Golden Award for Excellence 2018

Corporate Social Responsibility

ING Bank Romania & Impact HUB


Startarium – The most complex online platform in Romania that supports and educates early stage entrepreneurs and local startups. It was launched in 2016 as an initiative of Impact Hub Bucharest and ING Bank Romania, two organizations that share the same mission vision of supporting entrepreneurship through responsible and long term impact resources.

Romania is not short of entrepreneurial ideas and the approximately 20,000 projects enrolled in the Government program Startup Nation stand as proof. But although the number of Romanian early-stage businesses have experienced a significant growth in the past three years, the rate of the company’s’ success is estimated at around 20%, which means that 80% of the startups fail.

Lack of support, lack of education and entrepreneurial culture contribute to the negative statistics of the Romanian startups.

In 2015, ING was searching for a solution to help the industry grow sustainably, to support local businesses in the early stages of their development. They approached Impact Hub Bucharest – an organization deeply rooted in the entrepreneurial ecosystem – to help transform this idea into reality.

Together they built Startarium: an online platform with catered dedicated content on matters of interest for local entrepreneurs, access to mentors and to a crowd funding platform, all meant to help them survive on the long term, not just for their first year.

Startarium objectives:

  • Educate entrepreneurs: offer original and catered content for the platform in order to ensure relevant local insights on building a business
  • Position Startarium as the resource hub for entrepreneurs;
  • Engage stakeholders: bring mentors, bring the general public on the platform for content or to support a project;
  • Increase brand association for ING Romania in start-up segment by offering relevant solutions.

Launching and growing the Startarium community follows three major pillars:

  1. Building Startarium, the digital City of Entrepreneurs
  2. Pitch Day – the offline event for the online community, for the whole worlds to see
  3. Crowdfunding campaigns – bringing external stakeholders to support projects in the digital city

Platform results

Startarium became an instant hit in the Romanian start-up sector.

Between 12 October – 20 December 2016, over 6700 people were registered as users (objective: 2000 users) and 947 startup ideas were filled in the Laboratory section. The content, comprised at that time of 27 articles, 15 interviews and 16 courses had 13,194 views.

Since then, Startarium has gathered a community of almost 21.000 members, has published over 250 original pieces of educational content, has engaged 60 mentors to work with entrepreneurs at no cost and has opened access to over 360.000 EUR in financing.

Startarium Pitch Day became one of the most important events in the Romanian entrepreneurial environment: in 2017, 70 startups were selected for the first round and 10 reached the finale. The top 3 were awarded prices comprising a total of 100.000 EUR. All three have gone on to further develop their business and reach their 2018 goals.

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