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SIB Net IDEA CONTEST: Grand finale and award ceremony at Ventspils University College

Since February of this year, Tartu Science Park in co-operation with  Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Riga Planning Region, Ventspils University College, Ventspils High Technology Park and the Institute for Baltic Studies (Tartu) have organized a cross border CONTEST OF INNOVATIVE BUSINESS IDEAS. The contest was organized within the EU-supported project 'Small Innovative Business support network' (SIBnet). Almost 100 innovators, scientists, and technology experts as well as other generators of business ideas participated in the contest and many interesting ideas were entered.

The very final stage of the contest took place at Ventspils University College on May the 20th, when six finalists were given an opportunity to present their ideas and also answer questions from the jury and other contest participants. The jury was chaired by the SSE Riga Rector, Anders Paalzow and consisted of three Latvian and three Estonian experts.

It was difficult to  select the winning team since all the ideas were very interesting and innovative. However, there can be only one  winner, and this time it was an Estonian team with an idea called Hummingbird- an IT software-game developed to educate American youngsters. The prizes for the winners - two Dell premium laptops - were handed over by Anders Paalzow.

Second place was awarded to the Plazonex team from Latvia, which received an Acer Iconia tablet PC. Plazonex's idea also was very innovative- a prototype of a high-energy atmosphere modifier which uses plasma technology and electro convection for air filters and other purposes. The third place, and an HTC mobile phone, were awarded to another Latvian team for the board game 'TacTic Hockey'. Three consolation prizes were awarded to the rest of the finalists, namely BBD team (Latvia) for new technology for dune protection; Sports Vehicle team (Estonia) for the idea of small and sporty vehicle for cities; and Wibbit team (Estonia) for an idea about a digital shopping assistant.

What differentiates this contest from many other idea contests is that the award ceremony was only a milestone in the idea-development process. During the coming year all participants of the SIBnet idea contest will be given an opportunity to develop their ideas further as well as participate in various support activities. The aim of the project is to develop these ideas into fast-growing gazelle companies that will experience rapid growth and development both in the Baltics and outside as well.

During the process of idea-development, several new support methods and tools will be developed. Those tools will be replicated and utilised in the future for further enhancement of new start-up and gazelle-type companies.

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