Innovation support specialist – the broker – begins work in Latvia, Vidzeme

To help entrepreneurs in Latvia, Vidzeme region, find answers to a range of questions regards foreign market issues, an innovation support specialist – broker – starts its consultations.

Ilona Platonova, the first broker in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), will start work in February within the BSR project “GoSmart BSR”. The broker will be a support person for entrepreneurs in Vidzeme region and can provide assistance of business development, but mainly help with partner search in project cooperation regions and a suitable support mechanism searching for capacity building for the application of smart specialisation.

Ilona Platonova has previously worked in both the private and public sectors in various business fields. She has experience in audit company “KPMG”, from 2005 until 2006 was in leading position in the development of a multifunctional hall “Arena Riga” project before the World Hockey Championship in Riga, for five years has been working in sales and small business management. Ilona also has experience in the public sector – the Office of European Integration and the Office of the Ministry of Economics, acting as Parliamentary Secretary of the Minister of Economics. Ilona has a master’s degree in economics, as well as additional knowledge gained from training in Singapore about attracting investments. Beyond professional activities, Ilona is interested in business development issues and has started her PhD studies on business growth, so a wide and diverse experience allows her to look at the company’s development opportunities from different perspectives.

Starting from February, consultations with pre-registration via e-mail [email protected] or by phone +371 29 282 826 are available. Consultations will be held at Vidzeme Planning Region office in Cesis, Berzaines Street 5, and at office in Valmiera, Purva Street 12a.
Available times in April and May:
In Cesis: 17.04., 09.05., 30.05.
In Valmiera: 
23.04., 02.05., 21.05.

For more information on upcoming appointments and mandatory sign-ups, contact in advance. Consultations may also take place outside these times by an agreement.

The region’s companies with long-term development plans and limited development opportunities in Latvia are invited to use broker services. The broker’s intention will be to look into a broader, cross-border context of the company’s capabilities, to other niches outside the company ongoing activities, to supplement knowledge and bring along with other entrepreneurs or the research sector from Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland or Poland, to implement common activities for the application of smart specialisation in the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

“My main tasks will be to explore and look at the company with the business development professional’s eyes and my accumulated experience, look at it from the other point of view and find suitable cooperation partners for the company in the direction of development,” says I.Platonova. “In a situation where the business support system in Latvia is fragmented, my work will be together with company representatives, see the opportunities available now and in the next few years. Vidzeme Planning Region also regularly develops new projects and wants to adapt them to the needs of entrepreneurs. The more accurately we know what knowledge or contacts are needed for further development, the better we will be able to find suitable partners, sources of funding and actions. I will help to find answers to a number of questions – where to find funding for ideas, where to find new markets or how to conquer the market, how to look at company’s processes from another perspective. In other words, my experience allows me to be a “generator of ideas” for the company,” summarizes Ilona.

In addition to broker work, seven countries in the Baltic Sea Region jointly create a cross-border network and make its services available to support the internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises. Thus, the broker will create a database and address companies within the consultations that would like to test the offerings of the newly established network services in practice. Five to six companies in the Vidzeme region are expected to be involved in the pilot program.