Danube Energy+ - Newsletter_6


Danube energy+ case studies


Danube Energy+ (DE+) project tackles the need for change in regional ecosystems to support Young Innovators in transforming their disruptive ideas into ventures. Project´s general objective is to create an enabling environment, which will support Young Innovators to pioneer a change in the energy efficiency area by setting up highly innovative start-ups in the Danube macro-region.

We are happy to present and share with you a figures and examples based on the case studies for gained first-hand experience and knowledge from the whole process of the implementation of Danube Energy+ Ecosystem Package + Tool Pilots in the 9 partner countries (Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and Bulgaria).



Step 1. Young Innovators (YIs)' Identification & Motivation


To reach the Young Innovators (YIs), each of the partners carried out a number of half-a-day visits and motivation workshops. Depending on the factors in their environment, the partners applied a variety of approaches, such as:

  • networking with local ecosystem (contacting the partners organizations like incubators and accelerators, co-working spaces, etc.);
  • cooperating with established contacts with leading universities;
  • attracting the lead start-ups and industrial experts as lectors in motivation workshops;
  • organization or attending of appropriate events (fairs & conferences) where the target group, i.e. Young Innovators, was present;
  • active media coverage (posting at social medias and press releases).




Step 2. Training & Demo day & Connecting events


Training: The partners taken pretty the same approaches for resolving the Corona challenge in the process of implementation of this step like:

  • switch from physical to virtual meetings;
  • conducting trainings depending on the level of readiness of the partners’ teams for reorganization (transition from physical to virtual training) - postponing by 1-5 months;
  • technical tools used: Zoom; MS Teams; Miro; Canvanizer platform; WhatsApp group;
  • the duration of each training session per day was reduced down to 5 - 6 hours;

Demo days were included in the second part of the Pilot and all DE+ Young Innovators were enabled to get professional feedback by potential investors and business angels, as well as by energy professionals.

Connecting events were organized for all highly motivated and hardworking YIs teams with potential investors.





The applied approaches, for informing and motivating Young Innovators to get involved in the implementation of the Tool Pilots allowed the partners to achieve the required effectiveness of the set goals of at least 10 YIs involved in the trainings. The state of the innovation environment provokes the application of a combination of different approaches in the partner States, the effectiveness of which has been analyzed and shared by the project partners, for example:

  • Social media not useful as there are not enough followers as expressed by all partners.

“A social campaign not backed up by other methods is not efficient enough. It does not provide the necessary credibility to a new program, that said program is worth signing up for. Offering as many opportunities to interact with the organizing team (face to face, or via online webinars) and giving them value (motivation workshops with industry leaders) even before the start of the pre-acceleration program convinced many to not only apply, but also finish the Danube Energy+ Tool.” (Startup Transilvania Center, Romania)

„The most effective way to reach Young Innovators is to organize face-to-face meetings at the faculties of Universities and host events, to provide them basic information about the programme. Besides, very important Facebook and other online tools. Offering as many opportunities to interact with the organizing team (face to face, or via online webinars) and giving them value (motivation workshops) even before the start of the pre-acceleration program convinced many to apply.“ (European Initiatives Center, Ukraine)

  • Availability of well-established ecosystem.

“For the German Pilot this was the cooperation with "AXEL – The Energy Accelerator" and the chance for all Young Innovators to apply for the Team Training (4 weeks of intense training) and later onwards to the 1-year Team Development program of AXEL.”” (InnoEnergy, Germany)

„However, the envisioned format of the visits and workshops could hardly work in a research environment, where personal contact from within the institution itself, is the only form of contact that brings results, at least in Slovenia. In other words, recruitment of ideas only worked because we had already made a partnership with the institute itself, whereas it would fail if we tried to talk directly to the researchers themselves.“ (ABC- Accelerator, Slovenia)

“An important focus for promoting the project and motivating Young Innovators to participate was placed on the annual events of Cleantech Bulgaria such as: “The Demo day of the Accelerator Program and the Annual meeting of Cleantech Bulgaria stakeholders and partners”. Furthermore, information about the project was disseminated among the network of the Bulgarian ecosystem and personal contacts with representatives of the target group were also used.” (Cleantech Bulgaria).

  • Interactions with representatives of target groups (e.g. students)

“Another lesson learned concerns the interactions with students. For them, the value of the program is in the process of helping them translate projects at school (research that they are doing, apps that they are building) into a full product that can be launched on the market.” (Startup Transilvania Center, Romania)

“To motivate the youngest target groups is always intriguing and very demanding. The half-day visits were implemented with representatives of leading universities and innovation communities from our respectful partnership network and were performed in person in the beginning of the year, prior to the introduction of the national restrictive measures against the Covid-19 pandemic thus,  we managed to organize highly productive and efficient visits with the target group. These visits bring significant added value for the establishment of the Danube Energy+ Hub.“ (Cleantech Bulgaria)

  • Challenge for YIs to switch from an already planned offline program to an online one.

“For the individuals who had no team it was challenging to work entirely by themselves, but we managed to overcome these obstacles by splitting them into groups during the workshops so they could work together.” (SEE ICT, Serbia)







“Considering the current situation, we needed to think and act fast. This program provided high value in a short period of time - just two weeks. Now I need to expand the team and apply all the tips and tricks I picked up.” Semir Poturak, MasX (reusable face masks), Serbia

“What I liked most was the feeling that what I learned made me rethink about what I have done so far in developing my business idea.” Airbox: System that creates energy from fresh air, Germany 

„Danube Energy is a well-crafted program for early stage ideas. It helps you carve the raw ideas into a solid business design. It is an interesting experience because it broadens your perspective but at the same time narrows your focus on important aspects of making your idea into a reality".Bhushan, Gordost na fermera (Sustainable eco farming), Bulgaria

“Danube Energy+ gave the push I needed to start my own company and it helped me learn how to identify customers’ needs.” Alexandru Luchiian, Fermierul 4.0, Romania

“The possibility to start developing new technologies and innovative ideas on a market that doesn’t even not exist in our region is my motivation to apply to Danube Energy+ training programme.” Goran Tošić, Clever Building Design, Croatia



Managing Authority | Joint Secretariat
Széchenyi István tér 7-8 - 1051 Budapest, Hungary
E-mail: danube@interreg-danube.eu  | Web: www.interreg-danube.eu


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