The advantage comes from working with scientists
„There is a lot of talk in the public domain about finding talent, but it is important to remember that innovation also requires professionals with practical product development and testing skills. For start-ups and technology developers, a close relationship with scientists who have concentrated knowledge and the ability to manage the research and testing processes is crucial. This need is also reflected in increased investment in research and experimental development,“ says Paulius Nezabitauskas, Director of Tech-Park Kaunas.
Companies based in the innovation community invested in research and experimental development (R&D) related activities, and the total volume of investment represented 7% of total company revenues – 13 times more than the Lithuanian and almost 5 times the EU business sector averages.
Tech-Park Kaunas companies carried out innovation projects together with research institutions, thus contributing to one of the main objectives of Lithuania's smart specialisation – promoting cooperation between science and business. More than 100 new products, technologies and services have been brought to market.
Increased export volumes
„Science and business need to help find a productive link in order to bring innovations to the market. We need the right platform, a format that creates an authentic environment for quality communication. Facilitation and regularity of communication are also essential as trust and networking grow gradually. We invite you to meet university scientists and researchers at R&D meetups. At the Innovators' Breakfast, start-ups and corporate business representatives discuss challenges,“ says Romanas Zontovičius, Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department at Tech-Park Kaunas.
Last year, the Park's corporate community actively participated in international activities and rapidly increased export volumes from 14% to 48%. The success of Kongsberg NanoAvionics was a significant part of the export growth. It was also pleasing to see that more than 10 companies were active in seeking foreign markets, with export volumes exceeding €1 million each.
In 2022, Tech-Park Kaunas companies invested in research and experimental development and increased the number of employees and researchers. At the end of last year, 207 scientists were working in innovation teams, 15% more than at the beginning of the year. Despite the challenges of competing for talent with large international IT companies, companies based in the Park expanded their teams by 11%. Businesses attracted €800,000 of investment to develop technologies in medicine, information technology and smart charging equipment for electric cars.
R. Zontovičius, Head of the Innovation and Business Department, who coordinates the activities of the Innovation and Business Department, notes that the increasing number of scientists and researchers shows that companies are prioritising the attraction of employees with experience in research, which allows them to create high added value products and services. „It is a good sign that other key players in the start-up ecosystem, both universities and Kaunas Municipality, are interested in this as well, as the cooperation of all organisations is important for the achievement of a breakthrough.“
Finding the corporate niche
Last year, Tech-Park Kaunas continued to actively invest in the search for cooperation opportunities for start-ups with large corporations, aiming to open up new opportunities for companies to establish useful business relationships and develop joint projects.
„For example, by engaging in the international accelerator Urban Tech, start-ups and corporations have identified challenges in the smart city, green technology and health technology sectors. The Tech-Park Kaunas team of experts selected 44 challenges, which 29 major companies formed from the business and public sector, including AB Achema, Ignitis Group, LSMU Kaunas Clinics, VU Santaros Clinics, Vytautas Magnus War Museum and others. In total, teams of companies were looking for innovative solutions to more than 300 challenges, which were helped by 11 business incubating organisations from all over Europe,“ says Mr Nezabitauskas.
Tech-Park Kaunas Guide
Phone: +370 612 54070
Photos, illustrations: Kauno startuolių ekosistema Nuotraukos