What is the Innovation Academy?

The Innovation Academy is a pre-acceleration program for potential entrepreneurs as well as innovative and globally ambitious business projects. It aims to support the owners of business ideas in the process of creating new products and services, and to create teams that pursue globally competitive business projects. Internationally experienced and recognized mentors, founders and managers of start-ups, as well as corporate innovation professionals run the program. After graduation, projects will be able to attract investment and find partners to start commercializing the product. Each cycle of the Innovation Academy consists of two phases and must be applied for separately. In the second phase, training is provided to the business implementing team consisting of at least 2 members. Two such training cycles are planned to be organised by 30 April 2024.

Applicant’s profile

The Innovation Academy calls for students, young scientists and specialists with innovative business ideas and entrepreneurship, as well as representatives of early start-ups who need support for the drafting and development of product or technology prototypes. A natural person who has reached the age of 18, a group of natural persons, may submit an application or a merchant registered in the Republic of Latvia (corresponding to the status of the SME) who already has a technology intensive business idea or who wishes to create and develop such. Where a group of natural persons, the members of the respective group, submits an application for aid, they shall authorize one representative to submit the application.

The submission

Applications for Phase 1 of the Innovation Academy, "Foundations of Innovative Entrepreneurship", are open from 7 September 2022 to 23 September 2022 and up to 250 participants will be enrolled in the eight-week training. The application is submitted electronically on the national platform www.business.gov.lv. The call for applications is announced on the LIAA website, on the websites of the cooperation partners and information is available at www.inovacijuakademija.lv. You can also follow all the latest news on the social media accounts of LIAA and cooperation partners. The new Innovation Academy training cycle is scheduled to start on 20 October 2022. The Innovation Academy training is 100% funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

Training programme “Innovative Entrepreneurship Basics”, phase 1

Internationally recognized lecturers and mentors of the RTU Riga School of Business, representatives from technologically intensive industries, familiarize students with technology trendsetters and challenges, educate about innovation-enhancing factors and the launch of innovation-intensive business, data-based decision-making, collaborative team-building and leadership, as well as pitching art. The first phase of the Innovation Academy lasts 6 weeks. At the end of the first phase, a team is set up to implement the new business idea in the 2-day camp.

 Applicants for training “Innovative Entrepreneurship Basics” are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • applicant's competence (education and experience assessment)
  • innovative product or service idea with global ambition
  • project team
  • motivation of the applicant

After evaluating applications, a list of applications and participants to be invited to join training and networking platforms is created.

Training programme “Pre-acceleration of Innovative Projects”, phase 2

In the second phase of the Innovation Academy, the training “Pre-acceleration of Innovative Projects” takes 18 weeks, but with a focus on providing support to teams that already have a business idea and need further development of a product or service. Each team will be appointed a leading mentor, as well offered consultations with specialized mentors, depending on the product's specifics and business model. The content will be practical and useful in testing, validating and marketing ideas (marketing, sales, usability, IPR, funding, presentation and marketing) and will be tailored to the needs of the selected teams.

Applicants (teams) for training “Pre-acceleration of Innovative Projects” are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • innovative product or service idea with global ambition
  • team readiness for pre-selection
  • complementarity of team competencies (compatibility of team competencies and skills for business ideas)

A list of applications that have obtained at least 2 points shall be established for phase 2 training support of the Innovation Academy. Applicants with highest number of points shall be invited to join training and networking platforms.

Non-supporting industries

  1. For the trading sector, according to NACE Rev. 2. Section G “Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles”.
  2. For the commercial services sector, according to NACE Rev. 2. Section L “Real estate operations” and Chapter 77 “Leasing and leasing” of Title N “Activities of administrative and servicing services”.
  3. For the gambling sector, according to NACE Rev. 2. Chapter 92, “Gambling and betting”, heading “Art, entertainment and recreation”.
  4. For the alcoholic beverage industry, in accordance with NACE Rev. 2. Chapter 11 “Manufacture of drinks” of Title C, with the exception of class 11.06 “Manufacture of malt” and class 11.07 “Manufacture of alcohol-free drinks; production of mineral waters and other waters bottled”.
  5. For the manufacturing industry of tobacco products, in accordance with NACE Rev. 2. Chapter 12 “Manufacture of tobacco products” of Title C.