Kosice: The Startup Heart Of Eastern Slovakia

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Have you ever wondered how to set up your own business in Košice? This guide will give you an overview of the most important issues of startups ecosystem.

Being the second largest city in Slovakia, Košice attracts attention by its numerous events, workshops and festivals all year round. It reached a higher level of awareness as the European Capital of Culture 2013 and recently was awarded the title of the European Capital of Sport 2016. As a seat of four universities – out of which Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice and Technical University of Košice are the best-known – Košice is a young city with a vivid spirit that is a precondition for creation of a creative group of minds that start a startup era in a city.

Košice – Heart Of Eastern Slovakia

Advantages Of Starting A Startup In Košice:

  • All the co-working spaces are located in the city center.
  • Bilingual English, Spanish, French and German secondary schools facilitate overcoming language barriers. Many locals besides speaking Slovak and Czech speak Hungarian, so choosing a co-worker from Košice is an asset if you want to target more countries at once.
  • Educated co-workers and workforce by local universities.
  • Košice International Airport with regular departure and arrival flights to London, Vienna, Prague, Bristol, Doncaster, Kiev all year round.
  • Branches of companies IBM, AT&T, T-Systems , Manpower, ADECCO Group, U. S. Steel Košice – just to mention a few.
  • 4G coverage includes services of all Slovak mobile operators : Slovak Telekom , Orange, O2 and SWAN (4ka).
  • According to OECD, economic growth is predicted for the following years 2016 and 2017 as a result of rising incomes, modernisation in car industry and easing financial conditions which will increase investments and export.

What Startup Founders Have To Consider:

  • With a population something over 5.4 mln inhabitants, Slovak market is small but can be expanded to Czech Republic or Poland (language similarity).
  • Despite the fact that minimum monthly wage was increased from 380€ to 405€ in January 2016, Slovakia has low position in ranking among states of European Union.
  • Bureaucracy and corruption.
  • Lack of incubators and accelerators.

When considering pros and cons of launching a startup in Košice, there is one more important change that has to be taken into consideration. By January 1, 2017 a new type of a company, the so-called Simple joint-stock company, comes into existence in Slovakia. It is a hybrid of a Limited liability company and Joint-stock company with a minimum capital of 1€ – ideal for projects that offer new or innovative products, but not limited to startups only. Slovak government attempts to facilitate process of establishment and management startups and attract new business.

First Stop: Get To Know Everyone In Košice


According to survey carried out by KPMG to analyze startup scene in Slovakia, 80% of all startuppers are 25-34 years old. Such an age range can be seen as advantage if we consider the fact that young startuppers are more courageous, ready to accept challenges and in some cases also accept their defeat and learn a lesson from it. Moreover, 69% of them have a Master degree in some specialization that can be seen as the sunny side as well.

Considering the areas of startups, the most widespread are hardware and equipment, business, education, food and beverage, big data, online payments, life sciences and social media. Majority of startuppers have already a beta version or record initial earnings. The most popular ways of funding remain private savings and angel investors.
Now let’s take a closer look at the events related to startups.

Upcoming Events, Meetups And Other Occasions:

  • AZU is a national developing project created by a group of students from Technical University of Košice. The organized events have to help students develop their potential and effectively use their spare time.
  • Startupers is an online startup magazine that provides a list of events, workshops and meetups organized in Slovak cities, including Košice.

Regular Events And Meetups:

  • Creative Industry Košice organizes events oriented on marketing, development of creative ideas, creation of a successful business plan and other topics related to entrepreneurship.
  • Slovenská sporiteľňa regularly arranges Consultations for beginning entrepreneurs in Košice. Participants obtain information on how to correctly write a business plan to get finances from the bank, there is also a possibility to individually discuss a business plan with experts.
  • Toastmasters Košice as a part of Toastmasters International offers a good way how to practise and improve communication skills. There are commonly organized meetings focused on public speaking that help participants master their presentation skills.
  • Most of the co-working spaces organize events and workshops on improvement of entrepreneurial, marketing or communication skills.

Yearly Or Major Events, Festivals, Conferences:

Second Stop: Find The Best Workspace In Košice


There are currently five actively operating co-working spaces in Košice to choose from. Each of them has its own style, so everybody from a history field to modern hipster will find a suitable space for work. Common advantage of all these spaces is location as they are located directly in a city centre or just a few minutes walking from the Main street.

Coworking Spaces In Košice:

  • co-Šicke is a co-working space located on Main Street in a city center offers membership for at least four days and various services including internet, place for skype, relax zone, administrative support, etc. Various events, workshops and courses aimed at enterpreneurship, coaching, marketing, management and alike topics are being organized on a monthly basis.
  • Eastcubator situated close to the various faculties of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice and Technical University of Košice offers open space, workshop and caffeine bar with a monthly membership spaceman 24/7 at disposal. Office supplies like printer, scanner with photocopier and beverages including coffee, tea and bottled water are available.
  • Halmi SPACE in the heart of Košice offers high-speed internet, bikesharing, specialized library, interesting events and possibility to try their spaces for one week for free. Besides co-working spaces there is a coffeehouse HalmiCaffee with a nice atmosphere.
  • HUBa co-working is a co-working open space incubator that unifies young creative minds, beginning entrepreneurs and visionaries. HUBa is a part of Tabačka Kulturfabrik that used to be a tobacco factory in the past, nowadays serves as a cultural center and open zone for art, creativity and co-working.
  • Salia is a flexible workspace primarily aimed at IT community which offers over 1000 m2 of office space including meeting room and training office. Location in the building Business Center I – Cassofin guarantees short distance to downtown, universities, cafes and restaurants, recreational facilities as well as comfortable parking.

Third Stop: Take Care Of Your Finances In Košice


Within the last years, Košice transformed from the heavy industrial-oriented city to the city of innovations and creative economy. The potential of the city for investments is given by more factors including its location and proximity to Hungary, Poland and Ukraine, good transport infrastructure and developed industry in the city as the largest steel producer in Central Europe, U. S. Steel Košice, has a seat in the city. Companies can ask for the support of the city and state incentives, take advantage of a qualified work force in the region and modern business centers.

The city mainly supports companies with high-added value in the fields like mechanical engineering, electronics, logistics, pharmacy, design and innovations, high-tech sectors, etc. All these supporting initiatives have to lead to sustainable commercial infrastructure and creation of new job opportunities for the people from the region.


  • TUKE Incubator from the beginning of 2016 welcomes its first three entrepreneurial subjects that were earlier situated in TUKE Startup Centre. TUKE Startup Centre was established as an initiative of Technical University of Košice in order to help students and people with innovative potential to grow, mainly in the areas of information and communication technologies, automation and control systems, electrical, civil and environmental engineering.

Grants & Subventions:

  • The Slovak government intends to support innovative entreprenurs by more than €18 million until 2018. Startups by the beginning of the next year get a possibility to establish the so-called Simple joint-stock company, get three-year exemption from payment of the tax licence and exemption from paying the VAT-payer guarantee fees as well as various grants or financial possibilities.
  • Centire offers consulting services regarding financial aid from EU funds or other grant schemes for entrepreneurs. All the necessary information for potential grant applicants is provided.

Crowd Investing Platforms:

  • Crowdberry is a Slovak equity investment platform that interconnects investors with entrepreneurial ideas. Compared to other investing platforms, here investors become part-owners and get a certain percentage of profit. Any project with business plan and financial predictions, stable and professional team and minimum viable product may enter the platform.
  • Marmelada is a relatively new Slovak platform established in February 2015 gathering projects divided into categories science and technology, literature and colouring books, film, music, fashion and design, sport, theatre and others. Anybody aged 18+ can set up a project, the platform uses payment gateway GoPay.
  • Due to similarity of languages, Slovaks seek for funding on Czech platforms like Startovač or HITHIT.
  • Popular are also Kickstarter and Indiegogo platforms.

Angel Investors:

  • Business Angels is the first network of business angels in Slovakia founded in 2011, association of successful businessmen and managers that intend to invest skills, time and money in startups.
  • Miller Invest provides financial support for startups and business. Nowadays there is one available angel investor Michael Suchoba, an IT specialist and innovator in mobile applications.
  • 42Angels comprises Slovak and Czech entrepreneurs who provide seed stage financing with added value.

Venture Capital Investors:

  • FondFIT is the Slovak Innovations and Technologies Fund that is a result of cooperation between the Slovak Business Agency and investors. Venture capital is used to support development of entrepreneurship, employment and business.
  • Neulogy Ventures is a management company with professional, transparent and hands-on approach to companies and investors. The main goal of the company is to facilitate talented entrepreneurs success in the global market.

Fourth Stop: Look For Professional Advice In Košice


Here are some useful tips that might come in handy when it comes to professional advice:

  • Košice IT Valley has a mission to bring people and organizations together, create conditions for development of the ICT industry and build good reputation in a society. The accent is principally put on education, innovation and investment.
  • Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) is an organization working under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic. Its main goal is to increase employment and reduce regional disparities by creating “business-friendly” environment, promotion of investment projects, consultations for new stimulus funds, creation of databases of industrial parks and assistance in creation of joint ventures of Slovak and foreign companies.
  • Investment Support Association (ISA) is a provider of professional services and consultancy and assistant of the SARIO Agency. The Association functions as the “support base” for SARIO, its marketing and project activities in Slovakia and abroad.


Last updated: August 4th, 2016

The guides are like startup communities – they constantly change and grow. Make sure to check for updates and if you have something to add or want to publish one for your city, get in touch right away! And don’t forget to enrich the startup ecosystem by creating your company profile at StartUs!

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