Mr. Vukasin Stojkov - An activist, entrepreneur, designer. Bent on kickstarting the Serbian startup ecosystem

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Mr. Vukasin Stojkov - An activist, entrepreneur, designer. Bent on kickstarting the Serbian startup ecosystem



Jelena Misic - 01.04.2013

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Balkans.com: As an advocate of startups in Serbia, can you tell our readers about the importance of generating a startup ecosystem in a country?

Vukasin Stojkov: Economy is one of the pillars of any society, and the future of economy is without a doubt based on technological innovation transforming and upgrading almost all economical activity.

Tech startups are the vehicles for these transformations and the type of business organizations that will be at the forefront of value creation in the 21st century economies.

Startups spring up in places with developed startup ecosystems, which is why we're trying hard to create one in Serbia.

Balkans.com: Serbia is buzzing about upcoming Seedcamp event you are having, can you tell us more about it?

Vukasin Stojkov: After a couple of years of trying, we've managed to bring Seedcamp, the biggest and most successful European seed fund / accelerator, to Belgrade.

We hope this will help galvanize the local startup scene even further, and hopefully get some local companies in the Seedcamp family and the great network they have around the world.

Balkans.com: What advice do you have for startups in the region?

Vukasin Stojkov: Educate yourself. There are a number of steps you can take to reduce waste and risk, like the Lean startup methodology.

Network — you can receive incredible value from mentors you can meet at various events, big and small, which take place almost every month in Serbia. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but stay respectful of people's time, don't push it too hard.

You are not in the Silicon Valley, stop acting like that. Avoid building the next Twitter or Facebook or, to put it this way, don't build companies without a solid business model that can work from the start.

Balkans.com: What can  governments do to foster startups?

Vukasin Stojkov: Help attract investments like the Israelis did in the early 90s, put in measures to encourage starting tech companies and lessen the burden in the first years of doing business, optimize bureaucratic processes.

Even though there's a long way to go, I'd say that the Serbian government is taking appropriate first steps in this aspect.

Balkans.com: Economic patriotism is important in every country, what is your opinion on how local  business people can help startups?

Vukasin Stojkov: I'd say that businesses should do what is profitable for them, so as to keep the ecosystem healthy and prosperous.

However, experienced businessmen should find a way to help out young entrepreneurs with support and mentorship and thus create great value for the society and perhaps great future partners for their own companies.

One thing that is also notable in this aspect is the wave of young startups full of potential, which might be very interesting investing opportunities for accomplished businessmen and / or their companies.

Balkans.com: Our readers are companies, investors, and business people, who have invested or are interested in doing business in the region. What advice could you give them?

Vukasin Stojkov: A number of young tech companies from Serbia and the region have already created tremendous value, the most notable example being Nordeus, one of the fastest growing tech companies in Europe.

Be on the lookout on the next big thing to come out of here and take part in their success by helping them out early on, and generally — take part in the tech revolution of our time and take the amazing, ever-growing opportunities. 


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