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On 3 April, the Latvian national finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) took place, where five Latvian start-ups competed for the opportunity to get into the global finals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to battle for a total prize pool of USD 1 million. According to the judging panel’s assessment, the winner in Latvia is BirgerMind, a company which was created with the ambition to help patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and motor neurone disease (MND) regain the ability to communicate independently by using a flexible headband with built-in sensors to read brain activity.

The winner of the Latvian finals received a special glass cup designed by a Latvian artist and entry to the global Entrepreneurship World Cup Accelerator. All finalists received free presentation speaking training and valuable tips for pitching their business idea, as well as video business cards to present their company.

After winning the Latvian national finals, the start-up BirgerMind will continue its journey in the global finals, competing against winners from 200 other countries to be among the top 100 companies. To better prepare for the Entrepreneurship World Cup global finals, BirgerMind will participate in a special online training which will include mentoring sessions with international mentors aimed at better understanding the start-up's current stage of development and potential growth opportunities. The global finals will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at the end of this year, bringing together top 100 companies to pitch their idea in person.

The national finals winner, BirgerMind, is a health technology start-up that has developed a brainwave measurement device and software that can turn brain activity into text, enabling paralysed people to communicate. Through the brain-computer interface developed by BirgerMind, users with partial or complete motor function paralysis regain the ability to use email, social networks, generate speech from text, call for help, manage contacts, follow articles and make notes.

Iveta Strupkāja, Acting Director of Investment and Development Agency of Latvia: "The Entrepreneurship World Cup national finalists are a shining example of how Latvian entrepreneurs can not only deliver outstanding results in their home markets, but also compete successfully with the world's best. Such events foster the development of entrepreneurship in Latvia and create the necessary platform for the exchange of ideas, innovation and international cooperation that are essential for the growth of our economy and the development of innovations. We are confident that BirgerMind's win in this year's Latvian national finals is a step closer to Latvia becoming one of the world's leading innovation hubs.”

“After winning the Entrepreneurship World Cup national finals, BirgerMind has the important task of building on its success and proving itself among global competitors. Although the world's best 100 will go on to Riyadh, the winners of previous Latvian national finals have proved that our entrepreneurs have the capacity to do it. We are committed to continuing to provide our entrepreneurs with the support, expertise and resources they need to not only compete, but also to win on the international arena. We at Swedbank are proud to support and empower Latvian entrepreneurs to reach new heights, so we are confident that BirgerMind's achievements will be inspiring not only for other entrepreneurs, but also for the entire Latvian economy," says Jevgenijs Ivanovs, Head of Corporate Customer Division at Swedbank in Latvia.

“We are delighted to have won the national finals. At the same time, we also feel a huge responsibility to represent the Latvian start-up ecosystem and our team internationally. Our greatest responsibility is to our patients, for whom the development of BirgerMind is particularly important. We will continue to prepare for the global finals and develop the product. We see that the Entrepreneurship World Cup can accelerate the processes needed for BirgerMind to continue to grow and evolve. We are sincerely grateful for this opportunity," says Juris Klonovs, founder of BirgerMind.

More than 2000 people voiced their opinion in the viewer’s vote which was open at since the start of March. SpirulinaNord was named the winner of the viewer's choice award, receiving a coffee machine from the local brand Es Mīlu Kafiju (I Love Coffee) as the prize for the company’s whole team.

Five companies – SpirulinaNordBirgerMindPurOceansMedon and PrintyMed – competed in the Latvian national finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup.

About the Entrepreneurship World Cup

Swedbank has been the Latvian representative of the Global Entrepreneurship Network since October 2020, which comes with the unique right to also organize the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) finals in Latvia for a third time. Since 2019, the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) has grown into one of the largest and most diverse competitions and support programmes of its kind for start-ups, with more than 370,000 entrepreneurs from over 200 countries participating, while offering an impressive prize pool for the winners.

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