NextStep Startup Program, Sony Mobile’s startup development initiative, can very well be the silver lining following the recent events within the mobile industry in Lund. On March 3rd, the first batch of startups got to meet top investors and entrepreneurs in a competition which culminated this promising program.

“NextStep is a fantastic example of how we create a starting ground for the future development of the region,” says Bengt-Arne Molinresponsible for NextStep Program, to 8till5.

The recent layoffs within Sony Mobile Communications in Lund resulted in more than 500 people having to find new opportunities. NextStep Startup Program is an initiative by Sony Mobile to support those of them interested in developing a business idea as a next step in their careers . By bringing together experience from the region’s innovation ecosystem, the participants received access to training, networking and coaching. Over 30 startups in diverse areas, such as hardware, health, fashiontech, food and education, were part of this program during 6 months.

On March 3rd, selected startups had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel consisting of well-established entrepreneurs and angel investors in the region. Among the attendants, there were incubator representatives from the region, as well as executives from Sony, among whom was Hiroki Totoki, CEO of Sony Mobile Communications.

“If we get the resources we need, we will have a prototype during the year. Next year we hope to be out in the market,” says Magnus Kåreby, co-founder of Katam, a startup developing mobile tools for industrial measurements, which took the 1st place in NextStep Startup Program competition.

OutSmart and StudyBee received the 2nd and 3rd place in the competition, while other five startups received a special recognition in different categories. The prizes for these startups were in the form of business mentorships, development trips and participation in incubators, which will help them take on their next challenges.

Eleven additional startups are expected to leave the program in summer. For more information on the emerging startups go to NextStep’s website.