The pre-acceleration program “Innovation Academy” initiated by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) and implemented by Riga Business School has started its third year, gathering 145 participants. A total of 120 applications were received, which confirms that already at the time of application a number of participants intended to work together on researching or developing a specific area.

The Innovation Academy’s overall program consists of two parts, totalling 24 weeks. In the first part, lasting six weeks, participants will learn the basics of innovative entrepreneurship – innovation culture, ideation, leadership, challenges of technologies industries, team building, early idea viability testing and rapid prototyping. In the second phase, which lasts 18 weeks, the program provides the opportunity to receive high-level mentoring support to enable participants to develop and polish their ideas for further commercialization and investment. After the first part of the program, the second part will be open for applications from 16 October to 12 November, giving both existing and new participants the opportunity to apply for the program.

The Innovation Academy provides an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to work on commercializing innovation-intensive ideas to take the first steps by gaining knowledge on startup creation, form teams to develop these ideas and work on testing their viability under the guidance of experienced mentors.

This year’s program aims to guide teams toward sustainability, energy solutions, and science-intensive ideas. Participants in this program will have the opportunity to meet alumni from two previous programs to foster possible collaboration and exchange experience.

After the inspiring results of the first two years of the program, we are looking forward to the launch of the third season of the Innovation Academy with interest and confidence. This program will bring new companies with ideas of global potential to the Latvian start-up ecosystem, which will be implemented by passionate and professional teams.

Viesturs Sosārs
Director of the Innovation Academy and Entrepreneur in Residence at Riga Business School

This is the third cycle of the Innovation Academy program, and the previous experience has been successful. The previous cycles of the program have produced many interesting business models and created a number of strong teams – some of which are already active members of the Latvian innovation ecosystem. It is therefore reasonable to expect that in the new cycle, participants will also create innovative companies and will eventually compete successfully in the global market, enter global value chains, create jobs, and become drivers of economic growth.

Andrejs Berdņikovs
Head of the Technology Business Centre, LIAA

During the past year, the program has seen significant growth in brands and companies such as:

  • Fungo – a motion-enabled augmented reality mobile game for adolescent oncology ward patients.
  • Break the loop – technology that monitors a person’s thought process using objective psychological indicators and environmental factors to provide situational, personalized recommendations according to the user’s personality type, needs and goals to improve emotional well-being and stress tolerance, as well as reduce the risk of burnout.
  • PeakSave – a service that makes energy consumption smarter, more cost-effective and greener.
  • Smart Hire – a recruitment platform based on innovative technological solutions that facilitate the integration of job seekers into the labor market, speed up the recruitment process, and promote long-term cooperation between employer and employee.
  • A-gizo – a web-based company inventory tracking and booking platform that provides construction and construction company management with traceability of team inventory.

In the first year of the Innovation Academy, the first phase of the program received more than 160 applicants, which led to 27 in the second phase to further develop their ideas. Last year, 150 participants started the first phase and 33 teams successfully graduated, developing innovative products and solutions in various fields such as green technologies, education, advertising and financial technologies.

The concept of the Innovation Academy program is developed, organized and managed by Riga Business as a structural unit of the Riga Technical University in cooperation with LIAA Technology Business Center. The program is supported by the European Economic Area and the Norwegian Financial Instrument. Project No. 10.1-2-L-2021/5.

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