GIST Innovation Talks Episode 8 - Ecosystem Building Part 2

GIST Innovation Talks Episode 8 - Ecosystem Building Part 2

January 19, 2021

In this episode of GIST Innovation Talks we explore ecosystem building with the co-founder of Startup Macedonia, Igor Madzov. Igor and his team engaged, empowered, and grew a relatively young North Macedonian startup ecosystem with great success. In the process, they have inspired the work of startups throughout the Balkans and GIST Innovation Hubs around the world. VentureWell program officer, Marie Silver, who facilitates the GIST Innovation Hub program, leads this discussion.

Topics discussed

  • How to run mentorship programs
  • Selecting an accelerator program
  • Ecosystem building
  • Role of government policy
  • Utilizing research to inform program creation
  • Supporting under-represented groups
  • Qualities of strong founding startup teams 
  • Regional cooperation for investing opportunities


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Marie Silver
Programs Officer, VentureWell

Marie works on VentureWell’s global programs, most frequently with the State Department’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program. She comes to VentureWell by way of the STEM Ed Institute at University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was the Program Manager for 15 years. Marie has over 30 years of experience working with faculty and students to increase societal impacts of their STEM research.


Igor Madzov
Co-founder, Startup Macedonia

Igor is a passionate investor, entrepreneur, and unconditional supporter of the development and growth of Macedonian Startup ecosystem and startups in SEE. He is driven by technology and loves problem solving for early to growth stage startups. For the past 5 years he has served a startup mentor and worked in business development and lead generation for startups and SMEs and handled deals from 100K to 3M.

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