On the eve of the new school year, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we are confronted with the fact that many extracurricular activities are at least restricted, if not cancelled. This includes extracurricular activities of the start-up company VseUk from Kobarid, which is active in the framework of the GoStartup incubator in Primorska Technology Park. At VseUk they say their mission is to get children interested in science. So far, more than 400 children have visited their science clubs at 20 locations across Slovenia. Due to the new situation, the implementation of the activities is in question. However, as the children missed the “Little Curious Club” very much, the VseUk team decided to find a way to help them develop their research skills and scientific knowledge. In Primorska Technology Park they presented a new solution – the “Innobox”, a box for conducting experiments at home with video instructions from the mentors.
The Innobox is a science box with experiments that introduces children to science in a serious and entertaining way through fun experiments. The children receive it by mail and can carry out experiments in their home environment under the guidance of a mentor. With the Innobox they receive all the materials for the experiments, which they then carry out in Slovenian with the help of video instructions.
The founder of the start-up company VseUk Teja Bajt: “We have invested all our knowledge and experience we have gained in the last 4 years in Innobox. We are pleased that the response from parents and especially from children is very good. Of course we are aware that personal contact is still the most important thing, but Innobox offers at least some approximation in the given situation. At the same time Innobox is available for many more children, and not only in Slovenia. The child receives the Innobox at home by mail and the family carries out experiments together at home. “
The response of young researchers throughout Slovenia to the first series of tests was very positive, so that the start-up VseUk decided to continue and improve the preparation of the box. It is the first product of its kind on the Slovenian market, which has a great market potential not only in Slovenia. Director of Primorska Technology Park Tanja Kožuh: “In this period of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus disease, many companies have been forced to abandon their activities or reduce the intensity of their activities due to the restrictions imposed; some have even lost customers or – most importantly – their markets. When companies are being set up, insecure conditions are a constant, and young companies must be able to adapt as well as possible. For many years, the team at Primorska Technology Park and its mentors have been investigating various business models that can help start-up companies overcome uncertain conditions. The Innobox is one of these innovative business models, which was actually developed in cooperation between the founder Teja Bajt and her mentor Andrej Peršolja, also an entrepreneur from Primorska Tech Park.”
Teja Byte holds a master’s degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of Birmingham in the UK. As she has always been interested in working with children, she decided to start her own business while studying abroad. She felt the need to contribute to the development of research and entrepreneurship in her home country – the Soča Valley. She gained three scientific mentors for the project: a biologist, a chemical engineer and a geologist. The start-up company VseUk wants to help discover the talents of young children and encourage them to spend their free time creatively. “In this precarious situation, we have to support them more than ever”, says the founder Teja Bajt.