OK!Thess wants to see a complete innovation ecosystem being created. An ecosystem with, on the one hand all those who are willing and able to contribute to the development of innovation in the region and, on the other, those active structures that are needed for healthy growth of the ecosystem itself. The ecosystem would have to include:
The ecosystem is open to all entrepreneurial and educational institution of the city and aims to integrate the the separate efforts that move in the direction of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The opening of OK!Thess’ pre-incubator contributes by offering the following services:
Meeting with potential investors is of course the ultimate aim and OK!Thess and this will be organised for the most promising and investment-ready teams both in situ and worldwide through OK!Thess’ international contacts.
Some 30 meetings of mentors and teams are foreseen each year aiming to have startup teams adopted by mentors. For the purposes of the note, mentoring is defined as the frequent (idealy weekly) interaction of a team with a person who has specialist knowledge of the market targetted by the team. For very innovative ideas in which the market is either ill-defined or does not exist more generic mentors are identified. The team matures through interaction with the mentors and either ramps up development or gives up as soon as possible if the idea is not economically feasible – a speedy resolution in either direction is highly desirable.
Specialised seminars in developmental skill which are aimed both towards the design and the implementation of each venture. 300 hours of specialist training are envisaged for each year. Three acceleration cycles are envisaged for each year with the participation of 10 teams in each. Based on a programme of 13 weekly individualised sessions, each team should be in a position to bring its business model to a level that can be presented to investors.
OK!Thess addresses the broader ecosystem in the region and aims to cooperate with other bodies which may have a specific technical orientation or geographical coverage to organise jointly events such as bootcamps, speed dating etc. Some 6 such events are envisaged on an annual basis.
It is envisaged that the evolving innovation ecosystem will also engender scientific events with speakers of international standing, validation events of an interactive nature where the public participate giving valuable feedback to teams that present their idea in demo days, but also demo days (pitching events) presenting teams from the broader region to investors. Some 10 such events are planned on an annual basis.
Proposals are accepted from persons or teams with innovative ideas, independently of the degree of maturity, that could benefit from the services of OK!Thess’s pre-incubator in order to create a startup or reinforce a startup already established.
Applications are evaluated by a four member committee which, when necessary, seeks expert help in the applicant’s domain of activity. The criteria on which the decision of the committee is based, in priority order, are:
The acceptance of each team is for a time period determined by the evaluation committee and depends on the characteristics of each proposal. All teams accepted are evaluated for their propgress every three months. If the evaluation shows that the goals of the team are not achievable then the participation agreement is terminated so that the resources available can be devoted to new teams. Proposals from individuals accepted are assumed to have as a primary goal to form a team within the first three months.
Each team accepted in OK!Thess pays in advance €150 for each quarter for the services received. Other services, such as individualised training (acceleration) may incur an additional charge.
A modern and highly flexible working environment is provided. The space can be configured for different purposes to adapt to the needs of the moment.
A very high speed network is provided (ethernet or wifi) with speeds up to 100/100Mbps. Most working desks, as well as partitions, are on wheels so that working environment can adapt to the people working or to events involving all the participants in OK!Thess and more. In principle, OK!Thess provides an open plan space with each team able to pick any work area available. There are, however, separate spaces for more private meetings too.
There are also meeting rooms, ample room for social interaction and a kitchenette.