Communications specialists in the Latvian startup ecosystem have come together to develop a new narrative that they have agreed to communicate to the world. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on September 8 at the Startup Day event held by the Latvian Startup Association.
The purpose of the new narrative is to redefine the narrative that members of the Latvian startup community have internalized, and subsequently communicate to each other and to the world. It is driven by a desire to redefine the go-to narrative about Latvia as an environment for innovation, in favor of an open and honest narrative that reflects Latvia’s opportunities, values, and accomplishments.
The new narrative is as follows:
Latvians are many things – small, resourceful, and normāli. Small is beautiful, connected, and agile. Normāli means actually quite ok.
On the global scale:
We have an unusual amount of talented people.
Our startup policies are great
We are the heart of the Baltics – with the best internetWe are skilled. We are scrappy. We are successful. We just don’t like to scream about it (unless at a sports game).
The initiative was spearheaded and workshop moderated by Julia Gifford, CEO of Truesix and an editor at Labs of Latvia, who took the initiative to call together the communications professionals in the startup community to jointly refine the new narrative.
The necessity for the redefinition of a new narrative has been ever-present and growing, but reached a critical point during the Latvian Startup Association’s Startup Ecosystem Forum, when 35 of the ecosystem’s representatives came together to identify key priorities and obstacles to growth. One of those key obstacles was the narrative that we tell ourselves.
“All too often we hear standard expressions being repeated about the state of the business environment, which do not reflect reality. However these phrases are repeated out of habit, inertia, and are believed by those repeating them, despite their factual inaccuracies. The best way to fight back against these antiquated narratives is to come up with our own – and no one will do it for us. And who better to define and craft new messaging, than communications professionals?” – Julia Gifford, co-founder and CEO of Truesix
Communications professionals not only have the skills and experience in refining messaging, but are also in a strategically beneficial position to disseminate that new narrative through their organizations’ messaging, founders, press releases, and other communications efforts.
It is clear that no external organization or governmental institution will define this narrative for the startup community – it must come from the community itself in order to reflect reality and to be aligned with the ecosystem’s beliefs, values, and needs.
The workshop for defining the new narrative was publicly announced as an official Startup Day side event held on September 8, 2023 and presented to Startup Day attendees. It had the participation of major Latvian startup institutions, startups, and was open to anyone interested in participation.
The memorandum was developed and signed by the following participants:
- Julia Gifford, Truesix
- Olga Barreto Goncalves, Latvian Startup Association
- Nikola Matjusenko, Huntli.io
- Jānis Palkavnieks, Printful/Draugiem Group
- Kristīne Tarvida, Sunwise
- Ieva Treija, Labs of Latvia
- Anda Asere, Labs of Latvia
- Lelde Beņķe-Lungeviča, Labs of Latvia
- Aiva Streļča, Truesix
- Katrīna Krievāne, TechChill
- Maija Milbrete, Printify
- Māra Pērkuma-Masļakova, GoCardless
- Jānis Jēkabsons, Startup Latvia
- Elīna Lidere, LMT
- Kārlis Skuja, WindHackers
- Raimonds Jurgelis, Bruntor
- Biruta Elīza Auniņa-Kirmuška, Digital Accelerator of Latvia
- Andris Rubīns, Magic
- Anete Kiseļeva, RTU Science and Innovation Centre
Govtech4all to Begin with Pilot Projects on Secure Data, Easier Access to Benefits and Startups
On 25 May 21 leading government service-delivery agencies from 14 European countries launched #Govtech4all following a call from the European Commission for a European Union GovTech Incubator under the DIGITAL funding programme. The initiative is a fouryear collaboration to innovate the way governments deliver citizen services digitally.
The framework agreement was formally signed on stage at The 2023 Digital Government Summit in Brussels in the presence of Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for budget and administration, and Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister for innovation, development of education science and technology and minister of digital transformation of Ukraine. The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine is one of 21 key partners in the consortium.
“The Incubator for Knowledge Sharing and Collaborative Delivery for all Govtech Initiatives in the European Union,” – known colloquially as Govtech4all – has as its core an ambitious programme to develop greater avenues for collaboration and learning across European countries and among agencies.
Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for budget and administration, emphasised that the experience of the COVID crisis has played a fundamental role in the launch of the new project: “The COVID crisis changed everything. It showed us that easy access to online services was not a “goodto-have” thing. Instead, it is an actual life or death necessity for many people. Govtech4all will build on the many pockets of effective service delivery developed in that time, adding an important layer of cross-border collaboration and joint, trans-European solution developments driven by the European Union member states themselves.”
David Osimo, director of research at the Lisbon Council and Govtech4all programme lead, adds that the project has at its heart a novel concept: “We don’t just want to roll out more and better services to citizens in need – though that goal remains a common one among progressive member states everywhere. We want to develop new, effective eco-systems and alliances capable of working together across countries to reuse what works, to pilot novel solutions and show us what we are capable of doing in this field.”
Govtech4all will develop three cross-border pilots in the first two years (2023-2025) in a first phase. This first phase will amount to €6 million with 50% coming from the Interoperable Europe budget part of DIGITAL. The funding will be available for a combination of innovative instruments, such as start-up challenges, innovative public procurement and in-house development.
Project partners are a who’s who of leading experts and digital-government agencies across Europe.
Among others they include:
- The Lisbon Council (Belgium)
- Technical University of Denmark (Denmark)
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (Estonia)
- Direction interministérielle du numérique (DINUM) (France)
- Govtech Campus Deutschland (Germany)
- GovMind GmbH (Germany)
- Dataport (Germany)
- National Infrastructures for Research and Technology (GRNET) (Greece)
- Department for Digital Transformation in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Italy)
- Digital Accelerator of Latvia (DAoL) (Latvia)
- Innovation Agency (Lithuania)
- ICTU Foundation (Digicampus) (The Netherlands)
- Beta-I (Portugal)
- Gobe (Spain)
- Lantik -Government of Biscay (Spain)
- Municipality of Madrid (Spain)
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation (Spain)
- Agency for Technological Modernisation of Galicia (AMTEGA) (Spain)
- Bron Innovation, Govtech Sweden (Sweden)
- Ministry of Digital Transformation (Ukraine)
- Ukrainian Startup Fund (Ukraine)
- The European Commission (ex. Officio)
Two additional partnerships are pending a grant-agreement request:
- SPF Strategie et Appui (BOSA) (Belgium)
- Administrative Modernisation Agency (AMA) (Portugal)
The project has already defined three pilot projects to be developed in the first two years (2023-2025):
- a. Secure information in cross-border data spaces. Partners are Lantik (Spain), GRNET (Greece), DINUM (France), ICTU Foundation (The Netherlands) and AMTEGA (Spain)
- b. Helping EU citizens obtain social benefits with personal regulation assistants. Partners are ICTU Foundation (The Netherlands), GRNET (Greece) and DINUM (France).
- c. Startup challenge. Partners are Gobe (Spain), Bron Innovation (Sweden), Innovation Agency Lithuania (Lithuania), GovMind (Germamy), Municipality of Madrid (Spain), Beta-I (Portugal) and GRNET (Greece).
The consortium remains open to other national agencies active in govtech.
🟡 Currently, a single European Union digital maturity test is being developed. Various digital maturity tests can be completed online, but they are NOT approved by the European Union, so if you have already completed another test, you will need to do it again if you want to receive support.
🔴EDIHs does not provide services yet, because a test approved by the European Union must be completed in order to receive services. Each beneficiary will be required to complete a test to assess their level of digital maturity before receiving the service.
We will be one of the first to tell you that the test is ready, as well as where and how to access it!
The event is financed by the European Union project "Latvijas Digital Accelerators", DAoL, id no. 101083718
The European Union is not responsible for the content of the material.
On June 17, 2022, the European Commission (EC) accepted the association "Digital Accelerator of Latvia" as one of the two Latvian European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) in frames of project No. DIGITAL-2021-EDIH-INITIAL-01.
The implementation of the project will start on September 1, 2022 and will last until August 31, 2025.
As part of the project, the main office of the Digital Accelerator of Latvia will be established in Riga, on the basis of which the testing and experimentation infrastructure for the development of new digital solutions with specialization in the fields of AI R&D, 5G and GovTech will be created. In cooperation with partners, services will be provided throughout the territory of Latvia through LDA regional centers, which will operate in Riga, Liepaja, Jelgava, Rezekne, Valmiera and Ventspils. The total financing of the project is 3.5 million EUR, where 50% is covered by Europe, while the other 50% by Latvia.
The target audience of the project services are small and medium enterprises, large enterprises and public institutions. The services provided within the project can be divided into four blocks:
1. Digital transformation (test before invest), which consists of 16 services, including consulting for awareness raising, digital maturity test and innovation test, digital strategy and innovation consulting, strategy development, as well as technical consulting, testing, prototyping and product development.
2. Training and skills development, which consists of 8 services, including the promotion of digital skills training opportunities, intensive digital skills and digital transformation courses, innovation introductory courses, as well as providing internships to promote the digitization of companies and strengthen the ecosystem.
3. Fundraising, which consists of 5 services, including fundraising consultations, preparation of project applications and business plans, fundraising and implementation support, as well as innovation procurement consultations.
4. Innovation ecosystem and networking, which consists of 7 services, including large-scale project creation and management, digital innovation platform services, organization of networking seminars and thematic events of digital transformation and innovation, as well as provision of digitalization international skills transfer and technology research in AI, GovTech, 5G, etc. areas.
Further information on project implementation will follow. If you want to be one of the first to be informed about news in the context of the EDIH project, apply by writing to [email protected]!
Financed by the European Union project "Latvijas Digitālais akselerators", DAoL, ID no. 101083718
The European Union is not responsible for the content of this publication.
The Digital Accelerator of Latvia applies for the establishment the European Digital Innovation Hub in Latvia
On February 22, the Digital Accelerator of Latvia (DAoL) submitted a project application for a call to create an Initial Network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) within the Digital Europe (DEP) program.
The long-term objectives of DAoL are to promote digital transformation and innovation, to improve the competitiveness of Latvian companies and the quality of public services through new digital solutions, to boost investments in research and development of ICT technology. The objectives for the first 3 years: to develop fully operational EDIH, to support at least 1236 companies and organizations, to invest 3.5 mil. EUR in digital transformation (DEP & RRF funding), to trigger at least 2.4 mil. EUR from other financial sources.
The proposed specialisation of DAoL in the European EDIHs landscape:
· AI with specialisation in R&D of new digital products and digital services.
· 5G incl. applications in IoT, Internet of Energy, Connectivity technologies, Autonomous and controlled vehicles, robots.
· GovTech incl. Government as a platform, Cybersecurity, Quantum technologies and EdTech.
DAoL is designed as a one-stop agency to help entities become more competitive regarding their digital platforms, goods, or services. Project involves 20 partners that will provide access to extensive research and technological experience as well as support for entrepreneurship and innovation. Consortium includes 4 partners with DIH experience, 3 leading and 3 regional universities from Latvia, innovative NGOs with long-term experience in providing support in high technologies, green technologies, regional and technological development.
DAoL will provide access to the latest digital skills and will support product innovation.
Project activities are planned for 3 years, provisionally from July 2022 till June 2025, project budget is 3.5 mil EUR, the requested co-financing from DEP is 50%.
The Latvian Digital Accelerator has successfully started joining the international EDIH network, creating synergies with powerful digitization promotion organizations in Europe. LDA incorporation, member competencies and operating principles are of value to many European business support organizations.
Ministry of Economics of Latvia elaborates draft legislation on support of European Digitalization Innovation Hubs in Latvia
Ministry of Economics of Latvia in cooperation with different stakeholders has started development of local legal acts to co-finance the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) activity from the Recovery and Resilience Facility financing available for Latvia.
The Board of Digital Accelerator of Latvia is involved in the designing process by providing necessary information as well as providing comments to documentation drafts. This document will define the available financing and provision of results, eligible activities and costs, state aid related issues. Active participation in the legal act development process is a possibility to ensure that the needs of members of Digital Accelerator of Latvia are incorporated in the document as far it is in cohesion with the other interests and related legislation.
The Commission announced the first set of calls for proposals under the Digital Europe Programme and the Digital Accelerator of Latvia is ready to participate
On 17 November 2021, the European
Commission kicked off the first set of calls for proposals to be published
under the Digital Europe Programme. The three calls are launched in the context
of digital tech, cybersecurity, and the European Digital Innovation Hubs and
applications are now invited.
This follows the adoption of the work programmes allocating nearly €2 billion for investments aimed to advance on the digital transition.
The calls are open to businesses, organisations, and public administrations from the EU Member States, as well as entities from other countries associated to the Digital Europe Programme.
These grants will be targeted towards an investment of over €415 million in cloud to edge infrastructure, data spaces, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum communication infrastructure, in advancing people's digital skills, and projects that promote a safer internet, fight child sexual abuse, and disinformation, until the end of 2022.
The first call for proposals is also opening for the set-up and deployment of the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) network. These hubs will support private companies, including SMEs and start-ups, and the public sector in their digital transformation.
The Digital Accelerator of Latvia has started active preparation of application in European Digital Innovation Hub call and evaluating the possibilities to develop also proposals under other programmes in cooperation with various members and stakeholders.
More information about the calls for proposals: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/programmes/digital.
Digital Accelerator of Latvia (DAoL) is one of the two pre-selected European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) candidates in Latvia. During 2021 DAoL experts produced a study analyzing the possibilities of establishing the Artificial intelligence (AI) Testing and Experimentation Facility (TEF) in Latvia. The strategic planning was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia.
AI TEFs will be a specialized large-scale infrastructure and virtual sites open to technology providers across Europe to test and experiment state-of-the art AI-based soft-and hardware solutions and products, in real-world environments, and at scale. This effort is an important step to bring technology to market and improve a higher uptake of AI in Europe.
Under the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL), the European Commission expects to open calls for proposals to fund AI TEFs in February 2022. These TEFs will be in the sectors of agri-food (€30 million), healthcare (€30 million), manufacturing (€30 million) as well as smart cities and communities (€20). These calls will be co-funded equally at EU and Member States level.
It is planned that TEF located in Latvia will specialize in AI for smart cities and communities, in particular in future mobility.
Promoting participation of regional companies in the programme of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI)
The programme of Important
Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) provide funding for research,
investment and first industrial deployment, with a focus on digital
sovereignty, security, and sustainability in EU. IPCEI projects help Europe to
be more sovereign in the field of microelectronics and communications
technology and less dependent on imports. IPCEI will help companies to
establish reliable supply chains, build the next generation of cloud and
microelectronics sector owning strong development centers and manufacturing
sites in the EU. IPCEI projects will bring together knowledge, expertise,
financial resources and economic actors throughout the EU.
The companies from Latvia will take part in 2 areas of IPCEI:
• IPCEI on microelectronics (IPCEI-microelectronics)
• IPCEI on next generation of Cloud Infrastructure & services (IPCEI-CIS)
Digital Accelerator of Latvia (DAoL) is one of the two pre-selected European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) candidates in Latvia. DAoL has initiated several project to promote participation of regional companies in the programme of IPCEI-microelectronics and IPCEI-CIS. A total of 7 projects from Latvia were submitted to IPCEI-CIS at the beginning of October 2021.
Digital Accelerator of Latvia (DAoL) is one of the two pre-selected European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) candidates in Latvia. EDIHs will function as one-stop shops that help public sector institutions and private companies respond to the digital challenges.
By providing access to technical expertise and experimentation, EDIHs will help organisations improve business and production processes, products, or services using digital technologies. They will also provide innovation services, such as financing advice, training, and skills development that are needed for a successful digital transformation.
In the first half of 2021 DAoL has expanded the number of members and partnerhips to provide DIH services in 6 regional centers of Latvia, including Riga, Valmiera, Rezekne, Ventspils, Liepaja and Jelgava. DAoL and its members have launched and tested the following services:
• Test before invest
• Skills and training
• Support to find investments
• Innovation ecosystem and networking
Digital accelerator in the international arena - in the forum “5G Techritory” panel discussion is moderated by Salvis Roga
In November, more than 180 global 5G industry leaders and more than 2,000 spectators gather in Riga to participate in the 3rd Baltic Ecosystem Forum “5G Techritory”. At the event, the panel discussion “European Digital Innovation Centers” was moderated by Salvis Roga, a member of the Board of the Latvian Digital Accelerator.
The discussion focused on various topics related to the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDICs): the current challenges of the digital transition and innovation, the expected role of the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIC) and others. The panel discussion also took a closer look at the digital transformation - how to make it work for people, businesses and the environment, which are the fields and industries that will benefit most from it and what the impact of 5G will be on digital innovation.
The panel discussion was attended by Anne-Marie Sassen, Deputy Head of the European Commission's DG CONNECT; Āris Dzērvāns, Deputy State Secretary for ICT of the MEPRD of Latvia; Muhamad Ali, Senior Scientist at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland and Iveta Strupkāja, LIAA's Deputy Director for Export.
The event discusses the future of 5G in Europe and the world, as well as European Union (EU) funding of more than € 150 billion for innovation, including for the 5G industry.
Within the forum, industry leaders discussed topics such as 5G deployment and innovation, 5G and ownership, smart cities, 5G and WiFi, critical infrastructure systems, 5G and data privacy, and more. The discussion will also look at future innovations - edge computing, 5G laptops and wearable smartphones, 5G-enabled internet of the future and the latest discoveries about 6G.
The association “Latvian Digital Accelerator” was established to promote the development and implementation of digital platforms, products and services, to help Latvian companies and the public sector to identify and use digital opportunities. Now the accelerator has a total of 17 members, representing all planning regions of Latvia. These include Latvian higher education and research institutions, technology centers, business and innovation support centers, as well as representatives of the public sector involved in the field of digitization.
Partners from all planning regions of Latvia are involved in the activities of the association in order to ensure effective digital transformation and access to the opportunities and information provided by both national and local centers.
Organizations represented by Riga region with their activities plans to cover the whole territory of Latvija. These include research and technology centers – Riga Technical University, Institute of Mathematics and Informatics of the University of Latvia, Institute of Electronics and Computer Science and SIA Baltica Open Solutions Center – and business support centers – TechHub, LETERA and the leading partner of the region – SJSC „Electronic communications office of Latvia”.
The leading partner of Vidzeme region is the association "Valmieras Development Agency", which has established effective regional cooperation networks. In turn, the technological capacity of the region is strengthened by Vidzeme University College.
The business support centers in Kurzeme region are Ventspils High Technology Park (leading partner in North Kurzeme) and GreenTech (leading partner in South Kurzeme). Technological capacity in Kurzeme region is provided by Liepaja University.
The Latgale region is accelerated by Rēzekne City Council (Lead Partner) and Rēzekne Academy of Technology, thus ensuring the presence of both business support and technological functions in this region. Rezekne Academy of Technology successfully cooperates with Latgale planning region, local governments and companies on a regional and Latvian scale.
From the Zemgale region, the Latvian University of Agriculture is involved in the association, as well as GreenTech (leading partner), which has established a structural unit in the region to be able to provide support services not only in Kurzeme, but also in Zemgale region.
The Latvian Digital Accelerator is designed as a one-stop agency that helps companies and institutions become more competitive in terms of their processes, products or services.
- Develop digital transformation strategies to identify and develop areas for growth;
- Support the design, prototyping, testing and implementation of new digital platforms, products and services;
- Promote the use of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, cybersecurity, and other digital technologies in the economy and public administration;
- Implement digital transformation projects that benefit Latvian citizens, businesses and the environment;
- Invest in the digital competences of the Latvian population;
- Attract funding for Latvian companies and the public sector to implement digital transformation plans and solutions in practice;
- Develop the digital innovation ecosystem in Latvia. Involve local developers in the co-creation of digital solutions.