Startup Academy and Contest

Do you have a business idea and want to develop it? Join us at the Start-up Academy and Competition in Zagreb and win excellent prizes!

The program is exclusively open to high school students and participants are selected based on a selection process.

Win valuable prizes

The goal of the academy is to learn how to turn your idea into a business project. The Academy consists of three modules covering the areas of business development, finance, and marketing. This is followed by the grand finale – the contest!
The contest is designed to last for two days – the first day with mentors you practice how to present your idea and the second day you present this idea to a four-member jury consisting of project partners, and experienced experts in the world of start-ups: Vid Zavalić (BIRD Incubator), Marijana Šarolić Robić (CroStartup), Miro Hegedić (Smion) and dr. Nina Antičić (RIT Croatia).

Participants' work will be evaluated based on the following selection criteria:

  • Innovation: How innovative and original is the idea presented?
  • Feasibility: Is the proposed business project realistic and achievable?
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: How well does the presentation demonstrate the team's entrepreneurial drive and determination?
  • Social Impact: What potential positive impact does the business project have on society?

The winner will receive the following prizes:

  • RIT Croatia Entrepreneurial Rising Star scholarship for 4,000 euros (scholarship is valid for potential undergraduate students who have been granted admission to RIT Croatia),
  • 1 place in the BIRD Incubator pre-incubation program,
  • Educational platform of CroStartup for the best three teams. 

NOTE: Applications for the Start-up Academy and Contest have been closed on April 3, 2024.



  • 9:30-10:30 - Meet & Greet
  • 10:30-11:15 - How to spot a business idea? (Scott Coleman, RIT Croatia)
  • 11:15-12:00 - How to validate business ideas? (Filip Stipančić, Smion)
  • 12:00-12:45 - Lunch Break
  • 12:45-13:45 - How to build an MVP? (Marko Linke, BIRD Incubator)
  • 10:00-10:45 - How to navigate the operating expenses of my venture? (Matea Bajs, RIT Croatia)
  • 10:45-11:30 - How to raise funds for my startup? (TBD)
  • 11:30-12:30 - Design Thinking Workshop, part 1 (Velebit Mirić, RIT Croatia)
  • 12:30-13:00 - Lunch Break
  • 13:00-14:00 - Design Thinking Workshop, part 2 (Velebit Mirić, RIT Croatia)
  • 10:00-11:00 - Principles of Marketing (Dr. Nina Antičić, RIT Croatia)
  • 11:00-11:45 - Branding & Social Media (TBD)
  • 11:45-12:30 - How to craft a great pitch? (Antonia Kurtović, RIT Croatia student)
  • 12:30-13:00 - Lunch & Networking
  • Mentoring Day (teams gather and work on their projects and pitches with the help of mentors - student founders and partner organizations)
  • Pitch Day (each team pitches their idea in front of a four-member jury consisting of Vid Zavalić (BIRD Incubator), Marijana Šarolić Robić (CroStartup), Miro Hegedić (Smion) and dr. Nina Antičić (RIT Croatia)
  • Announcement of the Winners

About Start-up Academy and Competition

The Start-up Academy and Competition is organized by - students!

The uniqueness of this program lies in the fact that our students have conceived the entire project, from lecturers, and logistics, to this text on the website. Antonia Kurtović, RIT Croatia student with experience in this field, plays a key role in this project. Antonia is well-known in the world of student start-ups and competitions because she has a start-up called Michi Community, a mobile application for mental health that she has been developing for the past two years.

"I wanted to share my knowledge with young people who have ideas but may not know how to best turn them into real business projects. That's why we are organizing a start-up academy and competition to bring the world of start-ups closer to young people and encourage them to try their hand at entrepreneurship."


  • CroStartup - Croatian association uniting start-up founders and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • BIRD Incubator - startup incubator for all ideas related to artificial intelligence
  • Smion - organization passionately involved in innovation and entrepreneurship

crostartup smion       bird



Dominos      cluego   amazinga