The final event of the Springboard project was organised in Tallinn at the end of September 2017. The project partners had good news: the goals set for the project were achieved. The final meeting summarised the best practises and lessons learned by the organisers and participants of the Springboard accelerator programmes.

The final event started with a review of the results of the joint project. Project Manager Johanna Puhtila from Turku Science Park Ltd noted that the goals were achieved and even exceeded. The main objective of the programme was to facilitate the creation of international start-ups.

”81 teams with 179 team members in three cities participated in the project. We supported the creation of a total of 18 registered cross-border co-operative companies, four of which were joint companies. These numbers show that we succeeded in increasing the cross-border collaboration of start-ups and business development organisations in Turku, Tallinn and Riga.”

Think global

At the final event of Springboard, Sten Tamkivi, Vice President of Production in Move Guides, pointed out that building a big and successful business is impossible in a small country on domestic scale.

"It is therefore important to familiarise yourself from early on with different cultures and international business", Mr Tamkivi said.

According to Jaak Raie, CEO of Science Park Tehnopol, as a small country Estonia is quick and innovative. Yet on global scale, the Baltic and Nordic countries must seek much closer co-operation to be distinctive as a region and attract major investments.

Coaching and networks

The Springboard programme supported the creation of new start-ups in Tallinn, Riga and Turku, as well as cross-border co-operation between them. Three 10-week acceleration programmes were held within the Springboard framework, supporting the teams and providing counselling in the further development of their ideas.

According to Ville Nikola, CEO of the Finnish start-up Grail Group Ltd, the programme helped his team to expand the network of contacts. He said that the most valuable thing for him was international mentors giving him the courage to change his idea and urging him to make a true effort to realise his dream.

For early-stage companies, the programme offered help in finding the right B2B contacts.

“It was particularly great to see how the teams collaborated to help each other. One team had more know-how in programming, another in communications and marketing. There were even teams that recruited a new member from a team that did not take off this time”, Johanna Puhtila pointed out.