RFA for Software Engineering Studios for Developing & Executing Startup Macedonia’s Startup Platform

Startup Macedonia is looking for creative and skilled Software Engineers who will help us put into fruition our idea of creating a data-centric startup platform aimed to strengthen the Macedonian startup ecosystem.

Dear Applicants,

The non-profit organization Startup Macedonia is opening a call for applications for developing and executing a startup platform that will include data from the Macedonian startup ecosystem. The startup platform will include data and profiles of startups, startup support organizations, investors, donors and governmental institutions, and will be structured according to Startup Commons’ startup framework.

It is important to understand that the startup platform that will be built is not a short-term project with a direct impact, but it should be seen as a long-term support tool with indirect benefits that will affect the whole ecosystem.

Interested applicants can apply by submitting:

  • Letter of interest (up to 800 words) and project managers CVs that include specific knowledge and experience on similar duties and processes.
  • Companies’ background on Initiating, leading and participating in community projects with open source solution
  • Statement that the applicant has the Required qualifications (refer to Required qualifications on page 7)
  • Financial offer
  • In-kind support for the project in terms of maintenance or project management

Interested applicants are requested to submit these documents no later than March 26, 2019 end of business day via email to startupmacedonia@gmail.com in PDF format.

The Purpose of the Assignment

The Purpose of the Assignment is development and execution of Startup Macedonia’s new startup platform that involves data sets collected from the Macedonian startup ecosystem. The data sets include data from startups in various stages, startup organizations, investors, donors, government institutions and event data, all with the intent to improve connectivity of the overall ecosystem. This project is supported by USAID Business Ecosystem Project (BEP) grant support under number 1-11/2019.

Brief description of the organisation

Startup Macedonia is a non-profit organization formed in 2016 as a collective of experts, BSOs, founders and investors with the common goal to improve and strengthen the Macedonian startup ecosystem. The organization works on a variety of projects that involve various startup ecosystem stakeholders and investors.


The Startup Platform

The data-centric startup platform is envisioned to be a transparent and open information hub about the holistic ecosystem progress, events calendar, and as a place to find individual profiles of startups, organizations, investors, and mentors; with a goal to strengthen and empower development of the Macedonian startup ecosystem.

Major objectives of the platform:

  • Encourage the creation of new companies by educating entrepreneurs and help them connect with relevant talent pool, as well as mentors.
  • Improve growth of established companies with the supporting BSOs and partners to connect and matchmake with investors and mentors, in order to improve ecosystem growth and sustainability.
  • The platform will work to improved growth of startups, new job creation and increased investments and revenue across the ecosystem.
  • Ease the access to finance of the new and established companies by connecting them to investors, and other regional and international financial networks and tool and education to improve their business knowledge.
  • The data collection and management in the startup platform needs to follow Startup Commons’ startup framework which encompases specific services per phases of development of startups.
  • The platform needs to include services and features that will bring sustainability to Startup Macedonia and improve its revenue streams.

Description of the Agile Framework

Because the project involves working with and partnering with multiple startup ecosystem stakeholders, Startup Macedonia is building a platform according to Agile principles. We follow clearly defined objectives and we follow activities and milestones that are in accordance with the project. Agile development will include creating, minimum viable product that will be expanded in further stages, based on milestones and activities, based on feedback from ecosystem stakeholders.  We have early partners that will help us collect first data sets, and based on ecosystem stakeholders needs we plan to prioritize tasks in order to make the platform available for usin

Scope of Work & Activities

The platform should be an integrated solution that will aggregate data for the Macedonian startup ecosystem, using three different sources: startups, startup organizations and investors. The platform will have 3 different sections: public website, a portal for registered users and admin panel.

Public Website

The public website should give an overview of the platform, make it easy for all the stakeholders to log in or register and make it easy for them to navigate through all the public report. In addition to this, the main features the public website should have are:

  1. Represent the state of the Macedonian Startup Ecosystem through an interactive graph, demonstrating all startups, organizations and investors and their respective stages using the Startup Commons framework.
    ● The selected provider should develop a detailed algorithm for converting the gathered data for the Macedonian Startup Ecosystem into a comprehensive visual representation.
    ● The selected provider should suggest the most appropriate tools to use for visualizing the report and making it interactive.
  2. Integrate with Google Startup Digest, for displaying the relevant events taking place in Macedonia.
    ● Everyone should be able to subscribe to the digest and get notifications for events or activities of their interest.
  3. Have an integrated blog where the latest news or helpful articles can be published.

User Portal

The user portal is the place where every stakeholder can log in and manage their data. There will be 3 different user types: Investor, Startup and Startup Organization. The platform should be developed in a way that will allow for easy extension in the future and enable every stakeholder to add other users that are part of their organization and set permissions for them.

Main features of the user portal:

1. Log in and register functionality for every user type.

2. All users should be able to participate in Startup Macedonia surveys through the user portal and provide the data needed for keeping the reports up to date. In addition to this, Startup Organizations should be able to import relevant data in bulk, using Excel import.

3. The users should be able to filter through a list of startups/events/finance opportunities accordingly, depending on their type.

  • Startup should be able to browse through events, workshops and other support using advanced filters. They should be able to subscribe and be notified for future events.
  • Startup organizations and investors should be able to browse through the list of startups using advanced filters.

4. Startup organizations should have the ability to add new events and workshops, which will be automatically integrated with Google Startup Digest. They should have tools for importing and exporting event data. This feature is connected with cohort profiles for managing, adding, and attendance count on an event.

Admin Panel

The admin panel should make it easy for Startup Macedonia staff to manage all users, events, reports and gathered data used for the visualization with the Startup Commons framework.

1. The admin should be able to list all users and manage them.

  • This includes features for adding, editing, previewing and deleting users, as well as the option to impersonate the selected user.

2. The admin should be able to import existing data sets from Excel documents, normalize them and use them for the visualized reporting.

3. The admin should be able to create different surveys for all user types and automatically ask the platform users to participate in order to keep the reports up to date.

4. The admin should be able to map all survey fields to the related parameters of the Startup Commons framework in order for the platform to display the visualization properly.

5. The admin panel should have features that help collect data from events and connect data with various data sets, including demographics, interest, and location, among others.

6. The admin panel should integrate with a CMS that will allow the administrators to easily manage the content on the website, as well as publish news and articles easily.

7. The admin panel should include integrated sustainability tools for promoting events, organizations, programs, and startups.

Third Party Integrations

The platform should be developed in a way that allows for easy integration with third-party systems.

  • The selected provider should build REST APIs that will make it easy for other startup organizations to access Startup Macedonia report data. The goal is to be able to collaborate with other startup organizations on an international level and participate in mapping the global state of the startup ecosystem.
  • The platform should allow for external integration of various tools and APIs that are necessary for data collection and management. This includes tools and features for secure third-party extraction of predefined data by BSOs and investors.

Requirements

Startup Macedonia expects all applicants to be able to provide, as minimum, some experience, case studies, references, and resources to undertake the aforementioned objectives. The score of work will be defined according to milestones defined in advance that correspond to the following criteria:

  • Activity #1: Designing, developing, testing and executing workable version of a startup platform for connecting the ecosystem by utilizing the following technologies and methods: Laravel, PHP Unit, REST APIs, Vue.js, Extendible Code Design, Responsive Design, Continuous Integration.
    • Design skeletal framework, wireframes and mockups with a prototyping tool like Axure that can support the creation of the platform according to Startup Commons Startup Development Phases Framework (Wireframes and Mockups – done by end of May 2019)
    • Design Database structure with MySQL according to the technical specifications, which includes implementing the API services in Laravel for retrieving data from the database and using it on the frontend through Vue.js; and execution of unit testing for the APIs.
    • Ensure stable platform deployment, which includes setting up an AWS server; updating existing data to fit DB schema, creating SQL migrations, and performance tests.  (done by end of July 2019)
  • Activity #2: Enable web tools and APIs for data-collection and mapping of the ecosystem (startups, investments, events and programs, and services from startup organizations).
    • Developing of the platform needs to be done in RESTful fashion in order to support creation of REST APIs for data collection and data management of data sets gathered from startups, BSOs, investors and other institutions.
    • Implement frontend functionality, which includes, among other things, development of  the frontend components and user-side functionality with Vue.js; connecting the frontend with the implemented Laravel APIs to be able to use the real data dynamically; implementing the admin panel with the needed functionality to add, edit and delete records; manage users; and organize the stages of development and services in each phase according to Startup Commons framework of the important entities in the ecosystem (first public version of the platform done by end of December 2019)
  • Activity #3: Establish various processes for long-term maintenance of the startup platform and ease data-collection, which will help with establishing long-term sustainability model for the organization, as well as enable long-term ecosystem development with the feedback from the ecosystem stakeholders. 
    • Designing the system by using good software design practices which will ease the maintenance and extension of the software, as well as ease connectivity and usage of third-party APIs and services.
    • Develop new sustainability tools and features using various technologies and services, including custom CMS, automated data sync, and API integrations, which will enable Startup Macedonia to improve its research capabilities, connectivity across the ecosystem, as well as integrations with third-party services.
    • Establishing data management and data maintenance processes that will ease the platform usage by the Startup Macedonia staff, by developing a comprehensive custom CMS.
    • Establishing stakeholder management to improve the connectivity across the ecosystem.
    • Establishing lean startup processes, including other startup frameworks, that will ensure collection of relevant data that is needed for the long-term strategy of the project. 
    • This includes usage of design patterns, SOLID design principles and RESTful architecture which will ensure data sets are streamlined with third-party APIs and data collection is made possible across organization and web technologies and tools. (done by end of December 2020)
  • Activity #4: Ensuring data security across the platform in accordance to GDPR rules and in accordance to the Macedonian Laws on privacy and data protection on personal information. This includes ensuring security which will include not only the platform, and the collected data-sets, but also the third-party APIs alignment and connectivity.  (done before data gathering)

 Deliverables and Timelines

The project starts from 1th of April 2019 and ends 31th of January 2021. Startup Macedonia expects that a data-driven startup platform will be developed, tested and a workable version executed within 9 months starting from 1th of April 2019 ending 31th of December 2019.  Adding new features based of revenue models  from 1th of January 2020 – end of December 2020).

The deliverables needs to be set within the aforementioned timeline.

Selection Process and Financial Allocation:

Any award to be made will be based on the applicant’s proposal with appropriate consideration given to the required qualifications, technical deliverables, cost, and management requirements.

The method of payment will be agreed based on milestone deliverables, agreed between Startup Macedonia and the applicant before the official start of the collaboration. The terms of the payment schedule will be developed in one of the following ways: a) After delivery of the completed milestone; b) According to the timetable;

Selection process will include scoring based on milestones and activities, aforementioned in detail in “Requirements”, which is define in the following scoring order:

  • Letter of interest (up to 800 words) and project managers CVs that include specific knowledge and experience on similar duties and processes – carries 10 points
  • Companies’ background on Initiating, leading and participating in community projects with open source solution carries 30 points
  • Required qualifications carry 15 points
  • Financial offer carries 30 points
  • In-kind support for the project in terms of maintenance or project management carries 15 points

Required qualifications:

The selected provider needs to be a company with the professional expertise and track record in the following technology areas and services:

  • Back-end development, RESTful architecture;
  • Front-end development and usage of Javascript frameworks;
  • Developing scalable solutions, easy to extend and maintain;
  • Data collection and management;
  • Project and team management.
  • Experience and expertise in security and privacy, including basic understanding of EUs GDPR rules.

Evaluation criterias will include also: companies’ background on Initiating, leading and participating in community projects with open source solutions;  experience and expertise with development of startups, lean methodology and other startup frameworks; in kind support for the project in terms of maintenance or project management; local personal availability and responsiveness during the duration of the project.

Job opening at Startup Macedonia

Startup Macedonia is looking for a versatile and skillful Project Manager who will help us with the development of a new ecosystem-wide startup platform. The platform is being built with the partnership of multiple organizations, experts and donor.

The job:

  • This is a paid employment for 2 years, with an option to extend the contract further.
  • You will work with Startup Macedonia’s board, external consultants and experts, as well as connect with the Macedonian startup ecosystem on daily basis.
  • You will manage the project’s development and see that deadlines are reached on time.
  • You will work on improving Startup Macedonia’s brand and its network of local and international partners.
  • This includes event organizing, content creation & promotion of the organization and the ecosystem on social and other digital channels.

What we offer:

  • Paid employment for two years.
  • Open access to the entire ecosystem. You’ll work with startups, experts, consultants, startup organizations, funds, investors, government and donors on daily basis.
  • You’ll be paving the way for a better and more structured ecosystem.
  • You’ll learn a lot… we all have and continue to do so.

The qualifications:

  • You need to know something about startups.
  • You are dedicated, communicative, open-minded and tech-savvy.
  • You have experience, or some knowledge, in project management.
  • You are ready to go the extra mile in order to do a great job.
  • You are responsible and you respect deadlines. No exceptions.
  • Are comfortable in writing and communicating in English.
  • You have some digital marketing experience or are interested to expand your skillset.

Feel free to contact us with further questions. We are expecting CVs and cover letters at startupmacedonia (AT) gmail (.) com by 1st of February 2019.

Стартап Македонија се формира како заедница на креативни претприемачи

Стартап Македонија е основана како непрофитна Асоцијација на стартапи, креативни претприемачи, акцелератори и инвеститори кои ќе работат заедно да креираат средина во која иновативноста ќе биде наградена и новите идеи ќе бидат претворени во издржани бизниси. Македонија за жал заостанува зад своите најблиски соседи кога се иновациите во прашање, но сега повеќе од било кога претходно, има интерес и потенцијал со кој можат да се охрабрат претприемачите во создавање на нови иновативни компании.
Стартапите се есенцијални за развојот на економијата и напредокот на Македонија, вели Глигор Дачевски, директор и основач на DoxOut и SportyPal. Затоа првите дејности на Стартап Македонија ќе биде да се мапираат екосистемот на сите нови компании и организации кои работат со иновациите.
„Стартап Македонија ја создадовме со цел да ја зголемиме свесноста за значењето на стартапите; поорганизирано да преземаме мерки и акции со цел да се развива, како и да си помогнеме самите себеси, со споделување на искуства и знаење за развој на стартапити во кои делуваме“, вели Глигор. „Сакаме да се запознаеме или да направиме еден репозиториј на активните членови на таа заедница, да поддржиме настани кои ја промовираат и потенцираат стартап културата, до акции кои ќе значат промена на легислативата за да можат стартапите рапидно да се развиваат, а инвеститорите непречено и стимулативно да инвестираат во нив“.
Заедно основачите на новите компании и искусните претприемачи се согласуваат дека Стартап Македонија може да помогне во креирање на продуктивна бизнис средина. Но, првин треба да се решат основните проблеми како создадевање култура на соработката, во која иновативноста ќе бида секојдневние. „Пред дa збoрувaме зa вмрежувaње нa стaртaп зaедницaтa, нaјпрвo требa дa јa изградиме, дa функциoнирaме кaкo зaедницa. Ние сме се уште вo oвaa фaзa. Дa спoделувaме знaење, искуства, кoнтaкти, дa соработуваме…“, вели Наташа Петкова, ко-основач на Fox Media House.
„Изoлирaнoстa е еден oд нaјгoлемите прoблеми нa кoи сметaм декa требa дa рaбoтиме. Требa дa рaбoтиме и нa прoмoвирaње и грaдење нa стaртaп духoт. Ни недoстaсувa мaлку aгресивнoст и хрaбрoст дa ги грaбнеме мoжнoстите. Знaеш ли сaмo кoлку нaши стaртaпи се имaaт oткaжaнo вo мoментoт кoгa инвеститoрите ќе им кaжaт декa се зaинтересирaни дa инвестирaaт вo нив?“, вели Наташа.
Предизвиците со кои се соочуваат иновативните македонски компаниии се многубројни и чести, но постојат решенија, вели Давид Павловски, директор на Founders Institute. За Давид, Стартап Македонија претставува шанса да се креира уникатна заедница која ќе споделува важни информации што ќе им помогнат на претприемачите.

„Секој иден стартап треба да се фокусира на неколку релеванти точки: да најде листа на добри локални ментори; да најде експерти кои ќе му помогнат во градење на компанијата во сите сегменти, од маркетинг до продажба и инвестиции; место каде стартапите ќе можат да разговараат за equity и други клучни работи што му се потребни на еден претприемач да се развива. Стартап Македонија треба да биде заедница каде за прв пат претприемачите ќе можат да соработуваат со луѓе што имаат вештини како нив“, вели Давид.

За Петар Ниновски, основач на Brainster, соработката помеѓу локалните и регионалните претприемачи ќе значи само поттик да се создадат успешни и иновативни бизниси. „Колку посилна заедница толку подобро за сите нас. Конкретни промени можат фа се направат само со здружено делување“, вели тој.
Една од примарните задачи на Стартап Македонија е да го поврзе претприемачите во другите градови. Скопје е метрополата која е домаќин на поголемиот број стартапи и претприемачи, но има иновативни компании кои се основани и Скопје, Битола, Струмица и Охрид. Јасна Тренгоска, ко-основач на H-Sense и директорка на Girls in Tech Macedonia, вели дека обврската на заедницата е да потикне брилијантните идеи да станат вистински бизниси кои ќе ја освојат Македонија, и можеби нивната успешна приказна ќе излезе надвор од границите..
„Мислам дека конкурентноста на стартапите многу зависи од mindset-от на основачите и луѓето кои работат во одреден стартап. Често среќавам луѓе со брилијантни стартап идеи, кои можеби и никогаш нема да се реализираат и да се најдат на пазарот, бидејќи понекогаш сопствениците на тие идеи не се подготвени да превземаат ризици. Од овој аспект, мислам дека е обврска на заедницата да помогне во креирањето на по-динамичен и претприемачки начин на размислување кај луѓето, со што би се охрабриле да се впуштаат во предизвици и поуспешно да го реализираат својот потенцијал“, вели Јасна.

За сега, предизвиците се пред целата заедница на Стартап Македонија да ги оствари целите кои ќе донесат поконкуретна претприемачка култура. „Јaс мнoгу би сaкaлa дa мoжaм еден ден дa нaбрoјaм бaрем три стaртaпи сo кoи се гoрдеaм. Лoкaлни стaртaп херoи, кoи имaле гoлемa пoбедa. Тoгaш ќе кажам декa oвaa зaедницa си јa oствaрилa својата мисијa, a и јaс свoјaтa“, вели Наташа.

Startup Macedonia at the Balkan Changemakers’ Weekend

We are excited to announce that our members will be part of Balkan Changemakers’ Weekend in Struga organized by SECO EP, project supported by the Swiss government and implemented by Swisscontact, together with J.E. Austin.

The event starts on Friday August, 26th and will welcome startup community leaders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo. Participants for the weekend include representatives from SECO EP Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Oficina in Tirana, Albania; HUB385 in Zagreb, Croatia; Innovation Centre Kosovo and UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo in Prishtina, Kosovo; and StartUp Grind and StartUp Weekend in Skopje, Macedonia. Also in attendance will be start-up community members including Imagga from Bulgaria, Vollo from Croatia, and Brainster from Macedonia.

The main topic of the event will be: How to continue to inspire and motivate people to strive for entrepreneurship and developing innovative businesses?
We are looking forward meeting all those awesome community leaders who can share their experiences and give us constructive advice on how we can achieve our goals.

Здраво дизајнери, ни треба вашата поддршка!

Startup Macedonia e асоцијација која е формирана од стартап заедницата, со цел е да и помогне на стартап заедницата. Но, на почеток потребно ни е помош да креираме бренд.

Затоа објавуваме повик до македонските дизајнери да се приклучат на стартап заедницата, да и дадат поддршка на Startup Macedonia и да креираат лого за асоцијацијата. Идеите во векторски формат праќајте ги на startupmacedonia (at) gmail. На крај ќе ги објавиме сите идеи. 🙂

Идејата за да се стартува Startup Macedonia како асоцијација доаѓа од група на стартап ентузијасти, експерти, инвеститори, акцелератори и организации кои имаат заедничка цел – да ја поврзат македонската стартап заедница и да ги охрабрат и помогнат стартапите да креираат поволна и креативна средина за работа.

Македонскиот стартап систем не е доволно развиен, но не поради недостаток на амбицијата, туку поради недостатокот на меѓусебната соработка, транспарентност и поддршка меѓу заедницата; кои се важни за градење на една здрава и креативна заедница.

Startup Macedonia ќе биде организација чии цели се следни:

  • Да го поттикне претприемачкиот дух, и да охрабри култура на иновации и стартап-инвестиции.
  • Да ја поврзе стартап заедницата и сите кои се вклучени во еко-системот.
  • Да креира дата база на стартапи, ментори и експерти кои ќе споделуваат знаење.
  • Да креира средина каде ќе се разговара отворено за проблемите и решенијата, и заедно ќе се работи кон поголема иновативност.
  • Идентификување на проблемите, решенијата и елиминација на бариери кои го ограничуваат развојот на стартапите во Р. Македонија.
  • Подобрување на правната регулатива која се однесува на стартапите и зголемување на атрактивноста за инвеститори надвор од Р. Македонија.
  • Да ги промовира и поддржи настаните, хакатоните и демо деновите.
  • Да поттикне соработка помеѓу македонските стартапи и интернационалните стартапи, стартап акцелератори и организации, фондови, и други иницијативи.
  • Да поттикне соработка помеѓу бизнис заедницата во Македонија за да се креираат закони и бизнис култура кои ќе поттикнат иновативност.
    ….

Секој може да се вклучи во Startup Macedonia. Aко сте организација или институција пополнете ја оваа форма, ако сте стартап, пополнете ја оваа форма.

Introducing Startup Macedonia

Startup Macedonia is an Association created by a group of Macedonian startup enthusiasts, experts, investors, accelerators and organisations. We have one common goal: to connect the Macedonian startup community, encourage and help create a suitable and creative work environment for startups in Macedonia.

One of the first goals of Startup Macedonia is to map all the players in the Macedonian startup ecosystem. In order to do that, we need your contribution! The initial meeting of the Macedonian startup ecosystem leaders was to sit down, talk and map real problems that each organization or institution, as well as the whole community is facing.

The association was created by the startup community with their full support. But in order to give back to the community, we need your contribution!

Thank you for your support! 🙂