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Startup events and opportunities in SEE to have on your radar this fall

Photo taken at a hackathon, Unsplash
Image credit: Photo taken at a hackathon, Alex Kotliarskyi, Unsplash

This fall brings fresh opportunities for startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs to test their ideas within expert communities, gather the resources necessary to ramp up their businesses, and make lasting connections in the startup ecosystem. It also encourages a bit of competition to shake things up and bring forward the leaders of tomorrow. The Recursive mapped the key startup events and competitions that you need to have on your radar in the following months.

Forums, conferences, and community events

1. Infobip Shift Conference

[What] Get ready to learn from some recognizable names in the developer industry. Infobit Shift aims to bring together 50+ speakers, 3K+ attendees, and 10K_ virtual attendees in the event that will mark its 10th anniversary.

[Who] Infobip Shift 

[Where] The Kresimir Cosic Hall, Zadar, Croatia

[When] September 7-8, 2021

2. Tuk-Tam Hive 2021

[What] Tuk-Tam is organising a multidisciplinary event aimed at mixing and connecting young people with the most successful entrepreneurs and business professionals in Bulgaria. It expects 100 companies, 40+ speakers and 4000+ participants. More on the event here.

[Who] Tuk-Tam

[Where] Inter Expo Center, Sofia, Bulgaria and online

[When] September 9, 2021

3. Climate Innovation Day

[What] This eco-innovation event will bring together key stakeholders from the public, private, and academic sectors who support solutions addressing climate change and other sustainability challenges. Discussions will include opportunities to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon and climate-resilient society, EU-level directions, and innovative local solutions.

[Who] EIT Climate-KIC Hub Romania through Impact Hub Bucharest

[Where] Online, organized from Bucharest Romania

[When] September 9, 2021

4. Robotics Strategy Forum 2021

[What] 2021 sees an accelerated introduction of robotics and automation.The third edition of the Robotics Strategy Forum, to be soon announced, will focus on the latest in robot sales growth, industrial automation projects, global chip shortages, and the new Battery Alliance. 

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[Who] The Professional Association of Robotics and Automation (PARA)

[Where] Sofia Tech Park, Sofia, Bulgaria

[When] September 29, 2021

GoTech 2019, company Facebook page
GoTech 2019, company Facebook page

5. GoTech World 2021

[What] Having reached its 10th edition, GoTech World wants to organize one of the largest IT & Digital B2B events in Central and Eastern Europe. Tech experts across the world will gather on eight virtual stages, including IT operations, digital marketing, cybersecurity, and business transformation. The event will have 130+ exhibitors and135+ digital headliners.

[Who] GoTech World

[Where] Online; Organized from Bucharest, Romania

[When] November 10-11, 2021

Startup competitions and other investment opportunities

1.UiPath Automation Awards 2021

[What] The third edition of the UiPath Automation Awards 2021 is open for any startup or early-stage automation company in the CEE region. In the startup track, benefits include mentoring, tech and marketing support, AWS credits and a 50K cash prize. Find out more here.

[Who] UiPath

[Where] Pitch contest for finalists and grand prize awards ceremony will be held online, at the Wolves Summit, and in Wroclaw, Poland

[When] Applications open by September 3, 2021

2. StepFWD 2021 Cohort

[What] This StepFWD pre-acceleration program wants to help you get your business idea or prototype off the ground and turn it into a viable business. Over 8 weeks, participants can connect with experienced entrepreneurs and investors, participate in hands-on workshops and mentoring sessions, validate their business ideas in test environments, and improve their pitching.

[Who] StepFWD

[Where] TechHub, Bucharest, Romania

[When] Applications open by September 5, 2021

3. ClimAccelerator Black Sea

[What] ClimAccelerator Black Sea is a program for startups from Romania and Bulgaria with innovative solutions that contribute to tackling sustainability challenges. There are three tracks available: early stage, MVP, and growth, each aimed to support startups at the respective point in their journey. Startups can also benefit from the 300K grant pool. Read more about the program here.

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[Who] Innovation Starter Accelerator, Impact Hub Bucharest, and Climate Vertical Romania 

[Where] Bucharest, Romania

[When] Applications open by September 15, 2021

4. How to Web Spotlight 2021

Awards at How to Web's Startup Spotlight 2018, company Facebook page
Awards at How to Web’s Startup Spotlight 2018, company Facebook page

[What] How to Web organizes an annual early-stage startup program for East European founders. Spotlight 2021 will select 40 teams for a chance to connect with over 100 experts and investors, as well as win a ~€200K investment prize. Read our highlights here.

[Who] How to Web

[Where] Online, organized from Bucharest, Romania

[When] Applications open by September 19, 2021

5. Open Banking Hackathon

[What] This fall brings the third edition of the Open Banking Hackathon. The event addresses teams from 10 European countries with fintech solutions that can transform the traditional financial industry. Over a period of five days, participants will build ready use-case implementations on Finqware’s multi banking API testing platform for individual, business, and IoT applications. Prizes include €5000 and invitations to future business programs.

[Who] Finqware

[Where] Online

[When] Applications open by September 19, 2021

6. Katalizator

[What] Katalizator is a program open to Western Balkan startups that want to take their innovative ideas to the MVP stage. It has a solid training and mentoring component, including sessions on lean startup methodology, business model development and pitch preparation. On the demo day, startups have the occasion to present their ideas to regional investors. We wrote about the program here.

[Who] START Centre and VIRTUO

[Where] Online, organized from Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

[When] Applications open by September 20, 2021

7. Commons Accel 5th cohort

Commons Accel 4th cohort, Facebook page
Commons Accel 4th cohort, Facebook page

[What] Commons Accel, the independent and equity-free accelerator has reached its 5th cohort. Startups in areas such as education and innovation, sustainable cities and infrastructure, fintech, smart retail or food and drinks are connected to top mentors and industry experts, as well as to financing opportunities from investment funds and corporations.

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[Who] Matei Dumitrescu, Senior Partner at ROCA X and Vice President of TechAngels Romania

[Where] Bucharest, Romania

[When] Applications open by October 1, 2021

8. Orange 5G lab

[What] As the name recommends, the 5G lab wants to support stakeholders in exploiting 5G technology and communications networks to build innovative products and experiences for users. Startups can apply to this program to get free access in the Orange 5G Lab and test their prototypes with support from experts and the latest 5G infrastructure.

[Who] Matei Dumitrescu

[Where] Bucharest, Romania

[When] Applications open by October 10, 2021

9. Redbull Basement

[What] “It’s this way because it’s always been this way” is not the only way anymore. Students with bold new tech solutions who want to make a meaningful impact can apply in the Redbull Basement global program. Teams can apply with a 60-second video in which they explain the business idea. The program then offers teams various mentorship resources in preparation for the global final.

[Who] Redbull

[Where] Online and in Istanbul, Turkey, for the global final

[When] Applications open by October 24, 2021

10. myEUspace

[What]  This space tech competition aims to support innovators wanting to develop or commercialize solutions that leverage EU space data and services. Entrepreneurs can focus on one of six thematic areas, including smart mobility, the management of agriculture production, sustainable production and consumption, or geomatics innovation. Learn more about the program.

[Who] The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA)

[Where] Online

[When] Applications open by November 15, 2021


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Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.