Teams formed to commercialize 28 ambitious ideas concluding the first part of the INO program developed by Riga Business School

At the end of the first phase of the development and pre-acceleration program Innovation Academy, teams were established to commercialize 28 ideas. Altogether 159 applications were received and a total of 198 participants took part in the first phase of the program, as several applications were from already established teams. 52 participants had a previous experience in entrepreneurship and majority (126 participants) provided their own innovative idea. The first part of the Innovation Academy started on 4 November 2021 and the application for the second phase of the program will continue until 7 January, where both the teams formed in the first part and also new ones are welcome to test the commercial potential of their ideas.

“Although we were anticipating great response for participation in the program, 198 participants was a positive surprise. Also, we were positively delighted by the great versatility of the competence of participants and the degree of readiness of ideas,” comments program director and Riga Business School (RBS) resident entrepreneur Viesturs Sosārs.Both these components are a great precondition for the development and implementation of innovative projects able to compete on a global scale.

Innovation Academy manager Jānis Altgauzens: “There are many smart and knowledgeable people in Latvia able to create globally competitive solutions and lead a team for the further development of the solution. Our task is to provide little nudge of business knowledge to guide them on their success story path and give encouragement in the finding and creation of the team.”

In intensive sessions for six weeks in a row, studying identification of problems, defining of solutions, global technology trends and technological challenges of various sectors, participants received necessary knowledge to come up with innovative and technologically-intensive ideas. Every week remote networking of participants took place, active communication via the communication channels of the program and individual consultations of the program developers with all participants of the program. In the conclusion of the first part of the program, during the remote idea development camp that took place for one day and a half, participants created 28 teams. Sessions with experienced professionals of start-ups and other fields are one of the most valuable parts of the program.

Several ideas the teams are working on have a potential to be commercialized successfully. The range of ideas is vast, covering deep tech field (Trafolo), development of the machine-learning software (Squrino, RIVERMATH), moving towards sustainability/materials processing (TEXTILE in TECHSTYLE), as well as crypto currency (Daily).

Elvija Vanaga, participant of the Innovation Academy: “Program was valuable in general. It allowed me to repeat and improve existing knowledge. I am happy that lectures were both theoretical and practical, allowing getting to know other participants and working together even remotely. Program allows defining actions to perfect one’s idea, finding team members and is great for self-growth.” Asked about the biggest challenge in frame of the program, Elvija Vanaga mentions finding team members, but it was resolved successfully. Elvija Vanaga submitted her idea on the packaging developed from recycled fallen tree leaves to the program.

Applying and entering the second part of the Innovation Academy, within 18 weeks time participants will be able to test the viability and growth potential of their idea. Under the guidance of internationally experienced mentors teams promoting the idea will be supported with practical and valuable tips for the testing, validating and commercializing of their ideas.

You can apply for the second part of the Innovation Academy “Innovation Projects Pre-acceleration” until 7 January 2022.You can submit the application electronically in the state platform business.gov.lv.

On the Innovation Academy

The Innovation Academy is a 24-week practical development program. Participants will gain world-class knowledge on starting an innovation-based business. Teams will identify current and globally relevant problems, define solutions, and work on early testing, including developing and testing prototypes.

Teams will be supported by internationally experienced and recognized mentors, founders and managers of start-ups, as well as professionals of corporate innovations. 

At the end of the program, projects will be able to attract investments and find partners to begin commercialization. Each Innovation Academy cycle consists of two parts and one has to apply separately for each of them. It is planned to organise 3 cycles until 30 April 2024. 

Innovation Academy program concept is developed, organized and managed by Riga Business School (RBS). Innovation Academy base is created according to the best global practice for promoting commercialization of the innovation-intensive ideas. Origins of this idea can be found at the Stanford University, as well as the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). RBS is one of the first institutions in Europe that have started cooperation with this university.

The Innovation Academy is organised with the support of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and EEA Norway Grants Latvia.