At the Icebreakers'21 festival for students and professionals on October 8, the main prize of 7 000 EUR for the development of their business idea was won by the team Gameblyo, who offer to develop an application to help people with amblyopia or lazy eye syndrome. The team EdiBack received 3 000 EUR with an idea for a web application for giving and receiving feedback. It would involve students and teachers, providing feedback, including self-assessment, to help improve work and study plans.
In the final stage of the grant competition, 10 teams competed and presented their business ideas to the judges. There was no limit to the abundance of ideas: following the festival's motto "Reinventing the Future", the students had thought of environmentally friendly ideas that would make life easier for people and solve a lot of problems.
The students also offered to develop the idea of menstrual underwear, which would be a very practical and ecological solution. The team Baltic Fungi presented the idea of an industrial indoor mushroom farm, which would allow a high yield regardless of the outdoor climate, but the team HeelMe came up with the idea of a specially printed heel in 3D technology to help people with leg length asymmetry. Focus, confidence and creativity
The festival Icebreakers'21 took place in person at the House of Science of the University of Latvia Academic Center, as well as online. Throughout the day, the festival visitors had the opportunity to participate in creative workshops, listen to expert discussions on current issues of the modern world and the past year, including innovations in science, medicine and technology.
The festival was opened by Gundars Bērziņš, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics of the University of Latvia. "Entrepreneurs create, accept challenges and know how to control situations. If an opportunity is lost, the potential is lost. Take the opportunity, learn from those who have already achieved something in life. Create the future! " Gundars Bērziņš told the participants of the festival.
In her opening speech, Ieva Siliņa, External Science and Education Policy Adviser to the President of Latvia, emphasized that a good entrepreneur needs emotional intelligence, because there will be losses in business, the downturn will be followed by an upswing, so we must also believe in success.
After the opening speeches, the festival continued with various discussions and expert keynotes. Local and foreign experts from the business and university environments discussed issues important to entrepreneurs. The first steps in business are not easy at all, so business experts and young entrepreneurs shared their experience and advice.
Scientific research shows that a good entrepreneur needs three components: firstly, they must be convinced that it will be possible to cope with anything, secondly, they must always accept challenges and take risks, and thirdly, they must not waste time. G. Bērziņš outlined the recipe of this successful entrepreneur in the first discussion. He was complemented by Dāvids Svēte from Baltic Landlords, who emphasized that focus, confidence and creativity were still needed. But Marija Ručevska from Helve mentioned that every entrepreneur must have a strong mission and even an obsession with their business idea.
In the age of teleworking and education, technologies have paved the way for new approaches to working and doing business, improving health services and providing safe conditions. Technology has forever changed human behavior, which has created a whole new reality in all industries. The future will be determined by the bravest and most far-sighted entrepreneurs who will develop their technologies due to the changes taking place in the world, said Stanislavs Hilčuks, Industry X Lead and Innovations Manager at Accenture, in his presentation.
In turn, one of the most important functions of the company - communication - was discussed by experienced Latvian communication specialists and journalists. When communicating with the target audience, appropriate communication channels must be selected. For example, if you need to reach young people, the Discord app is now a very popular platform among young people.
It is important to inform the media about the news in your company, but when creating press releases, they should include the story of your company, which will be of interest to the public, recommended Juris Jurāns from TVNET. "The first sentence is the key for the press to notice your message!" emphasized the journalist. Journalists receive a lot of e-mails every day, so you need to think about how to present the story so that it is attractive to the journalist.
"You must know the audience and speak the language your consumer speaks," emphasized Jānis Palkavnieks, a spokesman for Draugiem Group. "If your grandmother doesn't find the story boring, then it will also suit society, "added J. Jurāns. Festival of opportunity and inspiration
The range of topics discussed at Icebreakers'21 was very wide, with panelists discussing innovations that promote a sustainable and green society and create a better quality of life for themselves and future generations; how to know what, when and how to change the organization so that it survives; what the main strategies for obtaining funding are; what is new in the digital world, what innovations and surprises await us in the future and, finally, what skills are needed to become an entrepreneur.
Along with the informative lectures, everyone had the opportunity to test their success in a contest. By correctly answering quiz questions about the University of Latvia and the Icebreakers festival, the festival visitors had the opportunity to spin the wheel of fortune and receive prizes. Visitors were also entertained by "Improv Comedy Riga", who played improvised scenes about various life situations.
This autumn, the festival took place for the fourth time, this year becoming a hybrid event with some visitors participating in person and some remotely. Since the first launch of the festival, it has become one of the most important international business events in Latvia and the Baltic region, offering an extensive program for young business entrants.
Icebreakers'21 was organized by the LU Student Business Incubator in cooperation with the project implementation partners Riga Technical University Design Factory, as well as the main partners of the event - Inbox.lv and LMT Retail & Logistics. Luminor also supported the creation of the festival this year: "We are happy to support young people with advice and promote the use of new financial solutions not only on a daily basis, but also in the long run. Therefore, we are happy to support students and young professionals with information on how to acquire investment and savings skills that will contribute to their future financial well-being. We also invite young people to actively plan their finances on a daily basis, to take an interest and plan how to increase them in the future," says Kerli Gabrilovica, Manager of Luminor in Latvia.
The event is organized with the ERDF co-financed project no. 22.214.171.124/18/A/007 "University of Latvia Innovation Grants for Students" support. The project is implemented thanks to the financial support of Latvian and foreign patrons, which is administered by the LU Foundation.