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What is the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE Accelerator?

The MIT Enterprise Forum CEE Accelerator runs a Central and Eastern European based, equity-free start-up acceleration program affiliated to the worldwide recognized Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that provides financial, legal and consultancy support to start-up founders from the CEE region. The aim of the program is to support the development of the most innovative start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe by combining their potential with the knowledge and resources of leading global and regional enterprises, alongside the experience of Polish and international mentors, helping start-ups to scale up on international markets, primarily in the United States.

Who organizes the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program?

The organizer of the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program is the Foundation for Technology Entrepreneurship (FTE), a key player in the Polish and Central & Eastern European (CEE) innovation ecosystem. FTE founded in 2015 and has so far implemented five editions of the MIT Enterprise Forum Poland program for Polish technological start-ups. In 2019, FTE started acceleration programs under the new brand MIT Enterprise Forum CEE, spreading its activities to start-ups from the whole CEE region and beyond 

FTE cooperates with leading Polish enterprises, and its activities have been under the patronage of, among others, the Ministry of Development, Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency. The Foundation is one of the unique entities on the Polish market offering corporations an effective assistance in finding the right innovation model based on cooperation with start-ups.

Who should apply to the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program?

We invite all technological start-ups from CEE countries (and beyond) that have innovative solutions or services from one of the following areas: Fintech, Insurtech, Energy, Smart Buildings, Industry 4.0, HealthTech, Medtech, Digital Health, Martech, Sustainability and Waste Management. Please visit our “Who Should Apply” page,where you can check what particular technologies our Partners look for.

What are the benefits for a start-up when participating in the MIT EF CEE Acceleration Program?

Start-ups may take advantage of:

  • Several workshop sessions, during which the program of 24 steps of disciplined entrepreneurship by Prof. Bill Aulet from MIT is carried out, as well as workshops with lawyers, patent attorneys, sales coaches and many more.
  • An intensive Pitch Academy.
  • Cooperation with mentors – each start-up is assigned at least two mentors who have achieved spectacular successes in international business. Their role is to substantively support the start-ups on their way to achieving market success.
  • Cooperation with program partners, which aims to pilot implementation and verification of the effectiveness of solutions offered by start-ups in real market conditions. For start-ups, it is both the opportunity to verify their own business assumptions and the chance to establish commercial cooperation with the leaders of various industries not only on Polish, but also international markets, i.e. winning reference clients.
  • Gain access to global networking opportunities and present their technologies to potential US partners and investors.
  • Bootcamp in Boston – a chance for the five best start-ups in each edition to be offered a week’s stay in Boston, which is filled with workshops and business meetings with potential investors and partners from the USA.

From which countries can start-ups apply to the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program?

To apply to the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program, we invite start-ups from all around the world but in particular Central and Eastern Europe, including countries such as Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Is the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program free of charge?

Participation in the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program is free of charge. Start-ups that will qualify to the program cover only their own travel costs, accommodation and other costs related to possible participation in the workshops and program events taking place outside the place of residence of the team.

What formal requirements must start-ups meet in order to apply to the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program?

All formal requirements that start-ups must meet in order to apply to the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE accelerator are set out in the program rules and regulations available on our website.

Do I need a registered company when applying to the program?

No, there is no such a need at the application stage. However, if you qualify for the program, it is necessary to register a company before signing the acceleration agreement. 

What is the evaluation process of the applications submitted to the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE Acceleration program?

The evaluation process in our program is expanded and consists of a few different stages:

  1. formal assessment 
  2. substantive assessment – each application is reviewed by 3 international judges; 
  3. 1-on-1 interview 

Detailed information on the assessment of the application can be found in the program rules and regulations – §5. Substantive assessment of entries.

Which companies cooperate with the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program?

On the Partnership section of our website, you can check the list of the current program’s Partners.

How long is the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program?

The MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program requires commitment from the representatives of the start-up, who will participate in several workshop sessions taking place over three months. All of them might be run offline or online. Additionally, as part of the acceleration, the realization of pilot implementations, lasting up to 6 months, is planned. Representatives of start-ups are also obliged to participate in DemoDay, an event summarizing the program.

Which company members must participate in the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE acceleration program?

Each of the start-ups is obliged to send a minimum of one, and a maximum of two people, who will represent the company during the acceleration. These should be people who have a direct impact on the functioning of the start-up, ideally founders or co-founders.

By taking part in the program, do I have to share the details about my technology?

Start-ups participating in the program, wanting to use the support of experts and mentors as effectively as possible, should share the general knowledge about the developed technology and the problems that it solves. It is up to you on what level of detail this information is provided. We do not require confidential or key data from a start-up’s perspective.

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