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STup! international startup competition once more draws a youthful and innovative crowd to Split!

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


The fourth edition of STup! – the fantastic university startup competition organized by the Student Business Incubator of the Faculty of Economics in Split – gathered an impressive number of 30 startup teams from 17 various universities located across 10 countries worldwide.

All of that right here in Split during the two competition days this past Friday and Saturday!

To quote the Mayor of Split, Professor Ivica Puljak, who opened the competition: “It is wonderful to see so many young people from all over the world who came here to Split to work on a variety of innovative solutions for the future!

Ivica Puljak addressing the STup!2023 attendees during the Opening Ceremony

And we would definitely agree with Split’s mayor on this because, as every year so far, STup! makes Split into a worldwide innovation hub. That was even more evident this year as the competition itself was part of the University Green Digital HUB project and also included several days of intensive pre-competition workshops for all the participants.

Aside from the always fantastic team from the Student Business Incubator and their enthusiastic volunteers, STup! was also realized with the support of the City of Split, the European Universities of the Seas Alliance (SEA-EU), the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) and the Tourist Board of the City of Split.

STup! startup competition underway – pitch sessions and jury questions
Long days, longer nights

The first day of STup! was indeed long – with all 30 teams pitching, it couldn’t have been different. However, no one actually felt that. Expertly guided by Pinija Poljaković and full of interesting ideas presented and tough questions posed by the jury, coupled with coffee breaks and a lunch break that we all used for networking and getting to know each other better – the first day flew by very quickly despite its packed schedule.

By the end of it, we were on the edge of our seats for the announcement of the 8 finalists!

We will not keep you in such a state of anticipation and will name them all without further ado: Adity, ADSOL, Cobalt Contraception, ECODECS, Evacuate, FarmIt, Smart Nest, and Starkid Universe.

STup!2023 finalists after the conclusion of Day 1

Two startups picked from 4 different pitching groups that covered this year’s STup! competition categories:

  • AgriTech
  • Food and Bioeconomy
  • MarTech
  • Energy and Environmental Sustainability
  • Sustainable Fashion
  • Robotics, AI, and IoT
  • Education (EdTech)
  • Tourism and Creative Industry
  • Medicine and Quality of Life

We also have to note that the long first day of STup! did not conclude then, but lasted well into the night. All the participants, judges, organizers, volunteers, and attendees got to relax after the first competition day with the well-known STup! Party.

What can we say – we didn’t want such a great day to ever end! 😉

All smiles at STup! – as it should be!
Fantastic finals

No matter the long night, Day 2 arrived and once more we all gathered at the Faculty of Economics for the finals – coupled with a few extra cups of coffee. It turned out that maybe we didn’t even need the extra coffee because any finals are edge-of-the-seat material, STup! ones especially!

The final showdown had eight startups pitching and successfully navigating the follow-up sessions when judges got to grill them with very to-the-point questions.

Not easy for the startups, but neither for the jury. This is what they decided in the end…

STup! jury at work – tough questions and tougher decisions

STup!2023 Best University Startups 2023 winners:

  1. ECODECS (Spain)
  2. FarmIt (Serbia)
  3. Smart Nest (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia)

The winners won the possibility to participate in the Startup Executive Academy run by Silicon Castles, a strategic business accelerator from Austria, as well as participation and presentation at Wolves Summit – the largest entrepreneurial conference in Central and Eastern Europe that brings together over 2,000 startup companies looking for investment and investors from all over the world. The first three teams also won $5,000 in credits from the SendPulse platform.

The winners of special Infobip prizes – €7,500.00 for the winner for the use of Infobip’s communication technology, €5,000.00 for the second place, and €2,500.00 for the third place, as well as tickets to the Shift Conference:

  1. Evacuate (Malta)
  2. FarmIt (Serbia)
  3. Adity (Spain)
The prize winners and the jury members are all smiles for that final STup! photo

We also have to add that this year’s STup! competition also brought prizes for all participants: they received three free months of using the QuilBot tool.

In addition to STup! supporters who offered valuable awards for winning startup teams, it is also worth mentioning the competition partners from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR).

Furthermore, Dalmacijavino – Pipi provided tasty drinks for participants throughout the two days, while the Split Tourist Board made sure our international guests had unforgettable experiences here in Split, and Promet Split provided support with free transportation for all participants during the event.

Still in high school, but brave enough for STup! international stage – Blaž pitching for Smart Nest

And we shouldn’t forget the project STup!2023 is a part of – University Green Digital HUB!

The program of the University Green Digital HUB project aims to strengthen initiatives and skills directed at innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development among students. In addition, all University Green Digital HUB program activities encourage the participation of young people in the community encouraging them to act as active citizens and promoting the development of green-oriented student entrepreneurial ideas.

The main goal of the University Green Digital HUB project is to strengthen the digital, green, and entrepreneurial skills of students, university startups, and university employees, as well as to improve the capacity of higher education institutions in the field of teaching for the digital and green transition.

The overall duration of the University Green Digital HUB project is 24 months, and it is co-financed with funds from the Erasmus+ program – Key Activity 2: Partnerships for cooperation for the field of higher education.

Another successful STup! competition concludes

In the end, we would like to congratulate the Student Business Incubator for one more amazing international event they brought to our city. And one that lasted a full week and was packed with innovation and hard work!

They always say “Don’t write so much about us!” but we do believe their hard work, while being their highest praise, is also worth mentioning. So, a typed-up standing ovation for the Student Business Incubator team:

You and STup! were amazing once more! 😀

To wrap this overview up, the entire Split Tech City community sends a rocket full of good wishes for the future development and growth of all 30 startups! Keep being awesome! 🙂

Photos: Student Business Incubator


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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