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InnoStars, Innovation, 2018

The “Kaunas case” and Santaka Valley: The new Silicon Valley of the Baltics

20th August 2018

Regional hubs are the main catalysts of EIT Health knowledge transfers to develop local ecosystems

Kaunas is working towards becoming a business and innovation leader in Lithuania. Universities act as catalysts in ecosystem building, and leverage on EIT Health’s network in cooperation with the municipal government. Neringa Valantine, Chief Project Manager at Kaunas, presented the “Kaunas case” during the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels.

EIT Kaunas case

Innovation friendly environments, links between actors and human resources are engines for innovation in Lithuania. Vilnius and Kaunas, the two biggest innovation hubs cooperate along their own competitive advantages to foster innovation and create a bigger value added together than working separately.

Kaunas Universities are the main source of highly professional talent pool, besides provision of education, they also focus on business creation activities with the aim of bringing innovations out of the labs. The Kaunas Technical University runs its own Start-up Space, creating more than 70 start-ups in its six years of operation.

In operation since 1998, Kaunas Science and Technology Park – the biggest incubator in the Baltic states – is providing consultancy services for start-ups and technological companies on business development issues and innovations support services.

The National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre acts as a one-stop shop, bridging cooperation between research and business, the initiative was brought to life by Kaunas University of Technology together with Lithuanian University of Health Sciences and Lithuanian Energy Institute, and joined by Vytautas Magnus University and business partners. These institutions together have created the Santaka Valley, which was instantly labelled as the Silicon Valley of the Baltics. It acts as a catalyst for collaboration between science and business.

Besides those institutions, in immediate reaction to the funding needs of the start-ups, the Kaunas City Municipality initiated the equity-free Kaunas Startups Acceleration Programme. Between 2015-2018, more than €343 000 from the budget of the Kaunas City Municipality is being dedicated towards the development of 30 start-up ideas.

Kaunas University of Technology and Lithuanian University of Health Sciences became EIT Health Hubs in 2018, while Kaunas University of Technology is also acting as EIT Food Hub in Lithuania. Regional hubs are the main catalysts of EIT Health knowledge transfer to develop local ecosystems.

Mentored by EIT Health partners, hubs adapt and implement EIT Health’s best programmes and also get access to its network. “We like to work with proactive partners where there is a high potential for development” – highlighted Judit Hegedüs in her capacity as RIS Programme Manager at EIT Health InnoStars.

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