The aim of the project “Small Innovative Business Promotion Network” (SIB Net) is to promote innovative new high-growth firms (e.g. “gazelles”) by encouraging entrepreneurial creativity, providing needed support and evaluating needs for early-stage risk finance. The project aims to solve common problems for partner regions (Kurzeme, Riga and South Estonia), namely the failure of the market to release innovative spinouts from regional research centres and higher education institutions fuelled by partnership, mutual learning and mobility activities, knowledge and experience exchange and the lack of necessary external competence.
Executive summary of the project: this project will evaluate the need for early-stage advice and risk finance for new business ideas with high growth potential, and will assess measures to encourage the supply of spin-offs from regional research centres. The backbone of the project foresees development of appropriate idea accelerators to increase the flow of sustainable vital innovative business ideas, including creativity forums, establishment of two new pre-incubators, matching idea authors with skilled entrepreneurs and two policy tools that can be transferred to other regions to attain faster innovative business idea acceleration.
The project aims to design feasibility studies of proof-of-concept and pre-seed funds in the project area, and to evaluate their importance and economic return. As a third outcome partners will encourage nascent entrepreneurs by organising cross-border business idea competition, creating efficient matching and training mechanisms in the regions, the arrangement of investor forums and research on BAN creation opportunities.
New gazelle-type firm development will be realised by re-designing the feasibility study and model-of-technology incubator scheme. Special attention will be paid to elaborate policy recommendations on a regional and national level.
Special attention will also be paid to raising awareness and consensus between all stakeholders involved, to increasing the understanding of early-stage high-risk entrepreneurship issues, to creating social dialogue on innovative entrepreneurship and to sharing and disseminating the results of the project locally and internationally. This is also aimed at building an effective cross-border knowledge transfer platform for target parties.
The project entails four work packages:
- WP 1 "Management and administration",
- WP 2 "Idea accelerator",
- WP 3 "Provision of early-stage finance",
- WP 4 "Knowledge transfer platform, awareness building and dissemination".
The Riga Planning Region is the lead partner in the project, and the project will be implemented in close cooperation with the following partners in Latvia - Ventspils University College, Ventspils High Technology Park, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, and Estonia - Tartu Science Park, Institute of Baltic Studies.
The SIB Net project ensures a diverse activity package to increase creativity and business readiness and develop financial schemes for the support of promising business ideas:
- analysis of the needs of innovative new start-ups in the existing situation and regional context;
- establishment of two pre-incubators, creativity forums, investor forums, matching events;
- development and assessment of different financial tool concepts that are applicable and most appropriate for the program territory;
- training of project partner representatives responsible for SMEs’ support activities and exchange of experience.
The project will identify the needs in the region regarding the lack of companies with high growth potential and of financial support. Development of two pre-incubators in Ventspils and Tartu, organisation of two investor forums, several matching and creativity events and idea competitions will be of benefit to idea holders to improve and develop their ideas into real business plans.
Different early-stage financing concept schemes will be developed and evaluated. Workshops with the participation of local and European Union experts will increase the understanding of the importance of the issues covered by the project. As output project parters, the creation of a joint pre-incubation and risk capitalist cross-border network and a platform for further projects will result. The methodological platform as output will contain several deliverables. The knowledge transfer platform as a knowledge and competence transfer mechanism is an additional output to be used long after the finalization of the SIB Net project.