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iCBA Project - Newsletter #1

iCBA Project - Newsletter #1
Added on 30/11/2020

Very delighted to announce the first newsletter of iCBA progect. 

The iCBA project intends to provide some contribution to improvements on that field by setting up an intelligent Cross-Border Accelerator for ICT-enabled start-ups. Potential scientists and entrepreneurs involved in the accelerator process will go through a stage-gate process of training and mentoring, starting with general ICT-enabled business development trainings, continuing with dedicated webinars conducted by some of the area’s top experts. The process will result in 15-20 investment-ready ideas with high potential, which will be presented to a number of investors, and can lead to new start-ups and new jobs. You can learn more about iCBA project here


The iCBA project

An Intelligent Cross Border Accelerator

Issue #1 - November 2020

Welcome to the iCBA Newsletter!

Where iCBA came from?

  • The cross-border area has a significant knowledge capital but limited capability to attract investments because of difficulty to approach and tempt investors by providing them with the required information about their potential product. 
  • Both countries have technological readiness and significant activities in ICT-related technologies, and several ICT industry hot-spots in their territory,
  • However, both countries provide very limited access to finance for start-ups and have relatively weak linkages between academia/research and enterprises

The scope of iCBA

  • The scope of the project is to establish a start-up accelerator in the Cross Border area. 
  • iCBA accelerator intends to make use of the joint experience of the beneficiaries and experts from both countries, in order to provide the highly competent human capital of the area with entrepreneurial training and mentoring, and investment opportunities to create their own start-up companies immediately after the end of the project.
  • The project partners expect to join efforts with the local stakeholders. 

Project partners

  • Alexander Innovation Zone (Thessaloniki, Greece) (Lead Beneficiary)
  • South East Europe Research Centre (SEERC) (Thessaloniki, Greece)
  • Technopolis of Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki, Greece)
  • University of Information Science and Technology “St. Paul the Apostle” (Ohrid, Republic of North Macedonia) 
  • Association National Centre for Development of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Learning Skopje (NCDIEL) (Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia)
  • Youth Entrepreneurial Service Foundation (YES) (Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia)

Project outputs

  • Promotion material including a public trilingual web guide: "How to create a venture “.
  • A set of 11 specialised training courses (available on the after the project) covering issues from business concept development to attraction of investors including webinars recorded for future reference.
  • Training to 180 people in the 7 largest cross border cities about business canvas development as well as financial and market aspects for business development.
  • 50 developed and processed business concepts for start-ups in the Cross-Border Area.
  • 30 analytical investment plans created in collaboration between new business idea owners and mature start-ups or high-level experts
  • 15 pitches presented in a brokerage event with the participation of VCs and investors.
The benefit for participants
  • We want to stimulate creation of self-employment for the start-up themselves, along with opportunities for potential employees as the companies expand and grow. 
  • The rest of the participants in the accelerator, even if they do not reach the mentoring stage, will still benefit from expert laboratories and webinars, which can allow them to start their own businesses or find employment in existing businesses more easily.

1st STEP: 1st series of training

- Organised in 7 cities ((Florina, Edessa, Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Bitola, Ohridand Prilep)

- What makes a good entrepreneurial idea.

- How to formulate the idea into the building blocks of the business canvas

- How to transform a good idea into a business model

- Evaluation of technology and business model testing 

- By the end of the training day, trainees will be asked to organize business teams and prepare a business canvas for their business idea.

- The aim is to collect serious-ambitious teams ready to work on their business ideas.

2nd series of one-day trainings

- Organised in the same cities a few weeks after the 1st stage of training

- Training is targeted to the selected working teams from the 1st trainings workshops. 

- IPR protection of new start-up ideas (challenges and opportunities)

- Entrepreneurial strategy of Start-ups 

- Market identification for Start-ups 

- Funding and finance attracting and new ideas investment readiness

- Marketing of a new technology and new methods of marketing

It will include: 

(a) Q/A session on issues raised by the teams

(b) training sessions for the financial and market aspects regarding creation of a company

2nd STEP: Personalised mentoring for selected ideas

The list and the ideas of the selected teams will be announced to an open Call in which the project asks mature startups or companies to hire new idea owners for 2-3 months. The deliverable of that short work contract will be a 2nd version of the business plan and a new presentation of the idea. 

Trainees will be hosted by mentor companies in short-term working contracts or will be trained by project’s internal mentors. The aim of this stage is to provide the young entrepreneurs with numerous benefits for building up their businesses and also to open networking corridors between them and established and mature companies in the wider area. Using this mentoring approach there is an added impact not only for the trainees as individuals but also for the local and cross border entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

In cases not attracting sufficient or any interest of mature start-ups, partners (or external experts) will mentor the trainees in order to develop a venture and finally create a company composed of team members.

3rd STEP: Cross border specialized boot camps

This activity includes the 2nd stage of the training process where trainers will take part in 2-days training-mentoring events. This phase includes an extended 2days- training course where the beneficiaries will receive training about how to transform their business plans into investment plans and how to prepare a successful pitch. 

Participants will be helped transforming their business plan into an investment plan and a pitch. 

  • Groups work for the development of their pitches
  • Pitch presentation (on second day)
  • 15-20 pitches will be selected for the brokerage event

LAST STEP: Brokerage event

  • Organization of a pitching event similar to speed dating in terms of the concept. 
  • In that event, the trainees will have the great opportunity to present their business ideas to a panel of highly regarded VC’s. 
  • Participating in this pitch competition trainees will gain various benefits including confidence, networking, exposure, feedback, and in finally funding. 
  • The brokerage event will be binational and open to the wider audience.
Our greatest expectation
  • We would like local stakeholders (municipalities, chambers, unions, universities and other educational institutions, etc.) to be involved in the various stages.
  • In the end of the project we aim to create a sustainability plan on how that virtual accelerator becomes a stable cooperation basis for cross border institutions in Greece – North Macedonia are for the mutual benefit.
Upcoming events
  • Cross border bilateral event with the participation of stakeholders of the entire cross border area. The date of the event will be announced soon through our website and our social media. Stay tuned!
  • Local promotion events targeted to the local audiences in 7 cross border cities (Florina, Edessa, Kilkis, Thessaloniki, Ohrid, Bitola and Prilep) in which participants will be informed about the upcoming training and mentoring activities and the benefit they can have from the event.

Join us on the website & social media!




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