Students present innovative products in the first Demo day of the NOBALIS project
On December 15, the first Demo day of the NOBALIS project took place, where 9 final teams from 4 countries presented their food and bioresource innovation ideas. The NOBALIS (Nordic Baltic Universities boosting entrepreneurial and innovation support systems) project is financed by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) as a part of EIT HEI Initiative program and is supported by the EIT Food and European Union. The project is implemented by partner universities and institutes in Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. Latvia is represented in the project by the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LBTU).
In the first phase of the project, 30 teams submitted their ideas at the NOBALIS hackathon on September 26. After the evaluation of ideas, 9 teams continued their cooperation with mentors in the NOBALIS program, and on December 15 they presented them to the international jury from the sectors of higher education, business innovation and investors.
Alvīne Henriete Auziņa, representative of the development team of protein bars "S.U.R.V.Bar" and the 2nd year student of the study program "Food Quality and Innovations" of the Faculty of Food Technology, about participating in the project says: "Before this project I had a zero knowledge in a business development and economics. So now I have learned how to pitch, how to develop a good pitch, how to deliver your idea to the fullest and get participation of investors. Creating the main business idea was not so difficult, but when you start looking from different aspects you have to take a lot of things in consideration - you need to improve you product and idea in every possible way, and I think that was the most difficult part."
Students of the Faculty of Economics and Social Development created an idea for the production of protein supplements from Spanish slugs, winning the 3rd place at the Demo Day. The representative of the team, Felipe A. Nuno, a 3rd-year student of the bachelor study program "Economics" admits: "To broaden my horizons was that draw me exactly to join the NOBALIS hackathon. In the NOBALIS project together with different mentors we research, how to use different resources and innovation to create a product, and in the result how to implement it, manufacture and produce, and how to test it and brake into the market. The main difference in NOBALIS project in the comparison with regular study process is the great international collaboration that we did – in every step of the way we had different experts guiding us, if there were any questions arising, they were always there for us."
Innovation is a driving force not only in the development and competitiveness of the economics and business, but also in the overall sustainability of society and development. Assoc. professor Dina Popluga, the leading researcher of the Faculty of Economics and Social Development and one of the project managers of the NOBALIS, explains the role of innovation in higher education: "Innovation is considered as one of the major driving forces of 21st century, where higher education institutions play a considerable role. Due to this there can be observed new tendencies in activities of higher education institutions where knowledge and technology transfer to industry, commercialization of knowledge, active role in national and regional innovation systems, have become important driving forces of their development. However, in many cases there can be observed unefficient or unsufficient efforts in innovation boosting or knowledge commercialization where one or other element in innovation ecosystem isn’t working properly. Thus, one of the aims of this project is to present and analyse existing innovation ecosystems in Nordic Baltic higher education institutions."
In 2022, the first phase of the NOBALIS project ends, which also includes the mapping of existing innovation ecosystems in five higher education institutions of the Nordic countries, as a result of which good practices in strengthening innovation capacity in higher education institutions are collected, possible improvements in the creation of better and more integrated innovation capacity and support systems are discussed.
Several activities are planned in the second phase of the project in 2023, including the creation and development of new, innovative business ideas. Information about NOBALIS project is available at: https://nobalis.eu/.