The inaugural Balkan Venture Forum (BkVF) was held in Skopje, Macedonia, on April 18 and 19, 2012. The goal of the BkVF is to help develop the ecosystem and platform to support innovation, entrepreneurship and investment throughout the region, and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to network, be mentored, and connect with investors and other strategic partners. More than a dozen prestigious business angels, venture capital, private equity and corporate investors gathered to meet top entrepreneurs and innovators from the Balkans. BkVF was co-organized by Crimson Capital (www.crimsoncapital.org), Balkan Unlimited (www.balkanunlimited.org) and Europe Unlimited (http://www.e-unlimited.com). The Patron of BkVF, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, President of Macedonia, officially opened the event with a keynote address.
BkVF featured multiple panels on everything from the investment outlook in the region, to preparing for obtaining finance, growing your business, lean product development and many more relevant topics. Entrepreneurs had the opportunity for one2one meetings with investors and mentors. More than 400 entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, advisors, government officials and representatives from chambers, associations, incubators, and business accelerators attended. The full agenda for both days can be found at www.balkanventureforum.org.
30 entrepreneurs were selected from over 55 applicants to pitch their businesses to a prestigious jury panel of international investors, successful entrepreneurs and advisors. Eight companies from Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Greece and Malta were selected as the winners, qualifying them to compete against 92 European entrepreneurs in the European Venture Summit finals to be held in Berlin in December 2012. Investors requested follow up meetings with several of the entrepreneurs to pursue potential investments into their ventures. The winning entrepreneurs include:
1. Albpay, Albania; electronic payment system operational and implemented in the Balkans
2. FEEIT (WiNGroup)/ECS, Macedonia; distributed and intelligent system for monitoring vineyards and wine cellars through sensor networks
3. INCREDIBLUE, Greece; social sea tourism marketplace
4. mySkin, Serbia; development of hardware, software, and digital media dedicated to the skincare industry
5. Negovita Team, Bosnia and Herzegovina; development of innovative products for better care of disabled and immobile persons
6. Padeca Trading Ltd., Malta; online marketplace
7. Pynode Solutions, Greece; software manufacturing company for sophisticated web projects
8. TekFuze, Kosovo; manufacturers of innovative modular electronics control products
The BkVF is planned to be at least an annual event, rotating throughout the countries in the region. For additional information please contact Darko Arsov at firstname.lastname@example.org or Aleksandar Tasev at email@example.com.