The aim of creating a new science accelerator is to help important ideas, knowledge and innovation in the field of health technologies and services in Estonia to materialize as actual business results as well as everyday products and services.
According to Mari Vavulski, a member of the management board of SmartCap, today top science is done in Estonian universities, but it reaches the economy, consumers, and business insufficiently or with long delays: “The Estonian science is of the top world level, but the arrival of its results in everyday life is slow. The main obstacle is the long development cycle of health technology and research-intensive ideas along with the low probability of succeeding in the early stages and raising capital. Through the accelerator the state is supporting the development of start-ups and the ecosystem as a whole.”
“The pandemic that has lasted for more than two years as well as the growing demand for digitization, smarter data processing and new technologies have in turn accelerated the need to create new high-tech services and products in the healthcare sector,” explained Mari Vavulski.
To overcome the obstacles to development, the University of Tartu, which has won the procurement of the accelerator, within two years plans to create and implement a large-scale development program. It will first build a strong, competent, and supportive health technology community of entrepreneurs, researchers, and organizations. The program is the basis for the concept of a science accelerator that identifies research achievements with high business potential and supports their market entry. Activities within the program include training, mentor support, prototyping and business development services.
Creating comprehensive ecosystem
The long-term vision of the University of Tartu is to create a comprehensive ecosystem that is of serious interest outside Estonia as well. “A holistically and systematically developed ecosystem could in the future transform Estonia into a growth platform for knowledge-based new health tech companies, which is also attractive to the research departments of large foreign companies,” said Kristel Reim, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Tartu.
The amount of the agreement concluded between SmartCap and the University of Tartu is 686,100 euros (plus VAT) and it will be implemented in 2022-2023. The University of Tartu will also involve TalTech, Tartu Science Park and Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol in the creation of the science accelerator.
In October 2021, SmartCap announced a competition for the creation and development of knowledge-based start-ups and the promotion of the ecosystem in Estonia. Two bids were submitted, and the winner was the University of Tartu.
SmartCap aims to create a vital venture capital market and enable ambitious and innovative Estonian companies to emerge and grow globally. SmartCap’s Startup Estonia program is financed by the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the EU60971 project.