Startit is a grassroots non-governmental organization based in Belgrade, Serbia. We’ve spent the past five years successfully building our country’s startup community. Startit Center is the next step towards turning our post-socialist society into the place where our people fuel their prosperity by building technology-driven businesses.
Through our Startup Academy and voluntary mentorship we’ve increased the number of tech startups sevenfold. If we told you they accumulatively raised more than $2 million you may shrug it off as a sum a promising startup in the Valley raises in its first round. But consider this – $2 million is 70% of all investment rounds raised in Serbia.
In our circumstances, where the word ‘startup’ didn’t even exist several years ago, this is huge!
In five years, we’ve organized more than 200 events and projects, helping more than 12,000 people develop skills and knowledge about entrepreneurship, programming, blogging, building websites and apps and creating solutions for their IT businesses. Our blog covers entrepreneurial know-how, tech trends and job postings, and through it we reach 40,000 people each month (in comparison to population ratio, this would make 3 million in the US).
We know we can - our previous campaign to motivate young people to create businesses in Serbia.
Why is Startit Center important for the community?
At the core of our efforts is an ambitious vision - to turn problems into opportunities and change our society for the better bypassing the burden of ineffective government.
And we want to share it with the world.
With 15% of our youth leaving Serbia each year, our population suffers the highest rates of brain drain in Europe and the second highest in the world, searching for better educational and employment opportunities. This means that people in a resourceful country with a long history, suffer from bad decisions made by its government.
The only way to keep these bright, ambitious and talented people in the country is by offering them opportunities to create a better life for themselves.
We found the solution to be in entrepreneurship and innovation.
By 2020 we want to provide free education for 100,000 people. We will create an army of people ready to create and take on the jobs of the future, by offering up-to-date business and tech educational content, mentoring for young professionals, tech courses from the earliest age, and a large network under the promise of paying it forward. Serbia is lucky as it already has a big number of world-class engineers, and a legacy of innovation through significant figures - one of them being Nikola Tesla.
Startit Center will be the place where this revolution will be set in motion. With rooms that can hold up to 200 people in three workshops at the same time, a library with 10,000 free books, a co-working area with 40 spots, and a makerspace - Startit Center will be at the service of anyone willing to learn and create.
Why are we looking up to you?
We want you to join our quest for a better future fueled by tech entrepreneurship. This is not just about our community, Serbia or our youth - this is about the world. Our model has proven effective so far - with Startit Center being a pilot project of greater scope, we are looking into proving the concept that could serve communities worldwide.
The Center based in Belgrade is only a beginning - we plan to start 12 community centers modeled after the first one, and this way provide high quality free educational content even you the population out of the capital and other major cities.
Where will the money go?
With the help of our sponsors and supporters, we've already got a bunch done. However, in order to complete the lower levels of the building and turn them into a fully functional makerspace - we need your help.
In case the campaign doesn’t reach the goal, we don’t get a penny. If it does we'll be able to equip the part of the building we haven't started renovating and turn it into a space for creatives, DIY whiz's and cyborgs.
We’ve raised about $70,000 from partners enabling our architects and construction workers to do their best to set everything up for the opening of the space in November.
With the money we raise through Kickstarter we will:
1. Finish the basement of the Belgrade Startit Center and make it into classrooms and maker space
2. Open 3 additional Startit Centers in smaller cities in Serbia
3. Create an online learning platform in Serbian where those who want to get into technologie can make their first steps for free. The offline lectures and mentoring will support this platform and will take place in Startit Centers accross Serbia
We believe in the power of Kickstarter to support best ideas and teams. This is why we’re looking up to you - let’s help new generations move the needle in their favor.
Who’s already supporting us?
Among our friends and supporters are some of the most successful Serbian and global companies in a wide range of industries: communications, gaming, biotechnology, finance, design, being some of them. Many thanks to them wholeheartedly for recognizing our vision as the way forward.
Our project has also been recognized by Niko Klansek, an entrepreneur and Kickstarter guru, who's selflessly offered his knowledge and experience in the process of getting the campaign together. Thanks, Niko!
What have our friends prepared for you?
Best Serbian Software helps you manage your work
ActiveCollab has 8 years of experience in developing project management software. Active Collab began as a successful open-source project, but later they made it commercial and learned a thing or two about running a business. All they care about today is developing exceptional software that helps teams stay on track with their work and manage it effectively
Rendered Text began in 2009 when Marko Anastasov and Darko Fabijan, two friends from university, set up the company while working at the same time on their social web startup and for clients. From the beginning they were passionate about both making software and the effects great web applications have on people.
RT’s product Semaphore lets you quickly set up a fast continuous delivery process for any web project. Test every change you make and easily deploy new versions to delight of your users. Integrate with other services and keep your team in the loop. Originally designed for their own team, it is now used and praised by hundreds of companies worldwide.
Devana is a company located in Belgrade working on new Internet technologies, mobile and web applications. Their most notable product, which you too will have a chance to use, is ManageWP.
ManageWP is the world's first and finest WordPress management console, designed for WordPress users by WordPress users, giving you the full power and complete control in managing virtually any number of WordPress sites including powerful management, monitoring, backup, deployment, publishing and security tools.
WorkPuls is an automatic time tracking software which gives insight how employees spend working hours on computers. WorkPuls will help you better organise working hours as well as show you for which applications your employees require additional training. If you are using a lot of software and spending too much on licences, WorkPuls can show you which you really need. Easy to install and maintain. Free online support included. .
Best Serbian designers create for you
Nina Radenkovic is the Art Director at Appricot. Headquartered in Belgrade, Serbia, Appricot team believes in creating beautiful tools that resolve real problems. Their culture is all about bringing out the best in each and every one of us through the human-centered design process to deliver products they believe in.
Stefan Stanojevic is a designer at Superawesome design studio based in Novi Sad, Serbia. He's a free-time graffiti artist, ex clarinetist, and a clubber. In his own words, he ‘always tries to shape a particular idea, and not force any particular style onto it’. He loves to see a clear, raw, functional idea in the foreground, as well as a nice, non–commercial artistic creation in all its glory’.
Best Serbian Gaming Companies let you choose a game
Mad Head Games is an award-winning, growing development studio from Serbia. Founded in July 2011 by a group of experienced developers and friends, passionate for making games, united around a singular vision of making immersible, atmospheric and fun titles, with attention to detail, unique style and - most importantly - heart... And a bit of insanity too (hey, it's not Calm Head Games!).
Today, Mad Head Games is creating hit casual games and establishing game franchises by bringing their love for good art and intriguing game-play into record-breaking hidden object adventure games, published around the world by Big Fish Games. Bigger, bolder and much more experienced, the "Madheads" remain one thing: a group of friends.
Nordeus is the award-winning European games and technology company and publisher of Top Eleven, the most popular social sports video game in the world.
At Nordeus, the goal is to provide a seamless gaming experience to millions of people, regardless of the devices they are using. That’s why they create and publish high quality free-to-play games that combine high-end technology innovations with polished and balanced gameplay.
Every day, the team of more than 160 people in Dublin, San Francisco, London, Belgrade and Skopje puts all of their talent into making 5 star next generation games using their own proprietary technologies that will redefine the industry.
Risks and challenges
Construction is known to be the type of project susceptible to delays, oftentimes unpredictable ahead of time. Creating Startit Center involves tearing down old walls, installing water and heating systems, brand-new rooms, a kitchen, restroom and additional outlets.
We’ve already completed a majority of what we could call ‘rough work’ in the space, lowering the chances of future delays. With a project of this size, it’s particularly challenging to see all possible obstacles and de-risk them.
However, in the last several years, our team has a track record of several dozens of successful projects - speaking in favor of our high levels of capability to make things happen. One of the projects is Potkrovlje Hub, a small co-working space for startups and freelancers. Even though much smaller in scope, the Hub demonstrates that our team has the necessary experience and knowledge to lead this type of project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)