VentureUP – The University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” Entrepreneurship & Innovation Centre provides Incubation services that provide support for aspiring UP student and alumni entrepreneurs in Kosovo, including but not limited to:
- Facility Based Services
- Co-working space
- Meeting room access
- Access to Equipment (laptops, color printing/scanning, etc.)
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Networking opportunities
- Access to Finance
These services are offered to admitted startups, which are admitted through a selection process described herein. Selection of suitable businesses to enter an incubation program constitutes one of the most important decisions/tasks to be undertaken. Various criteria spanning from readiness of applicant for the incubation process to the reciprocal relationship of value-addition between the prospective client and the incubation process need to be considered.
This document details the process of choosing among candidate startups those which are most compatible to the VentureUP Incubation Program’s mission for admission. Additionally, a selection process that takes into account financial and business-related issues, conveys to prospective clients a realistic idea of what it takes to succeed in a competitive business environment. It also allows the Incubation Manager to form a comprehensive picture of a company’s strengths and weaknesses and to prescribe action steps and remedies along the process.
Objectives of VentureUP’s Incubation Program
The Mission of VentureUP’s Incubation Program is to assist startups with growth potential to develop their business concepts into successful enterprises in order to create jobs and to support economic development in Kosovo. In keeping with this mission, all clients will be selected on the basis of their compatibility with the objectives of VentureUP’s Incubation Program to promote enterprise development and growth on a financially sustainable basis.
Applicable Staff Procedures
To ensure client compatibility with the objectives of the VentureUP Incubation Program, management shall adhere to the following procedures:
1. Initial Prospective Client Contact
Most contacts with potential clients will likely occur as a result of VentureUP’s Incubation Program launch activities followed by regular outreach and promotional efforts as well as referrals from founding members and other stakeholders.
The activities that follow the primary announcement, for up to eight (8) but no less than three (3) weeks, are:
- Informative Sessions at various University of Prishtina premises
- During class sessions
- At VentureUP’s facilities
- Promotion through social media and other digital platforms
- Media presence.
During the launch activity period and when any prospective client requests information regarding VentureUP’s Incubation Program, management or staff delegated to this task’ should provide the inquirer with the Program Overview (Exhibit 1), which is an integral part of this policy and describes the available services of the Incubation Program and information on eligibility, application requirements, review procedures, and evaluation criteria. In addition, a link or physical copy (if applicable) to the Application Form (Exhibit 2) is to also be provided.
Candidate clients are requested to complete the Application Form (Exhibit 2), which is published and accessible digitally via VentureUP’s digital platforms (website, social media, etc.) for a limited period of time, defined in the call for applications. Once the formal applications have been submitted to management, and the application period is concluded, the next step is initiated.
3.Pre-Selection & Tier Grouping
According to the eligibility criteria defined in the Program Overview (Exhibit 1), the completed applications are reviewed by VentureUP’s incubation Program Manager to determine if each application is eligible for consideration. If necessary, the Incubation Manager might invite other management members to help on the process or consult with them.
The Incubation Manager then reviews each applicant’s business concept, products/services, management team, the industry, current and future competitive elements facing the business, financial projections, etc., with the purpose of pre-selecting quality applications out of the pool of total eligible applicants to review and evaluate by an Admissions Committee.
Upon conclusion of the pre-selection of applications, the Incubation Manager shall group all eligible applications in three (3) tiers, prioritizing the ones that have compelling proposals for evaluation by admissions committee and making available all applications in the remaining tiers for the committee to review, discuss and consider for evaluation. Upon conclusion of this process, the Incubation Manager shall initiate the next step — Formation of Admissions Committee.
4.Formation of Admissions Committee
In order to asses and analyse the commercial success potential of each applicant, the Incubation Manager will combine internal and external experts to review the applications and short-list applicants to be offered Incubation services. The panel will consist of a minimum of three (3) individuals, and no more than one (1) from VentureUP’s staff. The committee shall be comprised of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, financial experts, and marketing professionals, who can evaluate the startup from the business point of view as well as academics or industry experts who, to the extent possible, are in the fields or technical area(s) relevant to the pre-selected applications.
5.Admissions Committee – Evaluation Meeting
The Admissions Committee is invited to conduct its work on a certain date and is notified, prior to such date, that they will spend up to three (3) hours during this process. The eligible, completed and pre-selected applications are given to the members of the Admissions Committee. VentureUP’s Incubation Program Manager will send the applications in electronic from to the Admissions Committee and provide hard copies of the top tier (Tier 1) applications together with the scoring cards. A second tier of applications is also made available in hard copies for review, and all the members of Admissions Committee are able to request any other application from the pool of total applicants. The Incubation Manager oversees and remains at the Admissions Committee’s disposal during the process for any matter the Incubation Manager can assist the Committee.
The Admissions Committee will assess the Applicant utilizing the Assessment Form/Scoring Cards (Exhibit 3), in line with the published criteria on the Program Overview (Exhibit 1).
The Committee may discuss the applications at the end of the individual evaluation, to share insights and allow for clarifications that may be needed in the process. Upon conclusion of the evaluation process, the Incubation Manager compiles the evaluators scores and presents a summary. Admission decisions include a list of up to ten (10) applicants. VentureUP’s Incubation Manager must schedule a meeting with the selected startups to offer Incubation services, present and sign the Client Services Agreement (Exhibit 4).
Client Services Agreement
Startups approved for admission to the VentureUP Incubation program must meet with the Incubation Manager to jointly set short-term objectives for the company’s performance and develop a written Action Plan, using the business goals and measurable milestones which the Client included in his/her application as the starting point of the discussion. This Action Plan will form the basis of monitoring the Client’s performance and as a guide for Volunteer Mentors when coaching the Client. The ACTION PLAN is an integral part of the Client Services Agreement (Exhibit 4) which each client must agree to and update in accordance with VentureUP’s Incubation Manager.