GALATI TRANSFER STORY
The Municipality and its partners were aiming to recruit 100 individuals for two hackathons which would feed the competition and split them into two groups. They were aiming to establish 5 teams of entrepreneurs prepared for the demo day and actively involve 10 ULG members in supporting these teams.
The municipality and its partners were hoping for at least one start-up by the end of the project.
They planned to set up an incubation agreement and launch the competition in October and November 2019, with Universities starting the process through organised events, with incubation running from February – October 2020.
The process the Municipality followed broadly echoed the five stages of the Piraeus Blue Growth Initiative, with two hackathons added to reach out into the entrepreneurial community to find innovative business ideas.
Key dates in their programme included;
- Competition Launch Date - 14th October 2019
- Hackathon 1 – 14th November 2019
- Hackathon 2 – 12th December 2019
- Competition closing date – 14th January 2020
- First stage of judging – 14th Jan -14th Feb 2020
- Preparation week – 23rd- 29th March 2020
- Demo Day – 06th-11th April 2020
- Business Incubation – May- September 2020 (divided as follows: 2 sessions/week, 2 hrs/session, approx. total hrs: 75)
- Final Pitch – October 2020 (final date to be determined)
The original goals set out in the transfer plan were to have;
- 100 individuals recruited/reached for the 2 hackathon-type events by January 2020
- 30 individuals attending the second hackathon by January 2020
- 20 individuals attending the first by January 2020
- 10 ULG members actively involved at each bi-monthly meeting by December 2020
- 5 entrepreneurs/teams prepared for Demo Day by June 2020
- 1 start-up - our first Danube maritime start-up established by end of 2020
The Municipality of Galati planned a very detailed programme for delivering the Transfer, which is branded under the regionally flavoured Danube Growth Initiative banner.
The Municipality built a strong Urbact Local Group, comprising members from Universities, the River Authority, NGO’s, public bodies and port-based businesses.
The city held two successful Hackathon’s, with the first being run on the 14th November 2019, organised around 4 teams. The second Hackathon was organised on 12 December 2019 and generated 11 proposals. Overall, 34 business ideas were generated in total from the two Hackathons and the proposals registered on the competition website. After the evaluation process, only 9 business proposals entered in the next stages of the competition.
The promotion of the project has created a vivid interest for the local entrepreneurs to engage in new business opportunities.
The success of the local competition is a premise of developing the local interest in the blue economy field, wich in Galați hasn`t achieved its potential.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the local team adapted the project activities to the new context and all the remained meetings were transfered online.
After a rather long period in which the events within the Danube Growth Initiative competition were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in October the competition took off and made important steps.
After the 2 Hackathons organised last year, and the evaluation during Jan-Feb 2020, the next event took place on October 8, 2020, when Preparation Day was organized, as an online session dedicated to preparing participants to support presentations of business ideas in the field of Blue Economy. The event was attended by 6 finalist teams out of the 9 declared admitted in the next stages of the competition.
Furthermore, on October 15th, the most awaited moment, the Demo Day event took place online with great commitment from participants and ULG members. In a cordial atmosphere, the participants had the opportunity to present their business ideas in the Blue Economy field.
As far as evaluating the different applications are concerned, business ideas were to be judged based on the following criteria:
- Team expertise
- Market need
The voting process was based on an 80-20 rule (80% jury, 20% public vote). The jury judged a candidate by awarding each criteria a grade from 1 to 10. Each jury member then calculated an average score for a candidate. That final score for the candidate represented the average score of all jury members. The public were also invited to choose the best project for every criterion mentioned. Based on the number of votes received by a candidate, projects were scored from 1 to 10 as well.
After the Demo Day, candidates entered in an Incubation Programme which was finalised on 21-st December 2020 and the final pitch will take place in April 2021 and an Award Ceremony in May 2021.
Challenges Galati Experienced;
The biggest challenge the city of Galati is likely to experience is turning these 9 ideas into viable businesses and offering a suitable incubation programme to support these aspiring entrepreneurs.
The reasons for this are complex, but include issues such as the maturity of the ideas, the availability of patient customers and finance etc. One solution to addressing this issue could be to try and strengthen the support package and programmes available to ‘early stage’ entrepreneurs in the region, although this may only be possible through additional funding, outside the scope of the Urbact Programme.
At the time of writing, Galati has delivered;
- 1 Transfer Plan
- 1 Urbact Local Group established, with over 20 members
- 9 business proposals/ideas generated
- 2 events organised, with over 94 people attending
- 1 Incubation Programme
The active participation of the young people at the events, permanent involvement and support of the stakeholders, including the financial institutions, increased enthusiasm and interest for the BluACT project, various and innovative business ideas have been constantly observed since the start of the DGI competition.
The transfer of the good practice and know-how supports the transition to stronger high-value service-based economy and the cross sectoral collaboration. In terms of benefits, Galati city will take advantage of:
- developing new businesses in the blue economy sectors
- providing the institutional framework and support by the local authorities for networking between potential entrepreneurs and investors
We aim to challenge the business sector in Galați, in terms of stimulating the local entrepreneurs to grow their ideas locally and give a smart, sustainable alternative to the low involvement in economy fields which are unexploited, such as the Blue Economy sectors.
At the end of the project, the Municipality of Galați will evaluate and review the competition and its events and will take decisions about next years competition design.
We also aim to plan a sponsor`s meeting in order to present the main results and attract new funding. The website of the Municipality will be updated and will support ongoing promotion.
Beyond 2021, the city and its partners will continue to focus on supporting the early -stage entrepreneurs they have identified, to encourage them into starting a business. Going forward, the city can also build on the Danube Growth Initiative, to create an ongoing regional blue growth programme.
Images from Demo Day event, 15th October 2020