The University of Tartu supports its researchers, staff and students with up to €10,000 so that they could develop their research-intensive business idea further and start a company. Application to the autumn batch of the university's spin-off programme is open until 18 September.
"Research-based entrepreneurship is exciting and goes well with working at the university – the two complement each other. The university gives you the experience for tackling different problems, while the business side shows you how the research eventually reaches the end user," said Maido Merisalu, Engineer at the University of Tartu Laboratory of Thin Film Technology. Merisalu has founded two university spin-offs: Captain Corrosion, which works on corrosion control, and Murrifier, which produces disinfectants.
The spin-off programme lasts up to three years and consists of six-month phases, between which the maturity of the business idea is assessed. Throughout the programme, participants will gain hands-on knowledge from experts in their field and support from top mentors who will help bring a research-intensive product or service to market.
A second-year participant in the spin-off programme, Silklytics, is developing precision analysis technology for use in agriculture and laboratory medicine. According to Hanno Evard, head of Silklytics and Research Fellow in Analytical and Physical Chemistry at the university, the programme has been very useful in developing his idea: "It has given us contacts, feedback for business development and access to training courses."
After completing the programme, the teams can start operating in the market or continue developing their business in one of the business incubators for research-intensive companies. The university has a strong network of partners for this purpose and offers support for making the first contact with them.
Over the past two years, the University of Tartu's spin-off programme has supported the development of nearly 40 business ideas. Companies which have so far benefited from the programme include, for instance, LightCode Photonics, which develops new types of lidar solutions, and UP Catalyst, which produces carbon materials from carbon dioxide.
For more information about the programme and its participants, see the University of Tartu web page.