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Startup Day will be celebrated in Riga for the second year on September 12th with an inclusive programme. Events will highlight the contribution from startups to innovation and economic development in Latvia. The programme includes masterclasses, a startup community forum, Startup Brand TOP10 presentations, an official Startup Day party, along with many other activities.
“Latvia is the first country in the world to put forward the initiative to officially recognise September 12th as Startup Day. We want to show that Latvia is a startup-friendly, technologically developed, digitally smart and open country. We're inviting all technological innovation enthusiasts to actively get involved,” suggests Digital Freedom Festival Co-founder Dagnija Lejiņa. She points out that there are currently more than 300 startups registered in Latvia, which have attracted EUR 62 million in investments just over last year. “Startup Day will also be the starting shot for the Digital Freedom Festival. We're going to begin active discussions about the impact of technology on the state, society and the future for each of us.”
Startup Day morning will kick off with a “Business Breakfast” at the University of Latvia Business Incubator at 9:00. The breakfast will include an exchange of inspirational and startup experience stories.
Startup Brand TOP10 presentations will begin at 10:00 in cooperation with Accenture. Evaluation criteria include the impact of innovations implemented by the company, growth and visibility. A livestream of the event will be broadcast by LMT Straume.
The second “Startup Community Forum” will be held at the VEF Quarter at 13:00 in cooperation with the Latvian Startup Association Startin.lv and the Ministry of Economics. It will promote dialogue between startups, public, private and academic sector representatives and nongovernmental organisations. The main topic of the forum is startup cooperation with large corporations and the state. It will provide the opportunity to listen to success stories, have discussions with representatives from various industries and find out about the potential hidden within cooperation with startups.
Latvian Startup Association Startin.lv Managing Director Aļona Beļinska: “Startup Day recognition is important to the community. It helps to educate society and turn the attention of a wider audience to startups. The programme will inform and motivate young people to think about career opportunities in the startup ecosystem, to found their own company, find internships or full-time jobs with startups or NGOs that are actively involved in the processes. At the same time, it's important for the development of the startup ecosystem to also develop relationships with government institutions and private companies.”
Together with partners the Digital Freedom Festival will hold several open Startup Day masterclasses the AUTENTIKA cultural space from 14:00. Anyone who is interested will be able to find out about how to pitch an idea to a broader audience and successfully actualise it as a business, how to push the limits of your abilities, as well as other topics.
P2P lending company Mintos Co-founder and CEO Mārtiņš Šulte: “Startups are a driving force in today's economy, especially if it's based on services, as it is in Latvia. Added value is created by the development of knowledge-based products and technologies. Startup business is intrinsically geared towards export - profit is earned abroad, but taxes are paid in the home country. We're getting involved in Startup Day to help society gain more of an understanding about this type of business, and to share our experience."
The closing festivities will take place from 18:00 'till midnight at the AUTENTIKA cultural space on 2 Bruņinieku street. The Startup Day party will include Fuck-up Nights Riga Startup Edition, where attendees will be able to listen to startup failure stories in a relaxed atmosphere and learn from other people's mistakes. In turn during Open Mic Pitches anyone who is interested will be able to advertise their business ideas onstage. The event will include a Street Food market, and music will be provided by DJ Toms Grēviņš.
Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) Director Andris Ozols: “This is a great moment for startups, because they have access to unprecedented government support. They have the opportunity to go to Silicon Valley (ASV) and use the LIAA coworking space, establish contacts and form cooperations. Right here in Latvia 100 startups will receive financing of up to EUR 3800 to attend international conferences and exhibitions in honour of the national centanniary. Regional incubators, mentors and 25 years of LIAA experience pieredze are at the disposal of every startup!”