AWS fIRST GOES INTERNATIONAL
aws First is a startup funding program throughout Austria to promote and foster entrepreneurship among younger generations. Under the Austrian Federal Promotional Bank (aws) the aws First program addresses students between 18 and 26 years who can apply for training and tailor-made mentoring to help them find their footing as entrepreneurs. aws First goes international allows the 3-5 best teams of aws First to participate in a one-week training program in the partner country consisting of workshops, mentoring, networking events, excursions to incubators, universities and many more. Apart from that, experts for workshops as well as suitable mentors and incubators will be selected from the GIN database. Overall, the program aims to elaborate on the internationalization roadmap of the participating startups.
aws First goes international connects selected aws First entrepreneurs with experts and key players around the globe. The tailor-made incubation program connected rising Austrian startups with Israeli experts and key players facilitating a cross-cultural experience. Our participating startups benefited not only from inspiring workshops, talks, community events, field trips, intense mentoring and pitching opportunities - but also from new and fresh perspectives and approaches of foreign experts and mentors.
The program is funded by the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development. Participants are selected as teams and then accompanied in a "startup lab" setting to develop and refine their ideas into viable business models. The main focus is on personal development, strengthening of entrepreneurial skills, establishing a network and developing a successful business model as well as a well-engineered prototype.
The startup lab runs for a period of one year with eight to ten teams chosen to participate in the program. The first half of the period is dedicated to developing a well-founded business model. All teams pitch their ideas and business models to a panel of judges, who assess the quality and viability of their ideas.
An experienced mentor, who is also an entrepreneur, accompanies the team throughout the year and also introduces potential entrepreneurs to their personal networks of founders and business professionals. Guided training sessions are designed to develop the team's business idea further, while additional workshops, covering all important entrepreneurial topics, are also carried out.
To support participants further in connecting with other like-minded founders while working on their project, office space in a local co-working space is made available to them. Different networking events also allow teams to gain first hand insight into the start-up scene and to connect with other founders.
For the first international program, the startups spent one week in Tel Aviv, the startup nation, to get to know the Israeli ecosystem. To start off, they visited the startup DaPulse, talked about the importance of creativity and worked on the crucial ability to think outside the box. Followed by sessions to broaden their entrepreneurial mindset and being fully aware of influences when making decisions.
Apart from that, top secrets have been revealed by Venture Capitalists, continued by an inspirational and interactive talk about mental toughness by an amazing TEDx speaker, followed by intense 1:1 mentoring and network building.
For the great final there was a pitch competition. In this setting, all Austrian startups had the chance to pitch their idea in front of our Israeli judges, to get valuable feedback and convince them to vote for their business idea.
Unfortunately, there is no option to apply for the aws First goes international program directly as it is required to undertake aws First in advance. Anyhow if you are interested in participating in aws First, please follow this link for more information (in German) or contact the program manager Lisa Knotzer.
Costs for mentoring and coaching, workshops and co-working spaces will be covered by the GIN program. Further accommodation and travel costs will be included.