The call has gone out for applications for the third EstLat-Accelerate pre-accelerator programme. All that a potential participant needs is the desire to test its idea in practice. The programme’s organizers will take care of everything else. Participation is free of charge. Applications can be submitted here until 31st of October. Six Latvian and six Estonian startups will be selected. After graduating from this pre-accelerator programme, team or the person will be ready to continue work on its idea, look for an investor or apply for admission to another accelerator programme.
“Est-Lat was the first accelerator programme in my life,” says Mārtiņš Balodis, the winner of the spring pre-accelerator programme call for applications. He developed the Webscraper tool, which makes it possible to automatically obtain various data from lots of websites. “I applied because I saw the ad. Most of the participants faced the dilemma of whether they should quit their jobs to focus on their idea. I had already taken this step. I was attracted by the fact that Est-Lat was not as intensive as other programmes – I didn’t have to exclusively focus on it for several months. I was only required to participate in person a few times, and this format was appropriate for me. I would recommend everyone with an idea to apply. You should at least make the effort to submit your application. If you’re admitted, this means that you and your idea has potential.”
The Est-Lat pre-accelerator programme will start with a mentoring academy in Tartu on 8 November. This programme is unique in that the most suitable mentor is chosen for each idea, who will help the author to focus on the most important things throughout the pre-accelerator programme. Two workshop days will also be organized later this year – on 30 November in Riga and on 13 December in Tartu. The programme is scheduled to conclude at the start of 2019 – on 10 January in Riga and on 24 January in Tartu, when all the participants will present the results of their work to investors.
The main subjects that are considered during the training will be startup creation, product compatibility to the market, an introduction to marketing and brand strategy, training in pitching, and develping other important skills required for young entrepreneurs.
The training will be conducted and mentoring support will be provided by local and foreign experts. Among the professionals to have participated in the past are Jonathan Howard – an expert with vast marketing and storytelling experience, who has worked for advertising agencies in London including Saatchi & Saatchi and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. An introduction to prototyping was given by Amid Moradganjeh, who works as a freelance designer parallel to his job as an associate professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In turn, presentation training was conducted by Gleb Maltsev, who has passed on these skills to many, now well-known, startups in the Baltic States. It is possible that these mentors will return to work with the newly admitted startups alongside new ones.
Mentors also include well-known driving forces behind the startup ecosystem in Latvia such as the Chairwoman of the Board in Latvian Startup Association Startin.lv Egita Poļanska, the co-founder of several startups and the co-working space TechHub Riga Ernests Štāls, as well as representatives of successful Latvian startups with international experience such as Sandris Kondrāts (Anatomy Next) and Raimonds Kulbergs (Funderful).
The EstLat-Accelerate project is part of the European Regional Development Fund programme Interreg Estonia–Latvia. The project’s partnership cities are Riga and Tartu. They are both represented by five partners, i.e. the founders of the local startup community – the Latvian Startup Association Startin.lv, TechHub Riga, Tartu University, the Garage48 foundation and the Baltic Innovation Agency.
Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV
Phone: +371 22380374
About the EstLat-Accelerate project
EstLat-Accelerate is a pre-accelerator programme to facilitate the development of the Latvian and Estonian startup environment, which was launched under the auspices of the European Regional Development Fund’s programme Interreg Estonia–Latvia 2014–2020. The programme is implemented in accordance with the cohesion policy’s goal of promoting European territorial cooperation. The programme offers the opportunity to develop cooperation between Estonia and Latvia, which began with the fulfilment of the Estonia-Latvia-Russia INTERREG IIIA Priority within the Baltic Sea Region INTERREG III B neighbourly relations programme in 2004 and the Estonia–Latvia programme from 2007–2013. It is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Latvia.
About the Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV
Startin.LV is an organisation, whose goal is to develop the ecosystem for Latvia’s Startup and to promote the startup movement in Latvia, as well as to foster mutual respect and cooperation among startups. The organisation currently has 92 members. Everyone is welcome to join and support the startup movement.
About Tech Hub Riga
TechHub Riga is a community for new technology startups, where they can meet, work, learn and collaborate. It is the home of over 20 startups and a range of different events such as monthly meetings and the annual startup community event TechChill.
About Tartu University
Tartu University is Estonia’s leading research and training centre. It is responsible for preserving the Estonian people’s cultural heritage and building the country’s reputation in the realms of research and higher education. It is one of the top 2% of the world’s best universities according to the World University Rankings.
About the Garage48 Foundation
The Garage48 series of events began in April 2010 in Estonia and since then have expanded in other countries in Northern Europe and Africa. All Garage48 events take place in English and are usually attended by over 100 participants from various countries around the world. Although the participants have different skills and proficiencies, they are united by the desire to create new and interesting solutions.
About the Baltic Innovation Agency
The Baltic Innovation Agency offers services related to innovation, clustering and the development of technological solutions to public and private organisations. Its main areas of competence are startup, cluster management, strategic and business planning, technology transfer and commercialisation, market research and analysis.