Sándor Center for Innovation - Innovation Center and Business Incubator
Central and Eastern Europe has a large base of bright, talented and well educated individuals with a strong flair for innovation and entrepreneurship that could be the catalyst for economic growth in the region. Unfortunately, most lack the ability to access the training, know-how and support (e.g. facilities, very early stage funding, etc.) in order to exploit those skills and drive new innovation.
As innovation is driven by the alignment of leadership, entrepreneurship and creative thinking, if we can combine those elements with the right training, personal networks, support and funding, we have the opportunity to create new economic growth and retain top talent in CEE.
Looking at the example of California’s Silicon Valley, the secret to its success is the confluence of access to the know-how, resources and very early stage capital (“friends & family”) that those same entrepreneurs in CEE lack.
In order to support the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region, this concept is centered on the formation of a training academy, innovation hub, business incubator and venture fund to be known as the Sándor Center for Innovation.
A training facility with various programs organized both in-house and by partners aligned with the academy’s mission. Using non-traditional approaches (e.g. “School for Start-ups”), programs would be arranged in short seminars as well as longer-term regular sessions in order to maximize value to its constituent base.
Innovation Hub and Business Incubator
The Center would also maintain an innovation hub to foster innovation and create programs designed to drive interaction and collaboration among members. The hub would share the same space as the business incubator supporting start-ups with mentoring, facilities, resources, etc. Office space, shared meeting, catering and presentation facilities are envisaged.
In order to succeed in fulfilling its mandate, the center intends to operate an early-stage venture fund that would make very early stage capital investments in start-ups associated with the Center. Entrepreneurs in the region do not have the same access to self- or “friends & family” funding sources as those elsewhere in the world. Access to early stage capital is a key lifeline.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are increasingly seen as the solution to the current economic situation by governments and markets alike, especially those in CEE and the European Union. The Sándor Center will be a catalyst for driving economic growth and the development of new high growth start-up enterprises.
The aspirational goal of the Sándor Center is to drive the development of the CEE region in to Europe’s next high-growth hub for start-ups and innovation.