#SarajevoFTW draws global attention to the local startup ecosystem
The second event in the For the Win series of initiatives for investors and entrepreneurs, #SarajevoFTW, took place in Sarajevo on May 17 and 18 with the help of Teres Capital, StartupBootcamp, TechCrunch, University of Huddersfield, Netokracija, and the Embassy of Sweden to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Local co-organizer in Sarajevo was HUB387, and the event was held at one of the halls of the co-working space.
Like the first FTW event in Tbilisi, held in April 2014, #SarajevoFTW had the following goals: providing access to best practices for early-stage entrepreneurs, assisting local private and angel investors to professionalize and grow their syndication (investment networks), and building capacity of entrepreneurship community organizers and innovation centers to improve their services, outreach, and effectiveness.
The content of the event was rich in experienced startup operators and leading industry players, who delivered engaging presentations and panel discussions. Day 1 saw the Startup Bootcamp pitching competition. Тhe winners, Light Docs, who presented an online solution to expensive legal documentation for SMEs, as well as runners-up from YuTransfer and Live Good were rewarded with tickets to one of the most popular startup events, organized by Tech Crunch in October 2014 – Disrupt Europe 2014. The second day included an active discussion between guest and local community activists, and investors from the audience were also invited to share their models of work and success stories
Among the more than 150 participants were entrepreneurs, representatives of business support organizations/NGOs, startups, private companies, donor support organizations/projects and investment funds from the region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia), and beyond.
Networking was the biggest value added activity at the event. Local participants had the opportunity to exchange experiences, pitch their ideas, and receive valuable advice from some of the leading global startup operators from London, Berlin, and San Francisco. As a result, the ecosystem in Sarajevo has been initiated, interest in the region has sprouted actively and various follow-ups are taking place among wider audience of the event. Local organizations HUB387 and Bizoo, the focal points of entrepreneurship and startup development in Sarajevo, have approached some of the speakers for follow-up activities in improving and expanding their outreach programs