On Thursday, August 27, an information day of Enterprise Estonia’s products and services was held at the Valga County Vocational Training Center, which was organized by Enterprise Estonia in cooperation with the Estonian GoSmart Innovation Broker Laura Gredzens. The event provided an overview of the support measures and services offered to companies for product development. It was a significant event, as it was the first EAS information day in Valga region. One of the tasks of the innovation broker is to ensure that important information and the right contacts would reach the Valga entrepreneurs.
During EAS information day smaller and larger grants at local and European level were introduced to local SME-s, such as Green ICT, Horizon 2020, Eurostars, which require an external partner. In addition, Enterprise Estonia promotes the internationalization of companies. For example, export programs have been set up for this purpose (e.g. to China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and other countries). In addition to various grants, EAS also provides consultation services and practical training courses and workshops by the top people of their field. Furthermore, their export advisers also help companies to successfully reach foreign markets. There are grants for development of the company, digitalisation of industry, export, product development and design, development of clusters and competence centres etc. It is planned that in the near future an applied research program will open. The aim of that program is to support companies in research and development. Grants are also offered for the digitalisation of industry – the company can analyze its processes through digital diagnostics. Enterprise Estonia also offers advisory services on, for example, intellectual property issues and organizes practical workshops. Innovation broker cooperates closely with the representatives of EAS. „We help each other with our knowledge, contacts and finding partners from different countries.“
In addition, the information about the program of the EAS Estonian Space Office was shared. While in the beginning entrepreneurs were skeptical about the space programme and could not imagine themselves participating in it, afterwards many entrepreneurs changed their minds. While part of the space industry is indeed a technology put into space that requires large investments, the European Space Agency’s Earth observation data (Copernicus program) and global navigation satellite system (Galileo) are available as a public service free of charge and can be applied in many different fields, including forestry, agriculture and construction. A national satellite data centre ESTHub allows users to search and download Copernicus programme data. There are actually very different kinds of cooperation possibilities in this field – entrepreneurs just have to find their opportunity.
After the informative part, the innovation broker together with EAS representatives visited two local TIBS clients – Adensen Furniture OÜ and Moodul AS. Adensen Furniture OÜ is manufacturer of multifunctional furniture for children and Moodul AS is manufacturing steel structures.
Heiki Must (Adensen Furniture OÜ): “The information day was very useful for me. It is worth communicating with Enterprise Estonia, because it makes you think more about your products and you often see things from another point of view, which you did not pay attention to before. I would highly recommend a mentoring program, where I participated ten years ago. I am interested in receiving consultation about protection of intellectual property. In my opinion, it would be necessary to continue organising similar events in Valga. Events could focus on narrower topics such as branding.”
Tiina Karpats (Moodul AS): “We were satisfied with the information day of Enterprise Estonia, we received interesting information, we would definitely like to cooperate with Enterprise Estonia in the future and I believe that their knowledge and contacts would be of great help. In the future, it would definitely be worth organizing various similar informative events in Valga, so that the necessary information and opportunities would reach the entrepreneurs of smaller regions as well.”
Innovation broker and EAS are open to cooperation. If there are specific topics of interest or speakers that local entrepreneurs would like to hear, please let innovation broker know so that Valga Municipality can take it into account when organizing future events.