Blue Growth Accelerator raises a new generation of unicorns in the Baltic Sea Region

  • 2020-05-31
  • Jurga Petraite

There is a growing awareness that the quality of life and the future of societies are inseparable from the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. Today's challenges also open up great opportunities for the Blue Growth startups, representing marine fields such as aquaculture, blue biotechnology or related topics.

Alliance+ Accelerator, connecting more than 1,000 experts and over 70 scientific institutions, is giving a significant boost for unlocking this potential in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) – with its help innovative ideas become new products or services.

In the European context, Blue Growth and the Blue Economy are becoming increasingly important concepts that are influencing many economic and social mechanisms and receiving a great deal of attention from regional policy-makers. Regulatory mechanisms seek to prevent the reckless exploitation of natural resources, but at the same time region seeks to stimulate advanced industries that might identify new business niches, create high value and new jobs. In recent years, there has been a growing hope that despite of the fact that the Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted in the world, region has a unique opportunity to become a platform for significant changes. Societies here already understood the importance of sustainability and industries are hungry for innovations, offering new ways of using various marine resources and contributing to the cleaner environment.

Important conditions for positive processes have been already created. Founders of the Alliance+Accelerator took into account that BSR countries have accumulated knowledge, competencies and developed infrastructure that is crucial for the breakthrough – universities, modern laboratories and research centers are valuable resources for the Blue Growth startups and SMEs. Partners joined forces to make all of these human and infrastructural potential available to promising businesses.

Alliance+ Accelerator is runned by SUBMARINER Network, a hub promoting sustainable use of marine resources. Platform is coordinated by partners from the six countries, who have an extensive network of contacts with all BSR universities, research institutes and laboratories, working in the fields related to the Blue Growth. Pool of mentors also is encompassing experts representing commercial side. “Over the last years we have mentored more than 30 Blue Growth startups, offering a range of services as scientific research, research infrastructure and equipment, bioresources, business development, communication, promotion and legal advice. Startups are welcome to join and give a boost for their success story. Accelerator accepts participants in different stage of their development – from biodiscovery, R&D, upscaling to product development and commercialization. With our transnational approach we proved to be able to achieve at least one step further in the value chain for each startup attending our mentoring programme“, says Angela Schultz-Zehden, Managing Director at SUBMARINER Network.

In addition to the well-developed scientific research bases, the Baltic Sea Region has an extensive network of business support institutions. It is much easier to reach important financial assistance mechanisms and potential investors through the Alliance+ Accelerator, so the geography of the Blue Growth startups can expand with higher speed – from Berlin to Klaipeda, from Stockholm – to Hamburg, Helsinki, Tallin, Riga or Copenhagen.

"By engaging in the activities of the Alliance+ Accelerator and together with the Klaipeda University representing Lithuania on this platform, we offer our experience and resources, and at the same time we get a lot of value back. Lithuania has a limited market, so the opportunity for start-ups to look up to several countries at once is very important and gives a big boost to their growth”, emphasized Andrius Sutnikas, Development Manager at Klaipeda Science and Technology Park.