The program “Futurepreneurs” promoting entrepreneurship of youth, which is implemented in Lithuania for the second time, has reached the finish line. 12 teams of “Futurepreneurs” presented their business ideas – future start-ups – in the final event. Youngsters address the most relevant issues and offer new solutions to current problems. After the last year’s program, there are two startups currently operating in the market. I wonder, how many of them will be this year?
12 teams of the program presented their business ideas and competed not only for the title of being the best, but also for prizes of sponsors. Young people competed in the following categories: Information and Communication Technologies, Clean Technologies and Social Innovations. Participants were evaluated and the best ideas were selected by a panel of experts, including Coen Faber, a program partner from the Netherlands (“Pure birds”), as well as representatives of all categories of carers, and professionals in their fields.
Popularity of “Futurepreneurs” is growing among young people
“One of the features of mature entrepreneurship is the desire to address social, ecological and other problems. Participants of “Futurepreneurs”, for the most part, are developing solutions to solve the problems that the entire world faces. Today, the ideas of “Futurepreneurs” are at the stage of a well-known phrase “think globally, act locally”. Nevertheless, I hope that these ideas will grow, and at the final stage they will function globally, and we will have 12 new, innovative companies,” said Minister of Economy and the sponsor of the program Virginijus Sinkevicius during the opening of the final event.
Laima Kauspadiene, the director of the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park – the place of the program implementation – added that the program “Futurepreneurs” is an excellent opportunity for motivated and determined young people to show their brilliant ideas and look for methods to implement them. “We are delighted that the program is popular, ambitious young people who, with the help of professional lecturers and mentors, have generated innovative and environmentally-friendly business ideas within the short term participate in this program. These young people have already contributed to creation of a safer, cleaner and more responsible future business that will change the world we live in,” said L. Kauspadiene.
Who are they, the best ones?
The “Farmbridge” team – the team creating an online platform where local production can be purchased – has been rewarded even twice. This application will provide the opportunity to buy in one place the freshest naturally grown products in Lithuania. “Farmbridge” has won awards for the best solution in the information and communication technology sector and in the area of clean technologies. The team has won prizes of 1000 Euro of the sponsors – bank “Luminor” and “Lietuvos energija”.
The winners of the category of social innovation are the “Edtech” team, developing a mobile application for parents that provide relevant and immediate educational information that promotes critical and creative thinking of children. The members of this team have been awarded the prize of 1000 Euro of “Western Union”.
The winners of the three main categories will also decide which lecturers contributed the most to their success. Lecturers evaluated by teams will be rewarded with prizes of 500 Euro of category sponsors “Luminor”, “Western Union” and “Lietuvos energija”.
The “LAMA” team, which deals with the problem of borrowing small things here and now, is recognized as the most sustainable idea. This team creates a platform that connects the lender to the borrower in the shortest possible time. Its authors will enjoy the 3 months membership provided by Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park in Sunrise Valley “Work’inn” co-working space.
The title of thebest hardware idea and 3 months of membership in the factory LinkManager went to “HemCup”. They tackle the issue of over-consumption of non-recycled paper cups and want to offer the market an organic, single-use cup made of hemp fibre.
“Sandy Clean” was recognized asthe best idea of the circular economy. They encourage to clean the environment, in particular, the beaches. “Sandy Clean” created a machine that, every time you put garbage into the bin, allows you to get a coupon or a token, which provides discounts at a particular store. These devices should be placed on the beach as a reminder to people that they have to clean and keep the environment clean. The winners will get a 20 h free consultation with specialists of “The Green Minds” (Het groene brein).
An intensive three-month program will be continued next year
During the three months of the program, the participants took part in five practical training sessions, and with the help of the lecturers, analyzed the goals, clients, potential partners and sponsors of the business being developed, drafted their business model, discussed and sought ways to attract investment with the professionals. Mentors and specialists also helped to participants of the program in their fields and reflected their knowledge to young people, shared insights and advice.
When communicating with participants and lecturers, the program implementers see the demand for this program, so they plan to continue it next year. “As the last year, this year as well we will not stop after the finish of the program. We will start preparing for the next year. We will evaluate feedback, comments of the participants and improve the learning process”, L. Kauspadiene shared the plans of the future.
“Futurepreneurs” is an international entrepreneurship promotion program that invites young people under the age of 29 to create future startups and business of changes. The program is implemented for the second time in Lithuania. This year, the program is also being implemented in Poland.
Contributors to the project: Vilnius University, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, VU Business School, “Lietuvos energija”, “Western Union”, “Luminor”, “Metida” law firm, VGTU “Linkmenų fabrikas”, Baltic Environmental Forum in Lithuania and “Totem”. Knowledge and advice are shared by Investment and Business Guarantees, “Socialus marketingas, “Startup.lt”, “Deeper”, Dutch partners “Pure Birds”, “Made Blue Foundation” and “Het groene brein”, Silicon Valley Foundation “500 Startups” and others.
Information partners of the competition – “BZN Start” and “Zoom TV”. The program is being implemented by the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park.