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Participation of Riga Technical University in Climate-KIC, a knowledge and innovation community at the European Institute of Innovation & Technology enables Latvian students, researchers, experts, and startups develop their business skills, at the same time creating climate innovations.
This year Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 Europe list this year includes six Climate- KIC innovators and three innovators supported by EIT Digital, a European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) community, reports EIT. Among them you could find, for example, Pydro, a company recently established by Mulundu Sichone famous for creating a compact recovery technology that helps determine leaks in water pipe networks.
At the moment, Latvian green technology business idea authors are invited to join the Climate-KIC accelerator carried out by the Design Factory of Riga Technical University (RTU). Last year ten companies joined the program: Droneplan Ltd, CADworks Ltd, Snowision Ltd, Earth Pumps Ltd, Adia Nanotech Ltd, eHarv, Alternative Plants Ltd, Nivetap Ltd, Adaplab Oil & Gas Ltd, and AirBoard Ltd. They belong to diverse sectors of activity, including development of technologies intended for energy production, innovative aircraft technologies etc. During four months of incubation, six out of ten companies «launched their prototypes onto the market for testing or selling,» comments Project Manager Liene Rubina.
According to Raivis Ņikitins, CEO of the newly established company Adaplab Oil&Gas, the groundwork had been started before they joined Climate-KIC, they had already launched the first software product onto the market and started the acceleration program with the next product — adaptive solutions. Based on the innovative technology Adaplab Oil & Gas develop adaptive/self-regulating software solutions for industrial controllers that facilitate efficient control of complex industrial processes; industrial controllers provide a mechanism that acts as a base for any automated system. R. Ņikitins reveals that «financial support and the help of industry experts and mentors, who assist in finding answers to questions, are essential for developing ideas for all startups. Climate-KIC offers both. It provides high-quality mentoring and training sessions, where you also develop your presentation skills. The program also helps better understand your product, business model and clients,» During the acceleration program, the company also managed to find a partner in Latvia: they signed an agreement and started to test their products; moreover, they won over a foreign industrial giant.
In parallel with the Climate-KIC accelerator, RTU also carries out the Climate-KIC pre-incubation program Greenhouse. Another opportunity to develop your business idea is to join the largest European green business ideas competition ClimateLaunchpad: its goal is to support progressive business ideas, helping them grow into global sustainable businesses. At the moment, applications are accepted for participation in the competition. Researchers, students, and entrepreneurs from more than 35 countries submit their ideas for the competition, which is another EIT initiative. Last year, a startup from Kenya won the international competition: their idea was to use waste in creating a mixture of ethanol, cellulose, and water – liquid fuel with the goal to reduce Kenya’s dependence on imported petroleum products. At the international competition, Latvia was represented by Alternative Plants Ltd, a company that uses plant stem cell in developing active ingredients for cosmetics.
At the moment, it is possible to apply also for Pioneers into Practice, a program of reciprocal learning, which is the leading professional mobility program focused on reducing climate change uniting industry representatives from various industries, small businesses, universities, scientific institutes, government institutions and non-governmental organizations. Climate change innovators, who want to gain an understanding of bioeconomics, basic principles of circular economy, a systematic approach to innovation and obtain hands-on experience in working with leading institutions in Latvia and Europe, as well as businesses that wish to offer internships to leading professionals across Europe can submit an application.
Climate-KIC accepted RTU as part of their community at the end of 2016.
Previously green technology companies could receive support from the Green Technology Incubator. It was a joint project of RTU, University of Latvia, and Industrial Development Corporation of Norway SIVA with the aim to provide support and promote entrepreneurship related to innovations in green manufacturing. The joint project was funded by Norway Grants for Green Industry Innovation, which concluded last year. Green Industry Innovation have supported more than 102 projects developing and creating environmentally friendly products and engineering solutions, their total value exceeding EUR 10 million. Alina Ltd, an innovative clay additive manufacturer, and Vizulo Ltd, LED lighting manufacturer are among the companies that flourished at the Green Technology Incubator.