1,500 people, limitless energy and brave new startupsBY the_author();?> ON October 11
On 28 September, Startit held one of the biggest IT events in the country – the finale of the We Know We Can campaign. One of the largest venues in Belgrade was crowded with over 1,500 eager tech community members and top entrepreneurs in the country, including Novak and Jelena Đoković, CEO of the Novak Đoković Foundation, Dragana Đermanović, entrepreneur and internet strategist and lecturer, Branko Milutinović, Nordeus CEO and Slavko Fodor, ex-Facebook and managing director of LotusFlare, among others.
The event marked the finish of the We Know We Can campaign aiming to encourage entrepreneurship and inspire innovation in Serbia, which has previously been named the top national idea in the area of entrepreneurship promotion by the EC, and recently shortlisted for the EEPA 2016 award.
This year, Startit organized two separate events under the same motto – one aimed at the promotion of children education, and the other at empowering the IT community, bringing together nearly two thousand people.
The central event gave a recapitulation of the tech community activities and results over the last year – EUR 50 mln worth of investment won by Serbian startups, 211 knowledge boosting and sharing events held in the Center in the course of 319 gatherings, 36 organizations are now fully operating – then moved on to discuss the importance of technology, present new startups, hear from entrepreneurship heroes and announce brand new activities in the year ahead.
This time, with our partners from the Original magazine and Novak Djokovic Foundation, we extended the reach of our message and enthusiasm – from the 700 people who attended the event last year, we have more than doubled our ranks this time around.
Storytime: WKWC event for children
Before the central event, for a couple of hours, Startit Center became home to two hundred children who came to the We Know We Can event for kids. The event was a huge success as children were excited to hear from developers about their jobs and to listen to inspirational stories by Milica Ostojić, a software developer and an aspiring AI specialist, Nikola Ristić, a 17-year-old front-end developer working as a member of the Cactomain team, Ranko Trifković, a game designer and specialist in children education, and Taïg Khris, an entrepreneur and extreme sports lover, who set a world record in 2011 for the highest inline skate jump by jumping off the Eiffel tower.
The Center also hosted a video games fair – our little guests could see and try out games created by their peers who attended the Mini Games in Scratch courses organized by Startit this summer.
Showtime: five new centers
The big news is that by the end of the year Serbia will get five new Startit Centers – in Vršac, Majdanpek, Valjevo, Zrenjanin and Novi Sad. During the event, Vukašin, one of our co-founders, announced some more gripping news – the next year will be the Year for Children Programming Courses, as Startit opens its doors to hundreds of children around Serbia to help them take the first step in game programming.
We have also presented two new projects: Move to Belgrade, where Startit will join forces with Share, Nova Iskra, KC Grad and 2044, to help non-residents move to and find a job in Serbia. We hope that startup and tech community and the society at large will benefit from cultural diversity.
The second project – to be launched in October this year – aims to introduce the scientific community to the idea of startups and to encourage scientists to invest their knowledge in innovation so that their skills are offered to the entire world.
Some good news for the people who will attend our Startup Academy this year – Telekom Srbija will provide $20,000 for 0% ownership to promising startups.
The audience had the chance to listen to Gaga Đermanović, Slavko Fodor, Jelena Đoković and Branko Milutinović talk about ups and downs in their professional and private life, but also about the importance of striving to change the community for the better.
Brave new startups
Teams working within Startit Center and ICT Hub also took the stage, presenting their up-and-coming ventures:
Sport fund — startup building a crowdfunding platform to support sports projects;
One Assessment — crew that will help you hire the right person for your team;
Karate Do — the best karate game so far, and we take their word for it :)
Rising Ace — inspired by Nordeus, this team is working on creating a game that will be for tennis what Top Eleven is for football;
Hiit Test — two scientists creating a biotech startup that focuses on importance of bacteria in human body for the future of healthcare protection;
DeepNetts — AI startup developing image recognition in Java.
An ever stronger community
As IT is among top sectors in the country, we at Startit are tremendously proud of all our partners and friends from the tech community who have worked towards the mutual goal – motivating and bringing together the right mindset, tools and knowledge – all this to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in the country. The support we received from all our guests at the WKWC event shows that our community stays united and is a reason more to keep pursuing the goals in the next year.
— Branko Milutinović (@BrankoMM) September 29, 2016
Small places, great people! #WeKnowWeCan Mala mesta, veliki ljudi! Bravo @startitrs #znamdamozemo #serbia A photo posted by Miloš Milisavljević (@trilys) on