Innovation is one of the most important drivers of economic growth. Through the successes of ambitious, brave, smart and capable individuals from various sectors, Croatia occasionally finds itself alongside much more developed countries and is put on the innovation and business success map. There is no doubt that we are a country with respectable human potential, but what is currently lacking is a quality and efficient (eco)system that connects the scientific community, industry and startups, and provides comprehensive support to individuals throughout the commercialisation process – from the idea, over research, development and innovation, to the placement of products/services on the market and expansion into new markets.
For this reason, InfoDom d.o.o. decided to support the Innovation Center Nikola Tesla in the project of developing this ecosystem that will connect the innovative scientific community, successful companies and agile startups through various initiatives and activities. The idea of this project is to adopt good practices from similar programs at leading European universities such as the University of Oxford and ETH Zurich and various Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) such as Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, to develop fruitful conditions for commercialising R&D results and intensive cross-sectoral cooperation within the newly built ecosystem.
Several activities have already been launched, such as support for the student program Imagine, Create, Innovate (ICI) in cooperation with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, creation of a startup dictionary with explanations for some of the most common startup terms, and organization of the first Startup Bootcamp – startup education for researchers and scientists. In the coming period, the plan is to launch several different activities and initiatives, in cooperation with the academic community, which will focus on improving the conditions and facilitating the process of research commercialisation, increasing the interest of the research community to found and develop startups, enhancing cooperation between the scientific community, industry and startups through the work on joint projects and development of a system of continuous support to all stakeholders of the ecosystem. All these activities will fall into one of three categories: education and support, networking and cooperation, and access to finance.
The goal is to develop a comprehensive program for research commercialisation in cooperation with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, which will enable scientists and researchers to form interdisciplinary teams and lay good project foundations by engaging in activities such as Startup Bootcamp and Imagine, Create, Innovate, then through the startup incubator SPOCK develop the necessary knowledge and skills and validate the idea and its business potential, and finally through the announced new initiatives get support in finding the right funding opportunities and placing products/services on the market.