In 2018, Prototron will support researchers and inventors with 130 000 eur

Estonia’s biggest tech business ideas fund Prototron is increasing the amount of support and making application more flexible. Applications are welcome until March 15th.

Prototron foundation, established in 2012 by Swedbank, Tehnopol and Tallinn University of Technology, is marking its sixth year and giving out 130 000 euros. This sum will be divided between the summer and autumn application rounds. This is not the final sum, it can increase by the end of the year, as the private sector is displaying more and more interest for investing and mentoring.

Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) decided to make application requirements more flexible for those TTÜ teams who wish to get financial support for their prototypes. To this time, TTÜ has been focused on their own research groups’ projects. Now they are becoming investors, ready to give financial support to any business idea submitted from TTÜ to the fund.

TTÜ Vice Rector for Research, Renno Veinthal, says that this change makes developing a product and entering the market much easier for university members and other applicants. “For a researcher,  making new contacts and receiving funding is a nice opportunity. Prototron is a good example of successful cooperation between the private and public sectors. The results of such cooperation are what Estonian economy and the publicity are eagerly waiting for. Many ideas that received funding, turned into success stories and proved that it’s indeed worth investing into commercialisation of research topics”, explains Veinthal and adds, that ideas are welcome from students, researchers and entrepreneurs.

Prototron council has also increased the amount of financial support per one team. Fund CEO Jana Pavlenkova says that the winning idea is assumed to be head and shoulders above others: “The teams’ need for bigger support has been grown, because the cost of developing a product has also increased”. Prototron is constantly working on attracting additional supporters. Besides the cofounders, the city of Tallinn and Elering  are also contributing.

Apart from financial support, Prototron provides mentorship and contact networks with the applicants entering the programme, which is also very valuable. For winning teams, getting support also means  a six-month incubation at Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol and juridical aid from Hedman Partners. Pavlenkova states that in today’s fast changing business world the key words are boldness and initiative: “It often happens that diversity brings success. International teams with members of different age and experience, both men and women, are really successful”.

During five years, more than 29000 ideas were submitted to Prototron. 58 of them have received financial support for building prototypes. The total granted sum is 670 000 euros. Thanks to Prototron, 24 new products have successfully entered the market.

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