Creators of future problem solvers- STEMI from Croatia
STEMI is an Ed-tech company that provides industry-based and career-connected educational STEAM programs for middle and high schools. As they point out in this social enterprise, they want to bridge a skills gap and create future problem solvers by using industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, IoT, robotics, drones, neuroscience as plug-and-play STEM programs for the schools. For their cutting-edge and socially innovative educational programs, STEMI won a 7000 euro award provided by UniCredit through the Finance4Social Change project.
„We make teachers' lives easier and students' time in school more interesting and engaging“, says Slobodan Velikić, director of the company STEMI and explains that STEM Education in middle and high schools around the world is very poor nowadays and it does not keep up with technology achievements in the world. „We knew that if we changed the way young people think and the way they approached problems, it would reflect the society. We had numerous proofs with the variety of schools and teenagers we have worked with within the past few years“, says Velikić.
The beginnings were not easy. The idea was there but the know-how was lacking, the money to develop the business and the business experience was lacking. However, the will and faith were there. „We did not have any fears, as we decided to create a successful social impact company, no matter what it takes. For us, failure was not an option“, says Velikić. However, running a business on daily basis brought a lot of small fears, about suppliers, the market, and what should be the next moves. The key success factor was support from those who believed in the idea and advice from experts in the business.
„We worked hard. We made mistakes and we learned from our mistakes. We listened to smarter and more experienced people and with support from our friends and family and from various individuals that liked our idea and believed in it, we developed our product. We now have an optimized partner in the US and more than 50 schools working on our program“, explains Velikić and adds that the next step is scaling the business internationally.
„We are currently developing a program in Artificial Intelligence and we would like to have it ready for the school year 2021-2022. We believe that many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be reached more easily by using technology and we want to offer to younger generations the education we did not have a chance to have“, points out Velikić and concludes that collaboration with Mr. Adrian Fuchs on the project F4SC provided valuable feedback which helped STEMI win the competition but also improved the business plan on the long run.