Bridge2EU Study Trip – Uplift Albania

On May 8th, a cohort of ambitious start-ups from Uplift Albania’s 5th edition embarked on a transformative journey to Vilnius, Lithuania, for the Bridge2EU study trip, with a sharp focus on investment readiness. Brimming with energy and enthusiasm, the first day of the expedition saw these innovative ventures immersing themselves in the dynamic startup ecosystem of Vilnius.

The day kicked off with an insightful session at Civitta, where Mrs. Jurga Mecinskiene provided a comprehensive overview of the start-up landscape in Baltic countries. This discussion not only shed light on the similarities but also highlighted the untapped potential that the Albanian market holds. Following this, Mr. Martynas Kandzeras, Co-Founder of LitBAN, engaged the participants in a stimulating conversation about the pivotal role of business angels in supporting start-ups, eliciting keen interest and inquiries from the attendees.

Energized by these interactive sessions, the start-ups proceeded to Plug and Play, an accelerator program dedicated to nurturing early-stage, tech-focused start-ups across Central and Eastern Europe. Here, they had the opportunity to interact with Mrs. Anastasija Hadunkina, Venture Analyst at Plug and Play, who shared invaluable insights into the qualities investors seek in start-ups. The visit also facilitated networking with fellow start-ups within the accelerator, fostering collaboration and idea exchange.

As the day progressed, anticipation mounted for the Startup Roast Pitching session, a crucial milestone for the participants. Start-ups faced a distinguished jury comprising luminaries such as Mr. Arvydas Plėta and Mrs. Elena Salamandîc Alijošienė from Katalista Venture, and Mrs. Gerda Sakalauskaitė from LitCapital.

Start-ups showcased their ventures, fielding questions and feedback with poise and determination.

The second day of the Bridge2EU study trip dawned with the cohort brimming with renewed vigor and anticipation. The day commenced with Mr. Sander van der Molen, Partner at Civitta, enlightening the participants on Sources of Public Funding, igniting discussions on strategies tailored to their start-ups’ unique needs. This was followed by an engaging session led by Mr. Marijus Andrijauskas, offering insights into Fundraising and prompting participants to delve into nuanced discussions about revenue streams and future objectives.

A highlight of the day was a masterclass by Mrs. Jone Vaituleviciute, delving deep into the intricacies of Fundraising, encompassing market benchmarks, valuation methodologies, and essential considerations for successful fundraising campaigns. The session empowered start-ups with practical knowledge and strategic acumen essential for navigating the complex landscape of investment.

The day culminated in a series of enlightening Founder Stories sessions, where the participants gleaned invaluable wisdom from accomplished entrepreneurs like Cihat Kahraman and Gediminas Jankus. Through candid accounts of their growth journeys and insightful ‘DOs and DON’Ts,’ the founders provided invaluable guidance, inspiring the cohort to chart their paths to success with clarity and determination.

In addition to these enriching sessions, start-ups engaged in focused discussions with other founders, including Mantas Sabanas, Sarunas Matulevicius, and Tomas Martunas, further broadening their perspectives and forging meaningful connections within the vibrant startup community of Vilnius.

The Bridge2EU study trip concluded on a high note, with participants returning home enriched with newfound knowledge, invaluable insights, and cherished memories from their time in Vilnius.

The fifth edition of #UpliftAccelerator, powered by EU4Innovation, continues to empower innovative startups from Albania, propelling them towards success through a rigorous three-month program designed to catalyze their growth and impact.

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