This spring, 339 new entrepreneurs have applied for the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) business incubator incubation program and 515 - for the pre-incubation program. From these, 80 applications are from Latvian citizens living abroad.
In autumn 2020, 533 applications were received, but in spring 2020 - 501 application. This spring, 339 new entrepreneurs and 515 authors of business ideas have applied for the LIAA incubation program, which makes up 854 applications. Compared to the previous application session in autumn 2020, the total number of applications has increased by 65%, which confirms that during the pandemic, interest in the development of one's business has increased.
Laura Očagova, LIAA Director of Business Incubator Department comments on the number of applications received: “Each year we see that the LIAA business incubator programs are becoming more popular and authors of business ideas and new entrepreneurs are applying to take advantage of the opportunities provided by LIAA business incubator programs to develop their businesses. The popularity of these programs and the interest of potential participants is stimulated by the results of incubator participants, which are gaining attention through LIAA and by the worldwide achievements of the companies themselves - being able to compete on a global level, as well as achieved export volumes. In the last three years, the export volumes of business incubator participants have reached more than 125 million EUR.”
Also, this year, the most popular incubators, including diaspora applications, are in the Creative Industries (58 incubation applications), Jūrmala (39), Jelgava (36), Sigulda (28), Valmiera (27) and Liepāja business incubators (28), but compared to other years, Ogre business incubator has also received more applications (33). While most of the pre-incubation applications were received by the Creative Industries incubator (164 applications), Jelgava (88), Jūrmala (89), Ogre (86), Liepāja (66) and Valmiera business incubator (66).
The Sigulda business incubator also developed the idea of the well-known fruit puree “Rūdolfs” (SIA “Lat Eko Food”). In 2019, SIA “Lat Eko Food” was the fourth largest exporter among all participants of the business incubator. The founder of the company Evija Martinsone emphasizes: "Participation in the business incubator program can accelerate the growth. Access to European Union funding allowed us to take a step forward that would have been much more difficult on our own. This is an opportunity that should be used by all new companies - because when a company gets bigger - there is less chance of such support. Don't be lazy, don't postpone, there won't always be such opportunities. "
Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere, co-owner and founder of “MADARA Cosmetics”, started her company at the age of 23. Today, the cosmetics brand "MÁDARA" is one of the most famous modern Latvian brands and is in demand both here and abroad. The entrepreneur says: "When starting a business, the new entrepreneur greatly needs support. When creating my company "MADARA Cosmetics", I also actively searched for and used - incubator programs, mentoring and various training support opportunities. It is wonderful that the new entrepreneurs have such structured support programs provided by the state, where they acquire a variety of skills, receive advice from experienced entrepreneurs and can raise finance, which is particularly important at the very beginning of the business, when usually there is an idea, but no funds to invest. On the other hand, new entrepreneurs should be congratulated for the daring to start their own business. I wish for the new program participants to take brave steps forward, to perceive everyday events as life, because in business, as in life, there are different days and there is no single recipe for success. I also want to wish them to enjoy how ideas turn into powerful work and benefit not only yourself, but also others.”
The results of admission to the incubation and pre-incubation programs will be known in May 2021.