The digital implementation of the international conference of the HardwareSTART program, which is part of the content support of the Startup Plus Program for recipients of financial incentives and seed capital of the Slovene Enterprise Fund, was successful. Around 100 participants were able to listen to interesting speakers, entrepreneurs, experts and connoisseurs of the hardware product development industry.
For those entering this demanding industry for the first time, the messages were particularly important that the development of hardware products is very specific, that the teams have to wait for many corrections before they come to market, that they have to be prepared for quality problems, rejections of the first series... "But all this has to be taken into account without giving up," says Borut Borštnik, co-founder and director of the Young Entrepreneur Institute, which, is a co-organizer of the HardwareSTART program alongside high-tech company DEWESoft and the hardware accelerator Katapult.
The conference is just one part of the program, which includes two more hardware community meetups (the first meetup was organized with EQUA in September, while the second will be held at the Katapult in January 2021), as well as 4 workshops with DEWESoft engineers on hardware product or company development and a mentoring package for selected hardware start-ups.
How to encourage innovation
An interesting case from the field was presented by Dušan Olaj, CEO of the highly successful company Duol, Jaka Klemenčič from EKWB spoke about how to place the product as a relic for his customers, George Deriso from Boulder University in Colorado spoke about how to promote innovation and offer suggestions for improvement for a hardware company, and the growth expert Townsend Wardlaw lectured on direct sales in the hardware world.
It is crucial to retain employees in the company
One of the findings of the conference was that the company needs to create an environment and a reward system that binds employees to the company. Especially in these times of crisis, it has become clear how important it is for companies to have a high level of added value that enables them to operate even in the event of a decline in revenue. After all, the biggest problems are now in industries where there is no added value. "The role of companies - and this should not sound negative - is to make profits, create value and accumulate money. Companies that continue to invest in human resources, the development of new products and their marketing will prosper best once the crisis is over," said Borut Borštnik.