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:
Source of people with promising innovative ideas: Such sources are the city’s many universities but also society at large: Anyone can generate bright ideas.
Processes that contribute to turn initial ideas to viable products: Processes include mentoring, seminars, competitions, training, social events promoting creativity and innovation, as well anything else that can contribute to promoting innovation at large but also of selecting the promising ideas that are worth promoting. If an idea does not seem to work, it is best abandoned sooner than later, cutting the losses to the innovative teams and allowing the more creative one to try something better sooner.
Infrastructures: These should support the processes just described and should also give startups the opportunity to be “tried out”, for many of them to survive the test before they become investment-ready or able to move on to further development.
“Destinations”: The end of the line process is the investment in the ideas that are investment-ready. Although this is an individual endeavour, attracting investment capital to the city is part of the function of the ecosystem. Matching successfully the best ideas with investment capital is a core characteristic of the ecosystem – its reputation is predicated on the quality of the investment ideas.
The ecosystem is open to all entrepreneurial and educational institution of the city and aims to integrate the separate efforts that move in the direction of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The opening of OK!Thess’ accelerator contributes by offering the following services:
- A co-working space allowing up to 20 teams of up to 5 persons to meet and work together.
- Access to high speed Wi-Fi (100/100Mbps)
- Participation in seminars and lecture related to innovation at the OK!Thess premises
- Specialised coaching on startup related matters
- Support by a mentor in the same field of sector or/and technology economic activity as the startup team.
- Space for social interaction with other teams working in OK!Thess’ space
- Networking with strategic partners, investors and others
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.