Global StartupCity

StartupCity Cluj-Napoca

Global call for health startups

Global StartupCity Cluj-Napoca is part of the bottom-up #EiA – European Innovation Area – a initiative in which ecosystems from all over the world aim to offer innovative products  and services from startups and SMEs for creating a common, synergic, and connected space between all the Global StartupCities (new innovation ecosystems) – this is an alternative to the migration to established global poles, such as Silicon Valley, or other similar areas.

Within this initiative, each city has assumed a catalytic role in a specific market field, for which the local context provides optimal development conditions for startups and SMEs. Cluj has, since November 2020, been a part of the pioneer Health iArea (see Context below), officially launched during the Global StartupCities Summit @uniquesummit. The main activity of StartupCity Cluj in 2021 on the Global StartupCity component is the launch of a global call for the selection of startups in the field of MedTech and eHealth. The winners of the call will come to Cluj-Napoca, where in the first iteration of the program they will benefit from a condensed program of mentoring, incubation and/or testing of their solutions. Implicitly, they will access the local health innovation ecosystem, from mentors and experts in telemedicine and innovation in health, to spaces offered by the ecosystem, and testing and experiments with the help of the hospitals and doctors of Cluj. After coming to Cluj, the winners will have the chance to go to the other locations that are key stakeholders – level 1 and some in level 0. 

The results and progress of the implementation of the program in 2021 in Cluj will be presented during the second edition of the Global StartupCities Summit @uniquesummit – scheduled for November 24, 2021, in StartupCity Malaga (Spain).

The Global StartupCities initiative is part of the bottom-up #EiA European Innovation Area and enjoys the support of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, as Honorific Global StartupCities Ambassador.

Who should apply?

  • Startups in the Health field, in various stages of development following ideation and concepting;
  • Individuals or teams that consider it would be an opportunity for them to meet the Cluj-Napoca  Health, AI-IoMT, MedTech ecosystem, and get help in furthering the journey of their startup;
  • Innovative and and promising business concepts;

What you get

  • Trip to Cluj-Napoca for a maximum of two team members (from the 14th to of 24th of October, 2021)*
  • Training – a program most adapted to your needs, a personalised and contentful experience in our city, which ensures an accelerated step further in your startup journey – details and activities will be co-designed with you, based on your specific needs
  • Visibility – increase awareness of your service or product by being introduced to the local MedTech ecosystem, experts and investors
  • Networking – connect with other similar startups, and companies, as well as hospitals and potential testing clients
  • Services – access our Health ecosystem of acceleration, mentorship, and support services
  • Attendance at Innowave Summit 21-22 October (our only global high-level business and innovation conference, co-organised by StartupCity Cluj-Napoca) see more in the Innovation Agenda 2021
  • Attendance at the 4th Cluj-Napoca Innovation Camp (the city’s flagship event in co-design and innovative solutions to social problems)

*depending COVID-19 restrictions, and legal implications

How the application process works

1. Application form

You can apply as an individual or a team by completing the application form. In the form you will be asked to describe yourself and your team, to pitch your startup, describe your value proposition, development stage and aspects regarding your market access and funding.

What are we looking for?

  • How much we estimate you can progress in a year
  • How much can we help you based on the network/partners we have
  • How strong and motivated your team is
  • How much our ecosystem can contribute
  • How much you can contribute to our ecosystem

Deadline to complete the application form: 30th of July

2. Interview

A jury made up of healthcare, business, and technical professionals, as well as local administration representatives will select potential startups that will be asked to partake in an interview, where we will make sure our interests align. Interview selection criteria will be shared with those selected, prior to their interviews.

3. Winners

Following the interviews, three winning startups will be asked to join us in October for the first iteration of the Global StartupCities initiative, part of the bottom-up #EiAEuropean innovation Area

The winners will be announced at the beginning of September.


Meet the StartupCity Cluj-Napoca's Team

Innovation Team

The Global StartupCities initiative offers in each of the StartupCities a transversal innovation team as a primary contact point and communication. The innovation team are collaborating with any key innovation network at regional, national, and global-EU level. 

Cluj-Napoca’s team covers 4 different angles and each of our Innovation Team members joined the team with a wide vision in each of the components they cover.



Professor of Public Health & Chair of de the Department of Public Health, Director of HIVE Health Innovation Center – Babeș Bolyai University, expert-evaluator for the European Commission.

Ion-Gheorghe PETROVAI, MD


Medical doctor, marketer, trainer and community leader, focused on “bottom-up” healthcare innovation catalysing (through FreshBlood HealthTech) and university-led innovation (through GIPIA – Interuniversity Group on Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Hub Project Manager for the Romanian EITHealth RIS Hub in 2018-2020. EITHealth Starship Biodesign Fellow since 2017.



Zaki Milhem is a resident Psychiatrist, an entrepreneur and a researcher. A vocal advocate for digital literacy in healthcare, Zaki founded WakeZ, a digital therapeutic for sleep and has won innovation awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 and EIT InnoStarsSE. He also serves as Chief Innovation Officer for Iceberg Plus, market leader in innovation consulting.



Ambassador of technological innovations, promoter of sustainable change and startups mentor from ideation to MVP, go-to-market, access to funding.
10+ years of proven experience as a Project Owner and Project Manager in hardware and software product development, 500+ prototypes and projects managed.

Management Team

The Municipality endorses the Global StartupCity Cluj-Napoca’s Innovation Team and also designated representatives to ensure the access and facilitation of the local ecosystem. StartupCity Cluj represents the whole public-private innovation ecosystem of Cluj and it is a reality as ONE startup lead by the Mayor of Cluj as CEO of StartupCity Cluj-Napoca.

Mayor Emil BOC







Support Officer


AI-IoMT MedTech StartupCity Cluj-Napoca will be involved, through Cluj-Napoca City Hall, in the pioneering action at global-EU level, called “Health iArea” within the historic bottom-up European innovation Area #EiA to accelerate the economic recovery after a pandemic. The #EiA is impulsed by the Global StartupCities initiative to support entrepreneurs and innovators no matter where they are: city, village or remote locations.
The goal of the “Health iArea” is to be a point of attraction for new economic opportunities for the city related to startups & SMEs with breakthrough health products/services for hospitals and citizens. The Area will give Cluj-Napoca a new global dimension and it will reinforce the European visibility in the following years as well, as happened with the iCapital prize, where StartupCity Cluj-Napoca did a historic achievement as the first finalist from an Eastern city and not a country capital in Europe.

The “Health iArea” is coordinated by the Global StartupCities initiative, with its founder Arturo Villar, and was created as a pragmatic innovation space with hospitals and a pool of health infrastructures between global StartupCities to accelerate innovative solutions with the patient centre stage through local hospitals.

The Global StartupCities movement is a pioneer bottom-up initiative. The executive tool is the historic bottom-up #EiA – European innovation Area as a geo-economic movement to support global-EU entrepreneurs and innovators with the largest public-private Global-EU Consortium* for innovation impulse by LOCAL innovations ecosystemS from among others: cities, villages, and remote areas.

*We are proposing a new type of Global-EU Consortium which is not a legal framework for a funding project or a tender, it is just a committed group of stakeholders, as a big TEAM, supporting specific annual global-EU activities.

For more information visit this link.