It is no secret that companies involved in the development, manufacture and sale of hardware products face even greater challenges than companies that develop services. That is why the Hardware START acceleration program, which was created on the initiative of Slovene Enterprise Fund (SEF) and the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (MGRT) and is part of the content support of the Startup Plus Program is extremely valuable for hardware companies.
HardwareSTART is intended for hardware startups that want to improve the development of their physical products with the help of the knowledge, background and experience of one of the most successful Slovenian companies.
[INTERVIEW] Support in developing a prototype, testing it and integrating it into the supply chain
Borut Borštnik, Young Entrepreneur Institute, Head of the HardwareSTART program
What are the most common challenges faced by startup companies participating in HardwareSTART?
"What we found when we first implemented the program is that each startup is an example in itself, despite the fact that only hardware startups are included in the program. Each is at a different stage, each covers a different industry and uses a different technology. The best recipe for solving the challenges of hardware startups is to treat each startup individually. Challenges often arise in the certification of products, often something does not work or there is a problem in the connection between hardware and software."
In which areas can HardwareSTART help?
"We can help in all key areas of hardware startups: from target audience evaluation and market analysis to market positioning support, that is, in the form of theoretical work. In the second phase, we can help design the prototype, help test it, it is possible to use the Catapult laying line, there is also the possibility of inclusion in the supply chain of the Catapult accelerator material. We have done all this already during the first implementation of HardwareSTART."
What is the maximum added value of the program for the participating start-up companies?
"The greatest added value is provided by DEWESoft's experts, who make a huge amount of machines and testers available to the participating start-ups".
The program consists of:
two meetings of the hardware community,
4 workshops with DEWESoft engineers, adapted to the early stages of hardware product development,
To top it all off, participants receive an additional 300 hours of mentoring for in-depth individual help and advice.
The conference and meetings can be attended by all hardware startups, while the promotion program with mentoring is intended for recipients of financial incentives, seed capital and co-investment of the Slovene Enterprise Fund of the P2, SK75, SK200 and SI-SK tenders.
The program is held within the Katpault Hardware Accelerator under the auspices of DEWESoft and in cooperation with the cooperation of the Young Entrepreneur Institute. Companies can participate both in the initial phase of physical product development and in the later phase, when complex problems occur that require more knowledge for a successful solution.
Content support for recipients of P2, SK75 or SI-SK financial products under the "de minimis" scheme is co-financed from the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. This is implemented on the basis of the Content Support for Funds Recipients (SMEs) Programme in the 2018-2023 period, under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.