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Online tools for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovative research organizations




Online tools for faster growth, better learning and smooth collaboration

With minimal time to market, and the swift MVP validation, startups need to be boosted with the most effective and efficient automation, collaboration and learning tools.

EURAXESS Startup Hub digital toolkit includes Toolbox for sci entrepreneurs, a compilation of hand picked online tools for improving productivity, easy communication, discovering trends, finding the right partners and funding opportunities, even build the MVPs.

Click below to find out what's inside.


  • This page is a section of EURAXESS Startup Hub toolkit. Go back to the homepage to browse through other information and resources.




Startup Heatmap Europe

Find the best accelerators and opportunities in Europe

Startup Heatmap Europe provides a search engine for finding the best accelerators in Europe among more than 110 currently in the database, ranked by total investments raised, female participation or follow-on funding rates. Search by geography, equity asked, popularity, percentage of foreign-born/migrant founders, female founders, growth of tracked participants, industries and other filters.

More importantly, the online database provides a search engine for finding the opportunities for startups, including accelerator and funding programme deadlines (including calls and open calls by the European Commission), conferences and other opportunities.

Besides the above, Startup Heatmap Europe maintains ranked lists of the startup cities, startups who participate in Europe’s top accelerators and who-is-who database with the leaders of the startup world, managers of innovation programmes to whom you can send your collaboration request.


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Google trends

Trend tracking tools for the most wanted product idea validation

To know if a product or service that a startup offers is needed by customers is very difficult and often guided by subjective assessments. Many ideas might seem to be important to startup founders, only to find out that no one needs or wants them, which could be devastating. This is why it is needed to do an analysis of sorts, to see what the customers want. In addition, this analysis should be done multiple times during the development period, to provide an insight into customer behaviour and customer needs, over time.

In doing this, Google Trends could help significantly, as it lets the user see how interesting a particular topic is, or how the interest in a topic has changed over time, when it peaked, when the interest in the topic peaks or diminishes annually, etc. Google Trends works with the data generated through trillions of web searches every day through the Google search engine. It makes the data anonymous, and groups it based on keywords and general query topics.

Other tools, such as YouTube Trends, Twitter Trends, etc., can also be utilised to stay in touch with the popular topics and interests on social media, which correlates with the interests of potential customers. AnswerThePublic taps into data from search engines and uses it to pull up phrases and questions that people are asking, and BuzzSumo can show the list of the most popular headlines for a certain topic that are trending right now, based on the number of social shares. These tools, as well as many similar to them, can be a great source of inspiration for innovation, or topics to write about on the website blog section (if you have one), and can generally help one to stay in touch with popular topics and questions.


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Find a tool you need based on reputable recommendations

Have you ever tried to google an online tool for solving some of the problems you have with your daily work? You have probably ended up with a pile of “top ten”, “best 100” and similar web pages with questionable reputation.

A renowned consultancy Gartner maintains the PeerInsights tool - a database of reviews of the enterprise technologies and services classified into more than 400 categories, verified by Gartner. The database stores more than 415000 reviews and it is the source of reputable recommendations that can be used to select the best tool with confidence.


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Design your visual identity effectively, with a low cost

Not only startups, but also all businesses should have a great marketing strategy to expand their customer base. This is often accompanied by heavy investments in marketing teams, ads, content writers, etc. What if this does not need to be the case, at least for the early stages of startups? There are many free or low-cost options to boost your startup popularity and reach a wider audience.

By using different online tools, by creating a well-designed and target group focused visual identity, social media marketing can be done in a not so costly way. With Pablo, you can create wonderful images that we certainly have an effect on social media engagement. The tool will guide you through selecting the most inspiring images, add stylish messages and easily resize to the formats optimized for different social networks. Canva is one of the most popular online tools for creating attractive visual identity elements, including logo, flyer, presentation, poster, resume, video, business card, brochure and many more. Pixlr is a photo editing and design tool for adding your marketing messages to the existing photos and videos or customizing many different templates.


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Website builders

Build your own website in a day

With software popularly called website builders, which typically feature the drag-and-drop method of creating websites, anyone can build a website to his liking. These website builders let you use hundreds of templates and customise them to your liking, so the website can be quickly and easily put together. Also, these sites provide you with your own web address and domain.

Website builders can be for online or offline use. If using online builders, you can build your website on the go, and all the changes will be visible to anyone who comes to your website. Offline builders often are downloadable software, and all the work is done offline, and all the files are saved on your computer, until they are ready to be uploaded to the web [read more].

You can learn about some of the most popular website builders here or here.

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Online assistance in writing for the web

When creating a website for your startup, which is a must-have nowadays, it is important to have a clear, interesting and grammatically correct text on the website. Many tools help with these content writing tasks, such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor and others. Grammarly detects grammatical mistakes, complex text and helps you write better. And the Hemingway App (Hemingway Editor) helps if you have a problem with writing long, complex sentences, which are generally not well received by an average reader. It does not let you “beat around the bush” and makes you write clear and compact sentences by highlighting lengthy, complex sentences and common errors.

Startups should also use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) software to boost the ranking of their websites in search engine results pages, without paying for placement to the provider of the search engine. This is helpful to spread and market the website of the startup. One such software is Ahrefs.


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Digital whiteboards for effective brainstorming

Digital, cloud-based whiteboards are virtual spaces for teams or individuals to brainstorm, conceptualize, organize and exchange ideas. Contributions of all logged individuals take place simultaneously, without the restrictions of the conference room whiteboards, regarding the number of people working together or creativity bottlenecks due to the situation in which creativity as power lies in the hand of the single person at the board, rather than a group.

Digital whiteboards offer various expression tools, such as freehand drawing, adding shapes and lines, on the infinite canvas. However, they often lack video-call integration options, so they need to be used in conjunction with video conferencing tools.

Some of the most often featured digital whiteboard tools today are Mural and Miro.


  • Mural offers objectives, including planning a sprint or a project, learning more about a problem, understanding customers, brainstorming ideas with a team, designing and evaluating a solution and reflecting on a process. Each of the objectives is associated with tens of different templates, directly facilitating collaboration on very specific topics. Its strength lies in its customisability and online repository where custom templates and tools can be deployed.
  • Miro is THE digital whiteboard with an infinite canvas, the most often used today. In contrast to Mural, it includes built-in video-conferencing. Similarly to Mural, it provides many different templates that fit most of the visual collaboration requirements and purposes. It is available on different devices. It offers a marketplace with apps for integrating with other collaboration platforms, including Zoom, Webex, Teams, Slack, Google Drive and many more. A specialised Miro Development Platform facilitates the process of development of custom plugins and integration in the existing workflows.


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Online Project management

Project management productivity tools

Tools for planning and management tasks of an individual entrepreneur or a team behind some venture are very useful in short-term activities as well as in long-term goals. That is why so many of them can be acquired for cash or for free. Robustly, the tools can be divided into two main categories (apart from whether they are free or require a payment) based on accessibility via online platform or via software. Another way various toolkits can be divided is whether the tools are used in managing a project or a programme.

A project, in terms of management, has clear start and end dates, with short-term goals that lead to tangible outcomes or deliverables. Programmes consist of different projects that correlate with one another and make a wider landscape. Project management tools include some of the following features:


  • They should allow you to plan and delegate work in one place with tasks, subtasks, folders, templates, workflows, and calendars;
  • Option to delegate tasks, add comments, organise dashboards, approve changes and generally improve teams communication;
  • File management features that allow editing, versioning, and storing files;
  • Track and assess productivity and growth through resource management and reporting.

As programmes are aimed at achieving some long-term goals and are composed of a number of projects, tools for managing them are different and suitable for the programme manager role. Some key features of programme management toolkits should be:


  • Flexible work views;
  • Cross-functional resource management;
  • Dashboards;
  • Gantt charts (Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project/programme);
  • Timesheets.


Developing your idea into a new startup is not an easy task and will take a lot of commitment, planning and continuous effort. Productivity is key to the success of your business, and could be greatly improved with the help of the right tools. There is currently a wide range of general project management and productivity apps and software targeted towards business owners. Some of the productivity tools you could try until you find the ones that suit you best, are listed below:


  • Trello is a flexible work management tool where teams can ideate plans, collaborate on projects, organize workflows, and track progress in a visual, productive, and rewarding way. From brainstorming to planning and execution, Trello manages the big milestones and the day-to-day tasks of working together and getting things done.
  • Slack is a collaboration hub that brings the right people, information, and tools together to get work done. From Fortune 100 companies to corner markets, millions of people around the world use Slack to connect their teams, unify their systems, and drive their business forward. Slack replaces email with something faster, better organized and more secure. Instead of one-off email chains, all your communication is organized into channels that are easy to create, join and search.
  • is an all-in-one cloud-based project management software that adapts to your team’s needs, and allows you to manage all of your team’s projects, from simple tasks to complex portfolios, on one customisable platform. The platform enables the creation of your ideal workflow or by choosing from ready-made templates based on how other teams use The easy-to-use visual interface lets any team member jump in and get started, without any training required.
  • Teamwork is a project management platform that provides all the necessary essentials to create tasks and projects, upload files, and add comments. Teamwork keeps all necessary information in one central location. It is flexible, allowing users to customize their workflow and view projects as a task list, Gantt chart, or board view. Teamwork also enables integrations with tools such as Slack, Drive, Hubspot, Dropbox, and more.
  • Calendly is a hub for scheduling meetings professionally and efficiently, eliminating the hassle of back-and-forth emails. It allows you to set your availability and choose the type of meeting you want to have, then Calendly coordinates everything with your invitees – before and after the face-to-face. It allows you to connect to all your calendars so you are never double-booked, and makes it easy to schedule with you by sharing your availability anywhere through a link.
  • Focus To-Do is an easy-to-use time and task management application that helps you to manage tasks anywhere and anytime, and helps you to perform tasks efficiently. Based on the Pomodoro Technique, it sets an execution time for the task, and enables you to focus on the task until the end of the specified time. You can use it to make plans for work and study, record shopping lists, set up birthday reminders or arrange your schedule.
  • Evernote gives you everything you need to keep life organized—great note taking, project planning, and easy ways to find what you need, when you need it. With Evernote, you can capture anything and add more than text to your notes, including photos, files and to-do lists. You can create a personal space for all your most important ideas and information and find it fast with powerful search and keyword tags. You can also sync your notes to all your devices so they stay with you, even if you are offline.

Some of the other popular project and programme management toolkits are:

Many others could be found here.

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Design thinking

Toolkits for early product development - design thinking

Innovation is supported by open, yet structured Design Thinking (DT). DT is regarded as a system of three overlapping spaces - viability, desirability, and feasibility - where innovation increases when all three perspectives are addressed. DT has been supported by various methods and tools for different users, among which business communities as well. These tools and methods foster incubating ideas and creating innovative solutions within teams.

The Design Thinking toolkit helps solve challenging problems. Innovation Champions of Dentsu Aegis Network created it to help people and their partners become solution gurus. This framework guides the user through the four states of innovation: explore the insights of the problem, choose the focus area, make potential solutions and finally test solutions that work. The framework enables the continuous repetition of the cycle until the solution is found.

Similarly, the Design Sprint Kit is an open-source resource for design leaders, product owners, developers or anyone who is learning about or running Design Sprints - a proven methodology (developed at Google from a vision to grow UX culture and the practice of design leadership across the organisation) for solving problems through designing, prototyping, and testing ideas with users and driving teams with clearly defined goals and deliverables. The Design Sprint Kit shares a flexible model created for internal Google Teams, and acts as a methods repository for the design and product development community.


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Online surveys and questionnaires

When starting a new venture project, one usually needs to establish some connection with the potential clients in an effort to better understand their needs. Also, the important thing is knowing the overall state of the industry through the eyes of consumers. That is where online questionnaires can get handy. The digital era has provided a lot of perks when it comes to communication and one of those are software and online platforms for gathering data and experiences from the population.

One of those platforms is Typeform which helps in creating forms, surveys and quizzes that keep the ‘audience’ engaged and do not feel like being interrogated. It uses built-in photo and video libraries, custom layouts and themes and conditional logic, which asks the right follow-up questions. Beardbrand, for example, has got 150k leads with an embedded quiz on their homepage.

Slido is another popular option, which uses the same features as Typeform but it can be integrated with Microsoft Teams and other communication platforms in an effort to better run live meetings and real time polls. uses Slido in their activities.

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No-code development platforms for MVPs

No-code development platforms are tools which enable users to rapidly create software applications by interacting with specific graphical user interfaces instead of programming. Those tools are often designed with the aim to enable domain experts as well as business users to build the applications by themselves, instead of collaborating with software development teams. Thus, rapid development is embedded in the business strategy, the costs are reduced and the final products can be launched as MVPs directly as a result of the ideation process.

Savings in time and cost needed for MVP development produce very important benefits for startup founders, such as acceleration of the digital innovation and transformation, reducing current IT backlog, increased responsiveness and reducing dependency on difficult-to-hire technical skills.

Gartner PeerInsights recognizes enterprise low-code application platforms as a trending product category and it stores hundreds of reviews and ratings of different products. Some of the best rated platforms are ClickPaaS Platform and Application Express (APEX) by Oracle. Some of the most popular no-code platforms today that are not on Gartner’s list are Zoho Creator, Visual LANSA, Knack, Mendix, Quickbase, Retool, Airtable and Power Apps by Microsoft.

No-code platforms include features such as:

  • straightforward wizard-based app building,
  • intuitive and easy to use form and user interface builders with templates, reusable objects and elements and drag-and-drop widgets,
  • custom workflows with drag-and-drop process modelers,
  • pre-built integrations with specialized and general purpose cloud-based platforms,
  • decision engines for modeling complex logic,
  • offline data storage,
  • security and identity configuration features,
  • built-in team collaboration and task management,
  • app analytics,
  • automated software testing and QA monitoring,
  • one-click deployment and rollback.

While no-code platforms get us close to the holy grail of software development at the place where actual domain problems are created and solved, they are still imperfect In most of the cases, some coding knowledge is still required, especially for fixing errors. The learning curve is actually steeper than one could imagine after reading this article; user interfaces can be overwhelming at first. Load times of the apps could be better. Sometimes, prices can be high, especially for enterprise plans. Still, do not get discouraged, all those issues are being resolved as we speak, no-code platforms are some of the most trending hot deals on the market.


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Mature your business opportunities with the BOSS platform

As the importance of academia in the private sector is proving to be crucial for further product development, the issue of knowledge transfer from universities to industry needs to be addressed.

In that regard, the University of Belgrade, META Group and the University of Liège have been developing an online-based platform which includes a Business opportunity self-assessment tool, Business opportunity development planning toll, Business opportunity disclosure form as well as written and video materials which help to bridge producers of knowledge and innovation with the private sector that can implement those innovations in real life conditions, for betterment of both.


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Pitch deck templates

Pitch deck templates and tools

Designing an effective pitch deck can significantly increase your chances to win the hearts of angel investors and funders. Your slide designs need to introduce and highlight your ideas, concepts and visions, your key employees and a team, your social media presence and most importantly, your funding strategies and goals. Using a great pitch deck template can shorten this path. Although there are many free templates on the web, we strongly suggest considering premium ones - their price can be as low as 10$ per template.

There are many online platforms offering premium access to pitch deck templates, with different cost models, from those with a low monthly fee and unlimited downloads to pay-per-download models.

Currently, Envato Elements offers more than 13000 pitch deck templates for Google Slides, Microsoft Powerpoint and other platforms for unlimited downloads with monthly plans starting at $16.5. GraphicRiver offers individual downloads of thousands of pitch deck templates in the price range of $10-20. You can also use more general purpose online graphical tools, such as Canva, for designing your first pitch deck.


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TIM Analytics

Extract knowledge from large volumes of data with TIM analytics

TIM Analytics is part of the Competence Centre on Text Mining and Analysis of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. A team of analysts, IT and innovation experts were able to create a set of toolkits which aim to extract valuable knowledge out of the ever-growing online data pool. Some of the features available at the TIM web application are:

  • Research and Innovation monitoring;
  • Anticipation - a tool used for on-demand studies on trends in techno-scientific fields;
  • Document similarity – currently in a pilot phase of development.

In the Deliverables section, find reports and analyses done using TIM as well as other documents such as publications.


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ERP Software

Online platforms for superb 360 degrees business management and analytics

Very soon after you start your innovative business, you will find yourself with many different online apps that typically do not talk to each other. Lack of integration introduces errors and increased time and cost to daily operations. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software integrates business processes by providing modular architectures in which you can smoothly plug and play its different components, such as CRM, accounting, marketing, sales, invoicing, eCommerce, purchase, manufacturing and many more. Good news, it is already online, in the cloud.

Odoo (former OpenERP) is one of the most popular ERP platforms in the cloud. It provides tens of different business functions with extra integrations. The pricing model is based on the number of users, selected apps/business functions and extra integrations, hosting type and implementation service. At the moment, the monthly subscription cost of a cloud hosted solution for one user with self-service implementation and basic configuration of apps (sales, accounting, purchase) is $34.


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Learn online

Online courses for startup entrepreneurs

There are many online courses that were created by entrepreneurs or individuals who have experience in the field of entrepreneurship, startups, digital marketing, etc. In many cases, these courses are free to attend/audit, but if you want to be awarded the certificate of successful completion, the full price needs to be paid. Here is a list of some of those courses:

All the above-mentioned courses prices are current - they can be obtained at discount prices quite regularly. The prices can usually go down to around 15 dollars.

Many other courses can be found on online education platforms, such as Coursera. The following ones were created by university professors and teaching assistants, and upon finishing any of these courses, certification on the selected topic is gained:

More of the similar content concerning startup/scaleup entrepreneurship can be found on the Coursera education platform.


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IP toolkit

IP (Intellectual Property) Toolkit

In the time of a global and competitive economy, the traditional university role as a mere provider of graduates to the local community and publishing results of research activities needs to evolve in correspondence with the economy-driven world. This is especially emphasised by the need of the industry to implement new findings and breakthroughs while keeping the technology of those breakthroughs confidential.

This is where an IP toolkit can be very useful, because it can solve some problems such as ownership of IP and rights of use, IP disclosure, IP management, commercialisation of IP, incentives for researchers, recording and accounting, and conflicts of interest. The IP toolkit has a database of IP policies which is at the disposal of WIPO member states (there are 193 member states – countries all around the world), and they undertake different activities for support of the development of IP policies at universities.


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Guide to IPR

Guide to IPR by the University of the Greater Region

Free resources for aspiring sci entrepreneurs and their teachers in an academic environment can present a valuable support with understanding the most important steps to take in terms of IP protection when bringing an own invention or development to the market. The “Guide to Intellectual Property Rights” by the University of the Greater Region offers, among others, concrete case studies on patents, utility models and trade mark applications as well as an overview of relevant research databases.


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