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SPARK is an accelerator programme for European early-stage startups based in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

It provides young entrepreneurs and budding startups with the tools and mentorship they need to develop their ideas into real businesses. It runs several programmes: SPARK school, SPARK R&D, SPARK startup, and SPARK business.

To help them stand out, the accelerator programme uses gamification tactics to teach startups how to run a company, motivate their teams, and foster competition. It has developed an app called Play, Learn and Earn that can be used by accelerators to improve learning and track progress using games.

It developed the app with help from the R&D and startup departments. The app tracks your progress and allows users to earn virtual money as reward for reaching certain milestones. On the flipside, startups will lose virtual money when they fail to reach their goals.

Ultimately the developers want to build an app using cryptocurrency, which will be called SPARKoins.

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“We came up with this kind of idea so we can help youngsters in developing a positive competitive spirit, but also to give them a chance to understand the financial elements of the business environment, through virtual SPARKoins,” said Ivona Ćorić, finance and business startup manager at SPARK.

“We truly hope that this concept will enable a quality insight to owning a business, but also build up better constructive relationships between startups and startup accelerators,” she said.

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SPARK has shared its gaming techniques with other accelerators too. It applied to the Digital Cities project, founded by the British Council, and HM Government, which is working with Balkan countries, to help further develop the Play, Learn and Earn programme and has partnered with two UK-based accelerators (Supreme Factory and Acorn Aspiration).

A demo version of the game is available now.