As a part of the “SWITCH START UP 2.0” (SWUP 2.0) project implementation, the Entrepreneurial Center of Krapina-Zagorje County Ltd. have, together with its partners: Zagorje Development Agency, Styria Technology Park from Maribor and the cluster organization Human.Technology Styria from Graz, organized the departure of Croatian and Slovene startups to business meetings (B2B) within a one-day conference Health Tech Hub Styria (HTH) Pitch & Partner 2023 in Graz on 30th March 2023.
This project is a continuation of last year’s SWITCH START UP project, the implementation of which enabled various startups from Croatia and Slovenia, through 2 organized meetings in Maribor and Krapina, to meet and network. Through these meetings, they had the opportunity to exchange experiences, introduce themselves, agree on possible collaborations and expand their networks, with the ultimate goal of potentially entering the international market.
This year, the SWITCH START UP 2.0 project offered an additional perspective, enabling Croatian and Slovene startups to connect with the Austrian market, but also with many other international markets, since the conference itself was attended by hundreds of participants from 35 different countries. In addition to the benefits for startups, the project also resulted in added value for the project partners, since the Entrepreneurial Center of the Krapina-Zagorje County and the Styria Technology Park from Maribor, as Business Support Organizations, strongly connected with the Austrian cluster organization Human.Technology Styria, opening an additional opportunity for further project cooperation and exchange of good practices.
Three Croatian startups that participated in the B2B meetings and conference through the SWUP 2.0 project are CodX Solutions d.o.o., Ultrax Technologies d.o.o. and dAIgnostics j.d.o.o. Three Slovenian startups, organized by the Styria Technology Park from Maribor are Bee Smart d.o.o., OIM Orthopedic Engineering and Inslab d.o.o.
At the international conference, the participants could hear more about the various possibilities of cooperation with numerous foreign startups, companies, institutes and research centers, about the challenges that young entrepreneurs and scientists are facing at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, but also about the opportunities for financing their innovative ideas. Likewise, two central lectures were held at the conference on the subjects of the Health Tech market and the activities of the European Innovation Council in that sector, as well as presentations of project ideas to investors (Investor Pitching Sessions), with awards for the best presentations.
During participation in organized B2B meetings, more than 10 meetings were held with potential cooperation partners. B2B meetings were organized as a focused dialogue and consisted of short, structured exchanges of information between participants, with the aim of creating new opportunities for mutual business growth. The participants were entrepreneurs and startups of various types of businesses and stage of development, but the primary emphasis was on the Health Tech sector, i.e. on activities based on medical technologies and diagnostics, biomedicine and engineering, sports medicine and a wide range of scientific research in the field of medicine, as a result of which many points of contact were defined.
By organizing such projects for Croatian startups, Entrepreneurial Center of Krapina-Zagorje County provides direct business development support to entrepreneurs and encourages cooperation with international partners, as well as the exchange of experiences and the transfer of knowledge, which contributes to the future creation of innovative products and service.
The director of the Entrepreneurial Center of Krapina-Zagorje County, Helena Matuša, also participated in the conference, noting that, in addition to valuable connections and experience for Croatian startups, this project is also of great importance for the Entrepreneurial Center itself, since its implementation marked the first step in the establishment of a new partnership with one of the strongest cluster organizations of the health industry in this part of Europe: Human.Technology Styria. Director of the cluster organization, mag. Lejla Pock, in addition to being an excellent host to our delegation at the HTH Styria Conference, was also one of the 7 main founders of the mentioned initiative, which in the past 4 years gathered more than 1,600 participants from over 50 countries around the world.
The “SWITCH START UP 2.0” project is implemented by the Entrepreneurial Center of the Krapina-Zagorje County, with partners: Zagorje Development Agency, Styria Technology Park from Maribor and the cluster organization Human.Technology Styria from Graz, and is co-financed by the Alps-Adriatic Alliance.