The pandemic has shown that every crisis can be a time of opportunities. A number of companies have already started looking for solutions in different spheres, such as e-commerce, health, work optimization and some others, but the market still needs innovations that can solve various pressing issues. The “TechHub” project, implemented by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA), aims to bring together representatives of various fields, promote the growth of knowledge-based business in the country and also organizes the first startup pre-accelerator this November.
The Innovators Community
“According to evaluations in the field of innovation capacity, such as the level of research and experimental development (R&D), the number of patents of inventions, Lithuania ranks 42nd out of 141 in the world. Our aim is to contribute to the improvement of this indicator by bringing together a community of active innovators who would be involved in solving various problems of society, science or business, find like-minded people and develop their ideas together,” says Gintas Kimtys, Director of MITA.
Project consultants already provide professional advice to companies that are interested in developing or implementing innovations. Experts from various fields advise business representatives on financing, project administration and management, preparation of applications, strategy and other issues. It is presumed that with the help of project experts, companies will create or implement 100 innovations.
Innovation enthusiasts will also be invited to participate in regular innovation promotion and networking events where the success stories of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, opportunities for the development of early-stage ideas and markets will be presented. Moreover, participants will be able to test their strengths in hackathons, where they will create prototypes to solve different problems relevant to business, meet like-minded people and have a chance to win a ticket to the pre-accelerator.
Turning the idea into a minimal product
The first cycle of the pre-accelerator is planned in November. It includes 3-months of intensive training and mentoring sessions designed to develop startup ideas into reality, as well as to acquire business knowledge and skills. It is planned that 120 startups will grow their ideas to the minimum viable product during the implementation of the project.
“It has been established that startups, that receive the help of mentors, grow almost 4 times faster in their field and attract as much as 7 times more venture capital than developing on their own. This is because the professional and experienced mentors can not only provide knowledge, but also draw attention to mistakes, motivate, introduce to potential investors, business angels,” says the project manager Gintarė Narakienė.
During the pre-accelerator, startups will have the opportunity to receive services up to 25.000 Eur free of charge. Experienced experts will lead sessions and advise on innovation development, product development, positioning, branding, team building, financing, intellectual property and other topics. During the training period, startups will have individual mentors.
Startups will also have the opportunity to travel abroad with project funds. Five best-performing teams from each cycle will be able to travel to EU countries to look for partners and investors as well as to participate in B2B meetings. The other five best performing teams will be able to participate in foreign accelerators.
The project will also help to discover team members that might be needed. “A startup can rarely be a successful one-man creation. Its existence requires not only experience, knowledge of technology, but it also needs a manager, lawyer, financial controller. So we want to bring together as many interdisciplinary teams as possible, also consisting not only of students, but also of researchers. “TechHub” experts will help to find reinforcement for startup teams, as well as invite those who do not have a startup, but want to help to implement the ideas of others,” says G. Narakienė.
All startups will be able to submit applications for participation in the pre-accelerator (very small or small companies with high and innovation-based business development potential, operating for no more than 5 years). Each applicant team will have to provide information about the startup, team, service (product) in the application form. Received applications will be evaluated and the participants will be selected by project experts.
A total of six pre-accelerator cycles until 2022 are planned. In November, 20 companies will be selected for the first cycle. Registration will start on 12 October and will last until 23 October. Follow us for more information on your Facebook account and website.
Information: Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology