Kaunas Science and Technology Park Creates Technologies that Inspire Changes
Photo by Miglė Žemaitienė
The innovations created by Kaunas citizens and the emerging businesses receive recognition in global markets. A few examples are right here. Do you know what links the successful, internationally recognized companies in Kaunas, such as UAB “NFQ Technologies”, UAB “Telesoftas” or UAB “Virtustream LT”? It turns out that all of them have taken their first business steps in Kaunas Science and Technology Park (Kaunas STP) which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Over 400 companies incubated during this period, nearly 100 businesses currently connected to the Kaunas STP innovation community and 70 innovative solutions offered annually to the market – Kaunas STP team tells us about the most dynamic and one of the most exciting jobs in the ever-changing business world.
“The Science and Technology Park creates a medium for newly established, often technology-driven business to develop faster and provide innovations to the market. Kaunas has an excellent base of scientists, researchers and students, who provides the creative potential necessary for business. We, the innovation advisers, have to find out and identify what exactly an incubated company needs for this breakthrough and ensure all the possibilities to make that happen,” Paulius Nezabitauskas, the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development of this company, explains the essence of Kaunas STP.
The business incubator, established in 1998, in Kaunas KTU Student Town, is currently operating in 4 locations in Kaunas. It is a part of the Santaka Integrated Science, Study and Business Centre (Valley) and receives international recognition. The organization collaborates with Kaunas universities and universities of applied sciences, organizes conferences that foster innovation culture and familiarize society with the achievements of Kaunas enterprises.
“Creating favorable conditions for innovations essentially means predicting and envisaging things that everyone will speak about only after a year or a half. Nevertheless, our basic advantage is the network of experts connecting innovation and business since relations with promising scientists and foreign partners are not created within one day. What makes it possible for start-up companies to grow businesses in Lithuania and in Europe or in the USA is the result of our long-term work,” says P. Nezabitauskas.
Celebrating centennial – a hundred new companies
This year, Kaunas STP is determined to invite 100 companies to join the innovation community on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s statehood; it will become reality very soon. Now, managers and employees of companies, operating in the Park, are participating in an Entrepreneurship and Innovative Product Development Program – a training is essential part of corporate team development. Representatives of companies are invited to meetings with leading Lithuanian corporations in a similar sector, they go on trips to B2B meetings with foreign technology talents from Finland, Denmark, Dubai, Norway and the United States. Startups are also sent to accelerating programs in Israel, Singapore.
“All of this is facilitated by our international partners – European, the USA science and technology parks and incubators, Estonian Tallinn and Tartu Science and Technology parks, as well as other organizations providing business consulting services and international project experts with whom we are promoting innovation across the EU. For example, through the international project “I-BIS” together with the British, Finnish, Spanish innovation ecosystem participants we have developed a training course of entrepreneurial skills for companies, and in mid-June we will invite the startups to a conference full of practical workshops”, notes Tomas Černevičius, the Director of Operations.
The European Union is investing in the creation of innovations and the promotion of cooperation between science and business. The aim is to make Lithuania, like most of Europe, catch up with leading countries such as Japan or the United States. It is true, the European innovation ecosystem itself is heterogeneous, Scandinavian business’ giants are already among the leaders in global innovations. Lithuania also made a big jump in the European Innovation Scoreboard last year – the growth of innovation activity was the fastest in comparison to 2010.
“Being a part of the “Santaka Valley” and Kaunas Innovation Ecosystem, we are seeing an increase in the number of products and services created with a help of R&D, which is the product of growing science and business cooperation. For example, when the Kaunas Science and Technology Park started its activity in “Santaka Valley” in 2014, business investment in research, experimental development and innovation has grown from 1.85 up to 4.9 percent – this is more than 20 times the average investment in the R&D and innovation made by Lithuanian companies,” emphasizes T. Černevičius.
Co-working space and modern laboratories
Kaunas STP provides conditions for companies to work in co-working spaces: it is a shared working environment for freelancers who can receive the same benefits from Kaunas STP as the companies: various seminars, trainings, events, business contacts. Kaunas STP enables companies to use conference halls and open access laboratories. Innovative developers can print prototypes with 3D printers, carry out research at the Energy Laboratory and the Information Technology Lab with sight-seeing tracking equipment.
By conducting an experiment in the UX (user experience) lab, a company can test the attractiveness of its IT product, design layout, store layout, and user-friendliness of mobile gadgets.
From pain reduction to smart light bulbs
The public is invited to get acquainted with the innovations of Kaunas STP-based companies during public events, and foreign business attaché, scientists’ delegations, and investors often come to the organization’s Technology Demonstration Centre. There they can see the exhibitions of innovations, discoveries of Kaunas scientists and innovative solutions. For example, the MB “Fidens” located in Kaunas STP introduces a device that can fit in a human palm and is designed for reducing hand-shake and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. UAB “Hortiled” receives recognition in Lithuanian and foreign exhibitions because of its employee – dr. Akvilė Viršilė, a scientist specializing in the development of so-called light recipe development, who has contributed to the market by issuing a smart bulb for the cultivation of greens.