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Startup Day Celebration on 12th September at VEFRESH innovation district

On 12 September in Riga will be celebrated with a broad programme the Startup Day 2019, which has already become a traditional and awaited annual ecosystem event. Startup Day is an open ecosystem engagement platform to promote cross-sectoral cooperation and highlight the contribution of startups to Latvian economic vitality and innovation development. The events to be carried out within the framework of the day consist of open workshops and discussions, Ministry of Economics Startup ecosystem forum, presentations of the Baltic Startup Brand TOP10, Riga City Council Grant Programme “Atspēriens” workshop, as well as joint celebration. 

“Startup ecosystem is an ambitious and fast-growing sector, which renders a doubtless contribution to the development of national economics, as evidence shows in the study carried out in 2019 by the Ministry of Economics. The total amount of raised investments has already exceeded 300 million euros. Importantly, 72% of funds invested in the Latvian startups come from the foreign investors. Latvia is the first country in the world, where we wish to establish an official Startup Day, celebrated annually on 12 September. Our target is to achieve the closer cooperation between representatives of the startup community, policy makers, broader public, as well as startups themselves in Latvia and the Baltics,” says Startup Day initiative and Digital Freedom Festival co-founder Dagnija Lejiņa

This year all of the Startup Day events will take place at one site – the VEFRESH innovation district, created by technology companies of VEF district “Accenture Latvia” and “Latvijas Mobilais Telefons” jointly with VEF Culture Palace, “Jaunā Teika” and real estate developer “New Hanza Capital”. Viesturs Celmiņš, a social anthropologist and a VEFRESH Movement Leader, outlines: “VEF district hosts the highest in the state concentration of tech specialists – there work 4000 IT professionals, who yield more than 40% of the Latvian entire IT export volume. The movement aims to create an environment conducive to the development and piloting of export-capable innovations and new smart city technologies for the Baltic region. We are happy to become a Startup Day partner!”

Startup Day 2019 will start at 10.00 with the third Start-up ecosystem forum, organised by the Ministry Of Economics and Latvian Startup Association Startin.lv. Forum aims to promote a dialogue between startups and representatives of public, private, academic sector and non-governmental organizations. The key topic of the forum this year is “Promotion of startup ecosystem and cross-sectoral cooperation: challenges and opportunities”. 

“The Startup ecosystem forum is the way to encourage a dialogue between various participants of the startup ecosystem and parties involved – startups, academic sector, public sector and corporations – by searching for the best cooperation ways. I am pleased that the forum, which is being organized already for the third time, has become a tradition, aimed to explain not just to the members of the community, but also to the public the role startups are playing in the development of innovation system and their contribution to the national economics. I am particularly delighted that this year’s forum is focused not just at the cross-sectoral and sectoral, but also Baltic states’ cooperation opportunities and challenges,” points out Ralfs Nemiro, Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia.

“The Ministry of Economics is currently working on proposals on the extension of the range of beneficiaries of State aid, therefore, within the coming months we will invite this sector to get vigorously involved in the drafting of necessary amendments to the of Startup Law,” continued the Minister.

The Baltic Startup Brand Top Final will begin at 13:00, there out of almost 100 contestants the Top 10 will participate in pitch session. Ten finalists are currently being screened by a competent jury, which consists of representatives of the Ministries of Economics of all three Baltic States and of Startup Associations, as well as other startup environment participants. The Baltic Startup Brand top is created by DDB Consulting in cooperation with the key partner – “Accenture Latvia”. 

From 10:00 and throughout the day VEFRESH district will host lectures, workshops and open #HealthTech, #GreenTech, #SmartCity discussions. During the event the participants will have an opportunity to get acquainted with the ecosystem participants and their success stories, and to improve knowledge in fields such as the legal aspects of establishment of a company, design thinking etc. Additionally the participants will learn of opportunities to get engaged in the business market of Great Britain in cooperation with the British Embassy in Latvia. In cooperation with VEFRESH throughout the day the Teikums Teodors coworking space will host the contact establishment sessions with VEFRESH mentors and Startup Safari Riga investors. All of the events are free and all parties interested are welcome to attend the events. 

At the end of Startup Day on an open stage there will be an opportunity to learn more about the Riga City Council Grant Programme “Atspēriens”, for which this year the grant volume will be considerably increased – for one idea in the field of smart city solutions from now on will be up to EUR 25 000. At the end of the Day at 20:00 all of the Startup Day guests, partners and participants will have an opportunity to participate in the startup ChoirUp singing evening together with a mixed choir Dziesmuvara and Your Move co-founder Jānis Kreilis, as well as to continue the celebration at the end of this season’s Teikums Street Gourmet Food festival with Signe Meirāne.

Startup Day Partners: Buildit Accelerator, British Embassy in Latvia, Digital Freedom Festival, DDB Latvia, Ministry of Economics, European Commission, Magnetic Latvia, LU Business Incubator, Primus Derling, Mintos, Riga City Council’s City Development Department, RTU Design Factory, Startin.LV, Startup Safari, State Real Estate, VEFRESH