Play, Learn and Earn – a Game for Early-Stage Startups. One of the main goals of every startup accelerator, SPARK as well, is to prepare young entrepreneurs for what awaits them in the real business world. Everyone knows that the best way to learn something is through
games. This is why SPARK came up with the idea of the gamification of their startup process through startup game, designed for all startups in the SPARK startup program.
This game would teach them how to actually run a company, encourage competition between startups and motivate them for work and progress. In addition, SPARK could monitor the startup progress.
For those of you who are not familiar with SPARK, it is an advanced digital technology acceleration platform in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) dedicated to regional startups and projects commissioned by leading European companies. SPARK programs are SPARK school, SPARK r&d, SPARK startup and SPARK business. Users are individuals, teams, investors, companies, researchers, and sponsors.
SPARK didn’t want to keep the game for themselves, so they applied to the Digital Cities project to develop the game further and share it with other accelerators. They partnered up with two startup accelerators from the United Kingdom – Supreme Factory and Acorn Aspiration, and together started developing the Play, Learn and Earn game. The teams behind the Digital Cities project, British Council, and HM Government, decided to support SPARK, and so the project implementation began.
The first activity was to exchange knowledge and experience between SPARK and startup accelerators from the United Kingdom. Thus, Ivona Ćorić, the finance and business startup manager at SPARK, visited Dot Forge (tech startup accelerator in Newcastle), Accelerate Places (coworking space in Manchester) and participated in the WoManchester – IWD Celebration 2018 event. Ivona returned full of positive impressions – it was very interesting to compare practices from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in Mostar, five developers and one designer developed the Play, Learn and Earn app, with support from SPARK r&d and startup departments. The game is designed for startups, but also for startup accelerators. Startups learn about the business world in a fun way, run their own company and compete with other startups, while startups accelerators easily track the progress of all startups. Through the game, startups get a certain amount of virtual money they spend on accelerating their startup.
Any activity that has a real-world value exists in the game (e.g. renting space and equipment, mentoring, education, startup conferences and the like). If startups do their task with quality and timely, they will be rewarded with a bonus virtual money. Conversely, the money will be taken away. So far, there’s only a prototype that will be tested at SPARK and Acorn Aspirations. After the testing period, a final product based on cryptocurrencies will be developed.
“We came up with this kind of idea so we can help youngsters in developing a positive competitive spirit, but also to give them a chance to understand the financial elements of the business environment, through virtual SPARKoins. We truly hope that this concept will enable a quality insight to owning a business, but also build up better constructive relationships between startups and startup accelerators.” ~ said Ivona Ćorić, the finance and business startup manager at SPARK.
If you want to have a look at the demo version of the game, head to SPARK’s webpage, and if you want to use the game in your accelerator/incubator, contacts SPARK at [email protected] #DigitalCities #SPARKstartup