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Adaptive Clothing Brand ZEN* Presented at The ViennaUP Startup Festival

The ViennaUp festival for startups, which took place from May 30 to July 7, 2023, was visited by the representatives from ZEN Futurus company for exchange experience and networking opportunities as well as creating perspectives for brand development and in order to promote projects for the affirmation of the rights of persons with disabilities by Equality Association.

The festival, organized for the second time by the Vienna Business Agency, was held in numerous locations throughout the capital of the Republic of Austria and was visited by 15,000 participants from all continents.

The program activities consisted of:

A) Conferences such as: Startup World Cup, Connect Day, Manufacture Day, Impact Days, Conference DACH,

B) Events specifically targeting early-stage companies for fiunding purposes such as Pitch Day, CONDA Crowdinvesting, Let them Pitch,

C) Networking events such as Investors Breakfast, InnoDays, GINspiration, Cals/Storm Networking Party, Coffee Houses, Techstars Startup Weekend and events for positive change choscases and exhibitions, and

D) CultTech Meetup, Maker Fair, The Future Ball, Snowball Projects Exhibit.

The founder of ZEN Futurus visited the festival in Vienna as the president of the Association for the Affirmation of Persons with Disabilities and the founder of ZEN Futurus, the social enterprise that developes its brand of adaptive and functional clothing for people with disabilities and for all people who want to look chic, modern and to whome dressing will present not a frustrating, but a simple and pleasant experience.

The Equality Association was chosen delegate to one of the most prestigious and influential conferences on global change – Impact Days, which took place at the Hofburg Royal Castle on July 1 and 2. At this conference project leaders and non-profit organizations from 50 countries had the opportunity to exchange experiences, receive direct support and a chance for future collaborations and present their initiatives to ministers and representatives from the Austrian government, presidents of global change initiatives, leaders of global organizations and investment funds for positive social change.

At the occasion of participation at Impact Days conference Gere Tripkov presented projects of change initiated by the Equality Association, such as the CoSense, a multidisciplinary program for working with people with disabilities and people from their community/family, a project that will soon be expanded with a sub-programme activity for proactive activism for change among young people in Macedonia and the Balkan region. One of the flagship projects initiated by the Association, the adaptive clothing brand for people with disabilities – ZEN*, was presented at Impact Days and other conferences and networking events.

Meetings were held with representatives from the Vienna Business Agency, the Austrian Federal Bank for Development, Promotion and Financing of Companies, representatives of the Austrian scene for financing socially significant initiatives, such as Fuse Banking, Ashoka, Mercer, Erste Social Banking.

ZEN*, presented by the founder, was also part of the final event of the Fashion Hub – FABB, where he had meetings with representatives of the fashion industry in Austria, including startups and already recognized brands. Impact Hub Vienna in collaboration with Erste Group and the renowned Vienna Faculty of Economics are co-founders of the Social Impact Award, with which the Equality Association was awarded for CoSense in 2019 and supported by Impact Hub Skopje and Sparkase Banka – Skopje.

The team also gathered an inspiring and motivating impression after the meeting with Anna Künigseder, Director of the Zero Project, the global initiative to promote projects to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Equality Association was invited to apply for this year’s significant ZERO Project. call with the two most significant projects CoSense and ZEN*, both directly influencing disabled people needs.

The visit to Vienna, with the recommendation of the Austrian Embassy in Skopje, was presented as a great opportunity to held a meeting with the responsible persons at the WienWork – the Public Initiative financially supported by the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Care and Consumer Protection. This project led by Christoph Schreiner is intended for the same target groups and implements projects identical to those initiated by the Equality Association. Starting from July 2023, the Equality team will start a 2-year project that includes mentoring of young people across 5 municipalities in Macedonia, as well as coaching for work-training and promotion of people with disabilities within the business sector, as equal and able-bodied individuals, like all other participants in the society.

Vienna, as a center of culture, fashion and technological innovation, is leader ot the region of Central Europe, above all in terms of the advanced and far-reaching strategically developed scene, due to the numerous opportunities for support in initiating and/or upgrading existing initiatives, projects, but also represents a city that abounds with a rich cultural and social offer that will satisfy even the most demanding experience seakers.

The team of the Equality and ZEN* Association leaves Vienna inspired and motivated looking positively towards the new challenges and upcoming projects for 2023/2024.

See the Photo-gallery below… Some ot hte photos are courtesy of Impact Days and Impact Hub Vienna.

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