The Reload Hungary Incubation Program attracted dozens of startups with solutions to problems created by the pandemic covering recruitment, hospital administration, and the struggling hospitality industry, among others.
The program received 110 applications from Hungarian innovators whose ages ranged from 17 to 70, and who were drawn from eight different countries, the organizers say. The selected teams will take part in online business development training to improve their startup ideas during the summer.
The program is the first joint initiative of HU.B (Hungarian Bridges), an umbrella organization bringing together 12 players from the Hungarian startup ecosystem: Startup Campus, the Hungarian Export Development Agency, Tungsram, the NKFI Office, Hiventures (part of the MFB Group), MVM Smart Future Lab, Valor Hungariae, Hello Tomorrow Hungary, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO, or SZTNH as it is known in Hungarian), Eximbank, Millenáris and Kézmű, a state-owned company that employs Hungarians living with disabilities.
What makes the program unique is that, because the business development training will take place online, Hungarians from all over the world could apply, regardless of their physical location, Hungarian Bridges say.
As a result, organizers received applications from the likes of Germany, Great Britain, Malta, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as Hungary. Reload Hungary is not limited to one industry; ideas were welcomed from any areas. Solutions in the fields of clean energy, agricultural technology and the circular economy were already popular before the pandemic, therefore it was no surprise to see many ideas from these areas submitted.
The pandemic highlighted other problems, however, and many applications address the new challenges of catering and tourism, education, recruitment, health and lifestyle. Some ideas offer an alternative to social and professional networking for artists, who were highly affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic, while others focus on mental health issues or trying to improve digital working conditions.
The organizers have chosen the best ideas from 110 applications, and the selected teams started their online incubation at the beginning of July. They will learn about lean startup methodology, business model canvas, financial planning, international validation and go-to-market strategies, while also taking part in individual mentoring.
After the online training, the best performing teams will be invited to a virtual Demo Day to present their products to investors from Hiventures and Startup Campus Incubator, as well as the online audience. Here they will have the chance to win a HUF 20 million investment to start their own company.