investors,” says Christa Bleyleben. “A good presentation, marketing and a high-quality team are of course the foundation of every good project, but the successful ones are judged according to their focus on customers’ real problems.”
“I was very surprised by the professionalism of the whole event and the quality of the projects in light of the fact that this was the first edition of the event,” says Alfredo Coppola. “I see great potential in the local firms, so we are considering opening a branch of our business incubator in Central and Eastern Europe.”
A list of the other projects that competed in the competition is available on the event’s website here.
For more information please contact the CzechInvest Press Centre
Petra Menclová, spokesperson, phone: +420 296 342 832, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact to the Regional Development Agency:
tel.: +420 595 691 211, e-mail: email@example.com, www.arr.cz
Contact to MouthMouse:
Petr Peroutka, tel.: +420 776 260 803, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mouthmouse.eu