Nine Innovative Startup Heroes Launch Products at “Tinex”

The culture of innovation and the improvement of the startup ecosystem in the country is fostered through cooperation between the public, the corporate sector, and the startup community. These are the links that contribute to increasing the sustainability level of startups. The “Startup Heroes” challenge, implemented by the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, in cooperation with the corporate partner Tinex markets and supported by the Swiss Increasing Market Employability Programme – IME, solves the domestic producers’ need for reaching out to as many customers as possible and increase their market share.

Nine Macedonian startup companies have already started selling their innovative products in Tinex markets. The products of “Matryoshka” – Wice wine ice cream, “Eval” which sells fresh truffles, and various products which include Macedonian truffles, micronutrients produced with in vitro technology – micro plant of the company “Plant”, are now available in Tinex.

On the supermarket shelves, one can also find protein crackers with reduced carbohydrates of “Pro-Fit Vis”, Chia Fresca – non-alcoholic energy drink based on chia seeds of the startup “Qinado”, “Scoop” with three flavors of premium ice cream, “Bakrevski Brewery” with the first Macedonian non-alcoholic craft beer, “Fila Kozmetik” with domestic cosmetic products from natural ingredients and “Pivolabs” producing beer which is a hybrid of classic IPA with dark beer styles.

All of these products can be found in ten Tinex markets in the following locations: Zebra, Godel, Prvomajska, Lisa, East Gate Mall, Koncar, Majcin Dom, Prashka, Juzhen Bulevar and in Hrom.

“We have made a significant step in strengthening the cooperation between the corporate sector and startup companies, which I am sure will encourage the innovation capacity and competitiveness of Macedonian companies. We have shown that our country has potential and can offer innovative domestic products that deserve to find their place on the shelves in the markets. Through the support of the Fund and the corporate partners, Startup Heroes can be promoted side by side with big brands, accessing new markets and new customers. FITD is an institution that always supports innovative companies that have the ambition and potential to develop a successful business story. I wish all startups great success in marketing and selling their products, which I hope will be able to fight for their place on the market” – said Festim Halili, Director General of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development.

The total budget for the challenge was 7 million denars, of which FITD provided six and IME one million denars, with a maximum amount per application being 600,000 denars.

Cvetanka Hristovska, Brand Director of Tinex, pointed out that participation of Tinex in a project that contributes to the development of the startup community is of great importance for their own company, which continuously supports developing startups that need support for successfull product presentation and market development.

“The introduction of new products is one of the most important phases of the product life cycle, and the successful launch of a new product on the market is a really important basis for success. The best way to achieve good results is to apply an already tried and tested process, thus the products will be placed on branded shelves and appropriately visibly marked in ten supermarkets, plus in addition to commercial advertising, we will give way to new forms of communication such as digital and viral marketing”, Hristovska concludes.

The final selection committee consisted of experts in the relevant field from the sphere of business development and/ or marketing and sales, including one expert from Tinex, FITD, and the Swiss Increasing Market Employability Programme – IME respectively.

“Cooperation between the public, corporate sector, and startup companies is key to fostering a culture of innovation and improving the country’s startup ecosystem. The Swiss Increasing Market Employability Programme – IME supported by Switzerland helps establish such links and provides experts who mentor the selected startup companies in finalizing the products, developing the brand, and improving the attractiveness of the product. For instance, IME advocates for the use of neuromarketing tools, helping companies to better prepare themselves to become successful suppliers of supermarkets such as “Tinex”. Direct market entry and mentoring will help startups achieve faster growth, greater operability, increased product portfolios, and create new jobs. “Startup Heroes” has proven to be a great initiative to mobilize and strengthen the connection between startups and established businesses. These first experiences can serve as an example of continuing the successful approach, which encourages the development of technologically advanced and innovative products for the domestic and international market.” – said the Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in the country, Lucien Aegerter.

The “Startup Heroes” challenge was implemented under the FITD Corporate Innovation Program, which aims to foster collaboration between the corporate sector and startup companies. The challenge was open for small startup companies that have already developed a prototype of an innovative product with potential for placement, including activities for successful product entry into retail within “Tinex” markets.