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. Since September 2021, there have been 2 cycles and the 1st stage of the 3rd cycle. From October 16 to November 10, 2023, it is possible to apply for the 2nd stage of the 3rd training cycle, which will host up to 50 teams.
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.
Application for participation in the 2nd stage of the Innovation Academy's 3rd cycle training "Pre-acceleration of innovative projects" is open from October 16 to November 10, and applicants must submit their application online on the state business development platform business.gov.lv by November 10 at 23:59. Up to 50 teams will be admitted to the training of this stage, which will last 18 weeks, according to the selection and evaluation procedure.
This stage of the program will take place from November 27, 2023 to March 31, 2024 and will be implemented by the Riga Business School. Participants will receive a free training course led by RBS professionals, where participants will have the opportunity to learn from domestic and foreign mentors with rich experience in business development. The main goal of the program is to develop early-stage business ideas capable of attracting external funding and competing internationally.
More information is available at www.inovacijuakademija.lv.
The program is implemented with the support of Technology Business Center of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and the Norway Grants support.
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 the "Pre-acceleration of innovative projects" training will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Compliance of the applicant's business idea with the high, medium-high or medium-low technology industry and RIS3;
- Applicant's motivation;
- An innovative product or service idea with global ambition;
- The commercial potential of the business idea;
- Team competence;
- Team readiness for pre-acceleration.
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.
- For the trading sector, according to NACE Rev. 2. Section G “Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles”.
- 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”.
- For the gambling sector, according to NACE Rev. 2. Chapter 92, “Gambling and betting”, heading “Art, entertainment and recreation”.
- 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”.
- For the manufacturing industry of tobacco products, in accordance with NACE Rev. 2. Chapter 12 “Manufacture of tobacco products” of Title C.