- The Czech finals of the Creative Business Cup international competition took place at the Tomáš Baťa Memorial in Zlín on the 30th March 2021.
- The winner of the competition, Readmio, will represent Czech Republic at the global finals in Copenhagen.
- The second place went to Kave Footwear, an ecologic footwear manufacturer, whose shoes are made – among other materials – from coffee grounds. Leitners Watch, a startup from Brno which tries to connect modern technologies with traditional watchmaking, placed third.
The Creative Business Cup 2021 competition, which allowed CzechInvest to showcase the best startups from the field of cultural and creative industries, knows its winners. The first prize and the possibility to represent Czech Republic at the global finals in Copenhagen (online) went to Readmio; a startup whose app uses automatic voice recognition to follow the reading of a fairy tale and enhance it with sound effects, in order to make family time more interesting. The second and third place went to companies with material products – Kave Footware with their ecologic sneakers made from coffee grounds, and Leitners Watch who merge traditional watchmaking with modern technologies.
“CzechInvest’s mission is to help Czech entrepreneurs and make Czechia a prosperous, self-confident country. All entrepreneurs need determination, enthusiasm and a great idea. Yesterday’s competitors, however, have something more: a broader social purpose and the capacity to find market niches, or even to create new ones. They managed to show that Czech creativity has global potential,” commented CzechInvest’s CEO, Patrik Reichl.
This was CzechInvest’s fourth time holding the competition. This time, the finals ceremony took place at the Tomáš Baťa Memorial in Zlín. This was no accident: the Zlín Creative Cluster was Czech Republic’s first cluster specialized in creative industries. One of its original co-sponsors, the eurodeputy Martina Dlabajová, has been specializing in the topic of creative industries for several years. „Whether we are politicians, entrepreneurs or creatives, our main goal is presenting Czech Republic as a country of creativity and innovation,” says MEP Martina Dlabajová. She continues: “As showed by the mapping of creative industries, which took place at the beginning of the whole effort, the Zlín region as well as the whole of Czechia have an incredible number of creative and innovative companies and institutions. Their weakness lies in cooperation. This is, why we created the Zlín Creative Cluster and why I am so grateful for events like the Creative Business Cup. As I see it, Czechia’s biggest opportunity lies in connecting talented people to achieve something greater – ideally on a global scale.”
A total of ten projects competed for the prizes, as well as for the possibility to represent Czech Republic at the global finals. They covered various fields and included, for instance, a new type of circular textile, an innovative alarm clock, or a project bridging the world of visually impaired people with the rest of the society. At the end, the first place went to the Readmio startup and its app for reading fairy tales to children.
A fairy tale app for both children and adults
Readmio was created to allow families to spend more time together reading fairy tales – a gratifying activity that can strengthen their bonds and make reading more interesting for today’s children who are used to modern technologies. The mobile app for iOS and Android enhances reading fairy tales by adding a professionally made soundtrack similar to that of audiobooks. The various sounds are triggered thanks to automatic speech recognition. The fairy tale app currently does not have direct competition and has already been downloaded by 100 thousand parents who made it a worldwide success.
“Our team comes from various parts of the world, but we are based in Czechia. Here, I met smart and innovative people and I am happy that the Czech startup community is growing so fast. It is also in Czechia that we look for business partners, be it startups or established companies. I must thank my team for their hard work, as well as CzechInvest for their support on our journey towards global success,” says Readmio’s CEO, Ilya Novodvorskiy, who worked for well-known Czech technological companies such as AVAST or STRV before founding his startup.
Sneakers made from garbage and coffee grounds
The second place in the competition went to Zlín-based Kave Footwear who manufacture sneakers from waste material. These sneakers are locally made in their Zlín factory, using Baťa’s machinery from the first half of last century and other pre-existing equipment. One of the employed materials is coffee grounds, but a pair of new sneakers can also be made using an older one. The startup creates its limited editions in cooperation with leading Czech artists, such as the illustrator Eliška Podzimková or the tattoo artist Ondrash. Thanks to the minimal ecological footprint and their limited editions, the Czech sneakers are popular both in Czech Republic and abroad. The startup’s founder, Eva Klabalová, is currently in negotiation with American companies.
“We want to show the big brands that there are ways to manufacture products in a sustainable fashion by creating a functional and responsible design,” says the startup’s founder, Eva Klabalová. She goes on: “We are constantly watching for further partners, businesses that would share our mission. We have therefore welcomed the possibility to present our project at the Creative Business Cup.”
Watchmaking for the 21st century
The third place went to the young business Leitners Watch who connect traditional watchmaking with modern technologies. Based in Brno, the company develops and makes hybrid watches which feature an automatic movement but can also be connected to a smartphone and support smart functions. Leitners Watch’s first product is the Ad Maiora smartwatch which was very successful on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. The startup mainly targets high-end customers.
“We have created the first hybrid watch in the world and our successful Kickstarter campaign confirmed the global demand for the product. We have raised more than CZK 5 million directly from our customers and I am also happy about our success in today’s competition. But they are only the first steps on our journey to become a globally relevant watchmaking company,” says Rostislav Slovák, Leitners Watch’s founder, about the future of his company.
Drink it, eat it
The winners of the national finals of the Creative Business Cup 2021 were selected by an expert jury comprised of Markéta Přenosilová from CzechInvest, Lukáš Trčka from the Technological Innovation Center Zlín, Jitka Alexová from UTB Upper, a university incubator, Tomáš Cironis from the Startup World Cup & Summit and Ondřej Kašpárek from the competition’s main sponsor, Prusa Research. However, the audience could also vote for their favorites. The popularity contest prize went to the aptly named Jedlý kelímek – The Edible Cup, whose creators aim to lower the consumption of single-use plastic or paper cups. They therefore developed an alternative that is not only ecological, but also tasty. The cup is made from an edible wafer and can hold a beverage for up to 12 hours. If the consumers also want to enjoy a crispy wafer, they have 40 minutes. The unique technology and recipe were co-created by the startup and academics from the Czech Technical University in Prague and the Food Research Institute Prague.
The whole event was sponsored by Prusa Research, the Technological Innovation Center Zlín, UPPER - the university incubator of the Faculty of Multimedia Communications of the Tomas Bata University in Zlín, the Zlín Creative Cluster, Havel and Partners, SWCSummit, Startupjobs, Idealab, IS Produkce, Creative Czechia/Kreativní Česko, the Zlín municipality, the Zlín region, the Tomáš Baťa Memorial in Zlín and PrusaLab. The media partners were: Český rozhlas Zlín, Roklen24, Startupjobs Newsroom, CzechCrunch, Tyinternety and CzechStartups.org.
The global finals of the Creative Business Cup will see the competition of the national winners from more than 70 countries and will take place in Copenhagen at the end of June. Due to the current situation, they will be held online and feature two separate events, as they will also include last year’s finals. In these, Czechia will be represented by the last year’s national winner, Nenech to být (Don’t let it go) – a platform for fighting school bullying and bad practices in companies by the Brno-based FaceUp Technology.
Did you miss the national finals? Check out the stream!
About the Creative Business Cup competition
The Creative Business Network is a non-profit organization specialized in supporting startups in the field of creative industries. Since 2012, it has been holding its annual Creative Business Cup competition with the aim of supporting creative startups, fostering their collaboration and helping them find investors and enter foreign markets. For the last four years, the Czech national round has been organized by The Business and Investment Development Agency CzechInvest.
CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of supporting business and investments in its comprehensive form. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of services and the ability to connect global trends with regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s main objectives is transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. Established in 1992, CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. More information is available on www.czechinvest.org or via CzechInvest’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
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