Last week marked the successful conclusion of the “Startup Opatija 2023” program organized by the entrepreneurial incubator HUBBAZIA – Center for Innovations in Tourism. The program saw the completion of six innovative teams, including Playroom, who presented their progress and development at the Internal Demo Day.
Smion proudly participated in this project, providing participants with a series of educational sessions and mentor support, enabling them to acquire valuable knowledge and skills necessary for the development and growth of their business ideas.
The program was focused on practical experience, offering participants insights into key aspects of starting and managing a startup. Participants had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with market analysis, user development, idea validation, creation of a minimum viable product (MVP), development of business models, and presentation techniques. This approach allowed practical experience in idea development in a real environment, proving to be of great benefit to the participants.
Focused on creating a strong entrepreneurial network, “Startup Opatija 2023” demonstrated its commitment to developing new business talents and ideas. One of the standout teams was the one that presented Playroom, a platform for psychological assistance to children and parents.
Sanja Skočić Mihić and Nadia Novak Ramić embarked on the realization of their idea called Playroom with the aim of providing support to vulnerable groups, primarily children with developmental difficulties, as well as their families. This would be achieved by involving services from a multidisciplinary team of experts, presenting educational content, and ensuring the availability of specialized didactic equipment.
“From experience, we knew that interest and involvement in online education significantly increased, but it was necessary to specifically determine market needs,” highlighted Sanja. She added that, through web searches, they sought specific information about the significance of online education in the market until they realized the need to find out the involvement of the population in online education, as well as the planned market growth trend both globally and regionally.
Growth through Changing Entrepreneurial and Personal Thinking, as well as a Change in Focus
Participation in the Startup Opatija 2023 program changed not only the entrepreneurial but also the personal mindset. Sanja and her team needed to abandon the traditional view of developing a business idea, and she emphasized, “It was worth “playing” with ideas from the business sector and constructing a new perspective on the development of a business idea based on clearer guidelines.”
When asked about the key lessons learned during participation in the program, Sanja highlighted: “The lessons relate to the theoretical framework for developing a business idea, which clearly and systematically presents the development of successful business ideas, as well as a focus on the market by contemplating how the business idea we are developing can add new value to the existing market.”
These highlighted lessons contributed significantly to changes in the development of Playroom, creating the necessary clarity, a shift in focus on the possibility of responding to market needs, and how flexible they can be in recognizing those needs.
Development of Playroom after Participation in the Startup Opatija 2023 Program
Every innovative idea, startup, requires support from experts and mentors, not only during the program but also in further development, as recognized by Sanja.
“We are focused on a unique approach that we feel we can offer, which is different from the existing competition. However, I believe that we need expert support in learning to recognize changes in the market, and we need additional knowledge.”
Mentors, experts, and other participants in the incubation program provided them with useful information, lectures, and tasks, which the team diligently completed.
“Especially useful are the individualized supervisions that provide a quick and efficient way to confront our attitudes and beliefs that are not helpful. Supervisory meetings have, in an incredibly short time, provided tremendous opportunities for improvement by giving direct feedback, which is an effective way for development.”
The collaboration within Sanja and Nadia’s team accelerated the development and alignment of the business idea, refining it through differences in mutual understanding.
“The questions that Dario, as part of the Smion team, asked, as well as direct feedback, played a huge role in maintaining focus on necessary elements,” she shared. The team plans to open a craft business, launch a website, and record three educational sessions in the coming year.
The HUBBAZIA Project’s goal is to strengthen entrepreneurship through education and workshops, intending to enhance the competencies and skills of entrepreneurs. It is expected to result in increased employment, the creation of new jobs, strengthening competition, and creating a new entrepreneurial force for the development of the entire country.