Vidzeme Planning Region’s participation in the TIBS inspires other organizations in Latvia to develop innovation support system

Knowledge travels with people and transfers during a cooperation,” stressed the business support specialist in Vidzeme Planning Region (VPR), innovation broker Ilona Platonova during an online meeting with the representatives of the Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre. The aim of the discussion was to introduce the participants with the results of the GoSmart BSR project thus far and inspire them to work towards their own solution regarding introduction of innovation support persons. By working with different organisations for more than a year, TIBS specialist has gained experience, strengthened the innovation capacity of entrepreneurs, and built new international cooperation regularly, while sharing a view of future prospects and supportive approaches.

With the knowledge and experience gained in the framework of GoSmart BSR project while working within the cross-border brokerage network with colleagues from Germany,  Denmark,  Estonia, Lithuania,  Finland  and  Poland, VPR have achieved valuable results and learned that such innovation support persons are very necessary, especially in the remote regions. They are happy to share their experience and pleased that an organization which covers whole Latvia and especially focuses on promoting the entrepreneurship in the regions, the Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre, has taken a course to strengthen the quality of their services and to introduce innovation support persons in their support programmes.

The higher the value of a product, the faster new competitors enter the segment and new technologies, packaging, production type and more demanding customers arise,” says Platonova. According to the specialist, experience shows the need for the attraction of cooperation partners both in Latvia and abroad, and the greatest added value of the support provided by the innovation broker, is the wide range of contacts, as well as the ability to create a bridge between entrepreneurs and cooperation partners, by indicating the benefits that both sides would have as a result of joint work. With each cooperation, the competitiveness of the parties involved, the opportunities for innovation and the support system that ensures the growth of the company develops rapidly.

In response to the question about the brokers’ main tasks, the abilities emphasized is:

  • to help the entrepreneur find peers in a cross-border context and to share the information about the project to a wider network of brokers;
  • to cooperate with partners abroad – other brokers – while informing about newly created knowledge and enabling them to find new business niches;
  • to recall available forms of supporting programmes and funds that have previously been ‘missed’ by the entrepreneur.

By gaining the experience through various projects, VPR has the opportunity to work as a mediator which introduces innovation in the form of support and transfers the knowledge to organisations representing both the public and private sector. The innovation brokerage system is as a new way to support the entrepreneurs in the region, and VPR will continue to work on new solutions to promote entrepreneurship and the development of innovation ecosystem.

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