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Oct
24
2018

Applications open for EST-LAT pre-accelerator

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Startups in the pre-accelerator stage are invited to apply until October 26th.

The EstLat-Accelerate pre-accelerator program is open for applications for its third batch. All potential participants need is the desire to give their business idea a practical test run - the creators of the program will take care of everything else.

Participation is free, and applications must be submitted here by October 26th.

Six Latvian and six Estonian startups will be allowed to enroll. After completing this program, entrepreneurs will be well prepared for several things: continuing work on their startup concepts, searching for investors or applying to other startup accelerators. 

Est-Lat was the first start-up accelerator I ever took part in,” says Mārtiņš Balodis, winner of the program’s spring round. He’s developed the WebScraper tool, which automatically extracts different kinds of data from many webpages.

“I applied because I saw an ad. Most of the participants were asking themselves whether to quit their jobs and focus on their start-up idea. I’d already done that. The Est-Lat program attracted my attention because it wasn’t as intensive as others. There was no need to dedicate myself to it non-stop for several months. I only had to be on-site a few times, which suited me. I encourage everyone who has an idea for a start-up to apply. Send in your application, even if only because getting accepted would mean you and your idea have potential.”

The Est-Lat pre-accelerator program will begin on November 8th in Tartu, with mentorship. This program is unique because the list of mentors isn’t established before it starts.  The most appropriate mentor for each idea is selected as part of the process. Throughout the pre-accelerator program, this individual will help a participant focus on the most important aspects of development.

Two more workshops will take place this year – one in Riga on November 30th and one in Tartu on December 13th. The program will conclude at the beginning of 2019, in Riga and Tartu, on January 10th and 24th respectively. On these two dates, participants will present the results of their work to investors.

The training period will focus on several main themes for discussion: 

  • the creation of startups
  • product-market fit
  • introduction to marketing and branding strategy
  • pitch training

Participants will also be trained in other skills important for anyone starting a business.

Both local and foreign experts will provide training and mentorship.

Previous mentors include:

  • Jonathan Howard (marketing and storytelling), who has worked at London agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
  • Amid Moradganjeh (prototyping), an independent designer and associate professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts
  • Gleb Maltsev (presentation skills), who has coached many well-known Baltic start-ups on this topic.

Driving forces in the Latvian start-up world have also been mentors:

  • Egita Poļanska (Chair of Startin.lv, the Latvian Startup Association)
  • Ernests Štāls (co-founder of several startups, as well as of the coworking space TechHub Riga)
  • Sandris Kondrāts (founder of Anatomy Next)
  • Raimonds Kulbergs (founder of Funderful)

Any one of them may join this round’s mentors, though the final mentor list depends on which startups are selected.

The EstLat Accelerate project is part of Interreg Estonia – Latvia, a European Regional Development Fund program. Riga and Tartu are the project’s partner cities. They are represented by five companies, members of the local startup community: Startin.lv (The Latvian Startup Association), TechHub Riga, The University of Tartu, the Garage48 Foundation and The Baltic Innovation Agency