Slovakia: Still untapped potential

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esi: Who are you, what do you do and what makes you an expert on your start-upcountry?
Matej: I’m a co-organizer of the biggest start-up community meeting, StartupCamp, in Slovakia for almost two years now. I also blog and work with our start-ups. I started blogging about start-ups in February 2012 for StartupCamp.sk, finding it interesting and exciting long time before that. Inspired by my research I foundedmy first own start-up in September 2012 – gamifi.cc.

esi: What is cool about your start-upcountry, what inspires you and keeps you thriving?
Matej: Slovakia is a small country, so we need to orient to the global market from day one, if start-ups really want to break the ground. This is obviously a good thing! Furthermore it’s a real hub for technically skilled people, but everything happens only in the capital – Bratislava. People are helpful and have a great mindset – entrepreneurial, pro-active and passionate. What a nice change from the rest of population with a very historical mindset.

esi: What makes you shake your head about your start-upcountry, what needs to be improved?
Matej: We don’t have any real start-up incubator or accelerator just yet! There are hubs that make a great job connecting people and help them with entrepreneurship, but a full-feature incubator is missing. Also, government support is close to zero and start-ups are practically unknown term for the government. So in the meantime, Slovak start-ups must forget about any kind of tailored support to make their lives easier or to stay competitive.

esi: What’s some cool fact we are likely not to know about your start-upcountry?
Matej: In 2013, nine out of ten start-ups in Czech Wayra Accelerator are coming from Slovakia. That is a great success that proves a good quality of projects and ideas that originate in Slovakia. Unfortunately, also a brain drain and a risk that the smartest CEO with lots of experience will not come back and won’t give back to community. But we will see.

esi: Thank you for the interview.

Matej Jariabka

About the interviewpartner:
Matej Jariabka bloggs about the Slovakian start-up scene and is co-organizer of StartupCamp.sk.