Sectoral study of ICT-enabled sectors in the cross-border area
The study examines the economic sectors with the greatest potential for ICT-enabled start-up creation in the cross-border area between Greece and North Macedonia. Four economic sectors were selected for having the greatest start-up potential for both the Greek and North-Macedonian sides and defined according to the NACE classification system: 1) Agrofood, 2) Retail and Wholesale, 3) Tourism, 4) ICT.
The conclusions of the study recommend that the Intelligent Cross-Border Accelerator focuses on the training of aspiring entrepreneurs who will become active in these four sectors. The analysis of the cross-border area suggests that the foreseen structure and processes of the Accelerator can help overcome several of the challenges faced by the start-up scenes of both countries and help them reach their potential.
Training Needs Analysis of the target group
From the analysis and the surveys in the Greek and North Macedonian cross border areas it can be stated that both cross border areas have an important number of ICT graduates. In the Greek cross border area, 48% of the young people responders have Tertiary education, 21% Postgraduate studies. Similarly, in North Macedonian cross border 80% of them have tertiary or postgraduate education.
Survey results show that youth people in the cross-border areas need entrepreneurship education and training. A big part of the youth people in the Greek cross border area, that responded to the questionnaire, stated that their digital readiness and maturity in order to develop a new innovative business activity is sufficient and they are ready to develop a new innovative business. However, some of them stated that they are not ready, and they need first training. In addition, in North Macedonian cross border area half of the responders believe that they have the digital readiness to set up a new innovative business. From the above results, it can be concluded that youth people in the cross-border area need entrepreneurship education and training.
Accelerator Development Blueprint
Startup accelerators support early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing. Startups enter accelerators for a fixed period of time, and as part of a cohort of companies. The accelerator experience is a process of intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the life cycle of young innovative companies, compressing years’ worth of learning-by-doing into just a few months.
Startup accelerators are known as Seed accelerators, are fixed-term, cohort-based programs that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day. While traditional business incubators are often government-funded, generally take no equity, and rarely provide funding, accelerators can be either privately or publicly funded and cover a wide range of industries. Unlike business incubators, the application process for seed accelerators is open to anyone, but highly competitive. There are specific types of seed accelerators, such as corporate accelerators, which are often subsidiaries or programs of larger corporations that act like seed accelerators.
The study suggests the main methodology procedure for delivery the iCBA startup accelerator in the Greece-North Macedonia cross-border area. The study highlights four distinct factors that make accelerators unique: They are fixed-term, Cohort-based, Mentorship-driven, and finaly, they culminate in a graduation or “demo day.