SPARK is an accelerator programme for digital technology startups, based in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. The programme provides young startups and budding entrepreneurs with the tools and mentorship they need to develop their ideas into real businesses. It runs several programmes like SPARK school, SPARK r&d, SPARK startup, and SPARK business.
SPARK school educates future digital professionals through free-of-charge workshops in programming, mobile app development, operating system, design, and project management.
SPARK r&d specializes in research and development by applying the latest technological trends. The team develops the web, mobile and desktop applications using the latest open-source technologies that encompass a wide range of frontend and backend solutions to various databases.
SPARK startup accelerates startup teams with a great business idea and takes them on an exciting entrepreneurial journey. The industries of focus are Gaming & Sports Data, IoT & Big Data, and Digital Media & E-Commerce.
SPARK business supports existing companies in these services: Marketing, Human Resources, Business Advisory and Consulting, Research & Development, Event Management and Coworking Space.
In order to stand out out from other accelerator programmes, SPARK uses gamification tactics to teach startups how to run a company, motivate their teams, and foster competition. SPARK has developed an app called Play, Learn and Earn that can be used by accelerators to improve learning and track progress using games. The app also enables users to earn virtual money as a reward for reaching certain milestones. On the other side, startups will lose virtual money when they fail to reach their goals. Ultimately the developers want to build an app using cryptocurrency, which will be called SPARKoins.
Ivona Ćorić, finance and business startup manager at SPARK, stated: “We came up with this kind of idea so we can help youngsters in developing a positive competitive spirit, but also to give them a chance to understand the financial elements of the business environment, through virtual SPARKoins. We truly hope that this concept will enable a quality insight to owning a business, but also build up better constructive relationships between startups and startup accelerators.”
SPARK has shared its gaming techniques with other accelerators too. It applied to the Digital Cities project, founded by the British Council, and HM Government, which is working with Balkan countries to help further develop the Play, Learn and Earn programme and has partnered with two UK-based accelerators (Supreme Factory and Acorn Aspiration). The demo version of the game is available now.