Intelligent Cross Border Accelerator (ICBA) Project Deliverables

The ICBA project is a business acceleration project that PrimePoint Partners has proudly been working on, which focuses on the cross-border region between Greece and Macedonia. With the hopes of fuelling economic growth and the employability of young entrepreneurs within the region, the project aims to create support mechanisms for start-ups and SMEs. 

We would like to announce that the project’s studies have successfully been completed and are now available. 

Key deliverables are as follows:

Sectoral Study of ICT-Enabled Sectors in the Cross-Border Area

The study examines the economic sectors with the greatest potential for fuelling ICT-enabled start-up creation in the cross-border area between Greece and Macedonia. In this regard, four economic sectors were selected 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 and support of aspiring entrepreneurs from these four sectors. Further analysis also highlighted that the Accelerator can help overcome several challenges within the cross-border area faced by start-ups from both countries, and thus help them reach their fullest potential.

Training Needs Analysis of the Target Group

Analyses and surveys of the Greek and Macedonian cross border areas have highlighted that there remains a great number of ICT graduates. Specifically, in the Greek cross border area, 48% of youth responders have Tertiary education and 21% Postgraduate studies. Similarly, in the Macedonian cross border area 80% of youth respondents have tertiary or postgraduate education. 

Furthermore, survey results emphasised that youth in the cross-border areas require entrepreneurship education and training. A large portion of the youth 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 that they are ready to develop a new innovative business. However, others stated that they are not ready, and they require training. In addition, in the Macedonian cross border area, half of the responders believe that they have the digital readiness to set up a new innovative business. Based on these results, it can be concluded that youth 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. They are often known as seed accelerators that culminate in a public pitch event or demo day. 

Whilst 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, for example corporate accelerators, which are often subsidiaries or programs of larger corporations.

The study suggests the main methodology procedure for how to successfully deliver and implement the ICBA startup accelerator in the cross-border area between Greece and Macedonia, highlighting four distinct factors that make accelerators unique. This includes the following: they are fixed-term, cohort-based, mentorship-driven, and finally, they culminate in a graduation or “demo day.”

To read the full reports, please check out the ICBA project’s website HERE


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