StartIT Academy

StartIT Academy is a process of support and development for business ideas in the initial stage of development. StartIT provides resources, mentorship, and training to enable startup teams to test their ideas and prepare for market challenges.

Client: Digital Dalmatia, Split-Dalmatia County

What Was Done for the Client?

Smion has developed and, in collaboration with Digital Dalmatia, conducted a pre-incubation startup program for three generations of startup entrepreneurs, using Lean Startup, Design Thinking, and Customer Development methodologies to empower participants to refine their value propositions and structure their business models.

Achieved Results:

  1. Support and education for over 40 startup teams
  2. 30 teams validated market problems and developed business models
  3. More than 15 teams tested MVPs or prototypes with users
  4. More than 8 teams generated their first revenue

What Is StartIT Academy?

StartIT Academy is an eight-week project in which we participate in designing and implementing a startup program, organized by the local startup community Digital Dalmatia.

Split-Dalmatia County initiated StartIT as part of the ICT County project with the vision of developing technology entrepreneurship as the second-largest economic sector in Split-Dalmatia County. The project aims to highlight the availability and equality of opportunities for anyone who wants to venture into idea development and start a business to improve the quality of life in the local community and society.

In addition to StartIT, ICT County has successfully implemented many other projects such as EDIT CodeSchool and GrowIT.


Who Is StartIT For?

The StartIT pre-incubation program is intended for technology startups, and its goal is to provide support to individuals in the process of developing a business idea, market analysis, business plan development, prototype development, and access to funding sources, all with the support of expert mentors with years of experience in a startup business.


Program and Content of StartIT Academy

StartIT Academy takes place at the county’s pre-incubator PICS@FESB and consists of four main parts:

  1. StartIT Kick Off
  2. StartIT Camp
  3. StartIT Training
  4. StartIT Demo Day

“Faze StartIT akademije”



StartIT Kick Off

The StartIT program begins with a Kick-Off one-day event where all registered teams gather to present their projects for the first time. Based on their pitches, up to 10 teams proceed to the next round to further develop their ideas in the program. The criteria for evaluating teams include clarity of the problem or need that the idea addresses for users, the innovativeness of the solution, market potential, feasibility, team experience, and quality.


StartIT Camp

After selecting the best teams, the StartIT Camp follows, with alternating StartIT training sessions. StartIT Camp is based on the “Startup Drill Circle of Success” model. Participants learn the basic principles and apply them to real tasks while receiving mentor support. During this part of the program, participants learn the basics of understanding and analyzing the market, elaborating on problems and their ideas through assumption validation, lean methodology, business models, and startup development stages.

During StartIT Camp, teams must apply all the acquired knowledge to their own projects through team tasks.

“Startup DRILL success loop”



StartIT Training

Simultaneously with StartIT Camp, StartIT Training is also held, where teams develop their ideas with individual support from trainers and mentors. Between two workshop sessions, Digital Dalmatia organizes Speed Mentoring with mentors from the local community.

During StartIT Training, teams work on their business ideas using methods of user testing and validation of assumptions about the business model. The progress of the startup and the execution of tasks proposed by trainers and mentors are monitored through an online progress-tracking system designed for this purpose. Progress is visible by comparing the initial and final diagnostics in which all teams participate.

After completing the education, workshops, and mentoring, the best teams are selected. To prepare them to showcase their best, pitch training and pitch rehearsals with mentor feedback are organized.


StartIT Demo Day

StartIT Demo Day follows as the final event of the project, where all teams pitch their projects in front of an expert commission. The top three teams are then selected and awarded during the public announcement and ceremony.


Organization and Realization of the StartIT Project

Organizing an innovation program like StartIT Academy requires good preparation and organization, as well as clear coordination among the parties involved. Within this project, the Smion team plays a multifaceted role as educators, moderators, and mentors.

The educational part of the program takes place in Split, where the founders of each startup team are present.

Mentoring and coaching support are provided online. Mentors and lecturers from other locations and abroad participate live via video calls, providing additional value to participants.

Several tools and templates of our own production are used for collaboration within the team and tracking progress. Google Suite and digital platforms are used for sharing materials.

Do you want to learn more about the StartIT program and collaboration opportunities within the StartIT program?