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Macedonia startup celebrates 5 years of development of the local ecosystem

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This month, Startup Macedonia marks a five-year jubilee dedicated to actively encouraging the growth and development of the Macedonian startup ecosystem. Founded on August 8, 2016, the ecosystem umbrella organization is the first and only in North Macedonia to bring together all ecosystem stakeholders – startups, founders, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators and investors – to create a community in which innovation can operate. in a global business and success stories.

Supporting startups is the key to their survival

According to the co-founder of the organization, Nina Nikolich, supporting startups is the key to their survival, and over these five years, Startup Macedonia has provided considerable support to many newly created companies and inspired entrepreneurs and innovators , with knowledge, skills, relationships, and commitment.

“As a grassroots, grassroots association, we are unique and we function well. Over these 5 years, here are some of the main activities we have carried out: fostering collaboration between startups, partner organizations, local and regional/international ecosystem players, ecosystem research and report in 2018 and 2021, created the booklet: Launch in North Macedonia, developed the data-driven platform that aims to digitalize the ecosystem and opened the first entrepreneurial community center – MKstartups Space. Nikolich narrates The Recursive.

With the support of existing organizations, partners and individuals, Startup Macedonia strives to position North Macedonia as one of the most important startup countries in the region. The Startup Macedonia platform is the first digital platform with more than 145 startups and 50 organizations.

Through the platform, startups, organizations and businesses from North Macedonia can register and find all the necessary information for their development stage and reach the next level of their journey more easily.

During these five years, Startup Macedonia has also organized and co-organized more than 100 events and workshops for startup teams and aspiring entrepreneurs. Earlier this summer, the organization also spear its market access project “Expand Launchpad”, aimed at supporting the overseas expansion of Macedonia-based startups, and in this particular case to penetrate the markets of Japan and Germany.

“We have advocated and lobbied for policy changes through the National Startup Council, and also organized the 1st National Startup Summitand for the first time, we supported female founders through Womenpreneurs Stories,” Nikolich told The Recursive.

Ecosystem Success Stories

Examples of North Macedonia’s success during this period include Air care, an app that uses open data to visualize air pollution, allowing users to track air pollution from their phone. The app has now expanded to seven countries and has over 100,000 users.

Getting started with AI Cognism is another success story. The company develops AI tools to extract sales and recruiting leads from Big Data. In March last year, Cognism raised $12 million in a series led by AXA Venture Partners.

These two startups, and more, are part of the network the organization has created where the startup community connects with investors, experts, and startup enthusiasts.

“We’ve gone from discussing seed rounds to Series A and exits, and from hosting small meetups and serving a handful of startups to hundreds of entrepreneurs we’ve supported over the years, most of them having their profile on our online platform.” Igor Madzov, ecosystem builder and co-founder of Startup Macedonia, told The Recursive.

According to the organization, compared to the beginning, the biggest difference visible today is the drastic increase in the number of companies that operate successfully in the field of innovation and technology.

What’s next for startup Macedonia

The next step for Startup Macedonia is now the launch of a program aimed at increasing cooperation between startups and the business sector. The aim of this program is to motivate large companies to actively engage in the development of the Macedonian startup ecosystem, the organization said.

Additionally, Startup Macedonia will continue to work with startups at an even faster pace and provide them with support aimed at growing their business and increasing sales.

“We will continue to do this in the future, as we look forward to making the association self-sufficient and seeing new ecosystem leaders join the team,” Nikolich concludes.

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