Story of Verica Poposka
My power is in strong proactivity - by utilizing the right network,entrepreneurial knowledge, solid personal skill-set, and an extreme passion for empowering individuals and scale-up businesses.
What's your story before Skåne Startups?
Coming from a post-communist country like North Macedonia and living through the transition, I could see from first-hand the importance of creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Consequently, people lost their jobs due to this new wave of privatization and were branded as a "surplus". This affected almost every Macedonian household. Things are getting better now and the country is developing at a rapid pace.
However, there is a new challenge on the horizon. According to the reports of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, in the last six years, North Macedonia continuously ranks in the bottom four countries in terms of the number of female entrepreneurs. And I am on a mission to change this for them.
My international academic career in North Macedonia, Slovenia, Portugal, and Sweden has driven me to achieve at a competitive level. My commitment to change pushed me to co-found Elekta in 2018, an NGO with more than 350 members, aiming to support youth entrepreneurs in Macedonia. My work was recognized by Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP).
I was fortunate to be sponsored to join its Summer Academy, and take part in a peer shadowing program at VentureLab, a student accelerator at Lund University. During my work at Venture Lab, I’ve launched a collaborative initiative between St.Cyril Methodius University and LU Innovation. This improved the Triple Helix model on a national level through a successful entrepreneurship Bootcamp. In March 2020, on behalf of The Swedish Institute, Lund University and the Swedish Embassy in Skopje, I led a project on the topic of ‘Women's Entrepreneurship initiative for the Western Balkans’, with the focus on researching the National Strategy of North Macedonia for female entrepreneurship.
My professional affiliation to Sweden and my academic ambitions guided me back to Lund to pursue my Master at the top fifth course in Sweden. I served as a Chairperson on the SI NFGL board in Lund and as a board member of the SI Alumni North Macedonia, committed to use my learned skills and talents for worthy causes.
What was your role at Skåne Startups?
I started at the Investment team at Skåne Startups as a Venture Advisor. My role required me to scout, research, and evaluate more than 300 start-ups in Skåne. This experience allowed me to learn the pitfalls from highly successful founders and gain practical insight on how to scale a global tech business. Additionally, I was responsible for guiding investors to understand the local start-up ecosystem.
🔎 Evaluating startups' potential from investors' perspectives, and connecting them with relevant global investors;
🤝 Identified and established solid professional relationships with international investors VCs and CVCs and provided quality deal flow;
🗒️ Co-led the Startup Database Project where she scouted and mapped out detailed startup database of over 430 tech companies;
☕ Led the Startup Coffee Meetup and actively engaged in over 25 events designed to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Skåne;
What did you enjoy the most at Skåne Startups?
Regularly meetings the team. They are best people I know in this part of the world.
Thathsara Palliyaguru (left) interviewed Verica Poposka (right) during an event 2021
Can you tell us about your current work?
Currently working in Denmark as a Lead scout for Accelerace, Nordics' leading pre-seed VC investor and early-stage accelerator. Since 2008 Accelerace has worked with over 1000 startups (88% are still on the market today), made 70+ pre-seed investments, and matched startups with industry-leading companies such as Tetra Pak, Arla, and Elia.
Eirini Gavala (left), Verica Poposka (middle) and Zhenni Liang (right) at Nordic Fe:male Invest Summit 2022
What is your advice for other talents?
If you have everything under control, you are moving too slow.
Something you are unreasonably passionate about?
Discovering the motivations behind people's business ideas and listening to their experiences.