The youth entrepreneurship promotion programme “Futurepreneurs”, being implemented in Lithuania for the first time, has ended. During the final event 21 team participating in “Futurepreneurs” presented their business ideas and the results of participation in the program for nearly 3 months – the future startups. Most participants participating in the program have been addressing the problems faced by businesses or consumers every day, and in this way expect to create and implement its innovative offering.
“The Lithuanian startup ecosystem is gaining momentum, startups are becoming an integral part of our economics and culture, especially among the youth. Therefore, the creation of favourable business environment and further development of the startup ecosystem, including the future funding for the innovative products being created, is one of our core goals. I am happy with the desire of the young people not only to create a business, but also an ambition to address the challenges of the modern world, such as pollution. The innovative economics may become the main engine of economics of our country, and it can be started by you, the participants of this programme”, – said Mindaugas Sinkevičius, the Minister of Economy, the curator of the programme “Futurepreneurs”, who has opened the event.
Laima Kaušpadienė, the director of the Saulėtekis Valley Science and Technology Park adds that the programme “Futurepreneurs” is one of the ways to foster entrepreneurship, focus on socially responsible ideas, addressing the modern challenges and inciting change. “During the implementation of this programme, we have realised that we had offered what the young people lack. They are capable of innovating, often have determination, enthusiasm and brilliant ideas, however, they lack knowledge of how to turn those ideas into reality. Hence, the youth participating in the programme have themselves experienced, what it means to create business in different fields, touched on specific stages of the creation of business, listened to advice of and gained experience from the professionals, – said L. Kaušpadienė.
During the final event, 21 team presented their business ideas and fought not only for the first place, but also for the prizes set up by the sponsors. The young people were competing in the following categories: information and communications, finance, green technology as well as defence and security. The participants were evaluated and the best ideas selected by a competent committee of experts, including Coen Faber, the partner of the programme from the Netherlands (“Pure Birds”), as well as the representatives of the curators of all categories, professionals in their fields.
The most awards – two – were claimed by the team creating an autonomously operating drone designed for protection of buildings and territories. When using this drone, if an object exhibiting a thermal image (such as a human being) enters the area covered by the camera, a drone makes a photo and sends it to the base. Such a system of several drones may be adapted for protection of the state border, military camps or hazardous objects. This team was awarded a prize of EUR 1000, set up by the curators of the category of safety and defence – the Lithuanian Defence and Security Industry Association. This team, as the authors of the best prototype, was also rewarded with a 3 months’ membership in VGTU’s “LinkMenų fabrikas”.
A team entitled “Infinitum” was rewarded as the authors of the best ideas in the area of financial technologies. It was promoting the use of renewable energy in buildings and creating an internet platform where the collected energy could be sold. The young people received a prize of EUR 1000, set up by a curator of this category, an IT company “Tieto Lietuva”.
“Re-solar” were nominated as the winners of the category of the green technologies. They are seeking to create the improved recycling technology for solar modules, allowing to extract valuable substances, which are usually lost materials in the course of conventional recycling, and reuse them. The members of this team were rewarded with a prize of EUR 1000, set up by “Lietuvos energija”.
“Item Sniper”, creating a platform that helps to find the best offerings of second-hand items, were recognised as the best idea in the field of information and communications technologies. They were given a prize was set up by a business accelerator “Startup.lt” – the opportunity to participate in a workshop organized by “Startup.lt”, concerning the data-based sales.
“Back to Life” were named as the authors of the most sustainable idea. They intend to recycle unnecessary and discharged textiles and produce stylish and unique clothing and accessories from it. In the long run, this team intends to have an online shop to sell its products. From now on, the authors of the most sustainable idea will be able to enjoy a 6 months’ membership in a new co-working space of Saulėtekis Valley, provided by Saulėtekis Valley Science and Technology Park.
“The interest of young people in the “Futurepreneurs” programme has proven that there is a need for such initiatives in Lithuania, so we will continue with it in the future. Next year, we plan to expand the programme – it will take place not only in Lithuania, but also in Poland. Furthermore, I believe that young people will not limit themselves only to the programme’s winning post but will develop and implement in the future their ideas and business plans that would contribute to the sustainable development and creation of cohesive business”, – L. Kaušpadienė shared her impressions.
In the course of the programme, the duration of which was three months, the participants have acquired knowledge in four sessions, during which, with the help of lecturers, they analysed and defined their business goals, audiences, possible partners, sponsors, created their draft business models, had discussions with the professionals and looked for the ways to attract investment. The mentors also curated the participants of the programme, the professionals of their fields, who transferred their knowledge, shared insights and gave advice. All the young people participating in the programme also received the certificates of the programme.