17.03.2021 - Smart city, Technology

First mobility incubator in Latvia launched a call to hackathon

This summer innovation movement VEFRESH in cooperation with the Institute of Electronics and Computer Sciences, Riga City Council, and supported by EIT Urban Mobility, will launch the first mobility-focused business incubator program in Latvia – Urban Mobility Incubator. Anyone with a mobility idea is invited to join the kick-off technology marathon Urban Mobility Hackathon on April 15 – 17, where participants from all Baltic States will be encouraged to address the challenges of cities in ensuring climate-neutral mobility.

Solutions developed in the online hackathon might later be submitted to the incubator program. During the 48 hour event, the participants will be supported by a wide range of mentors nominated by the leading event partner Embassy of the Netherlands in Latvia together with technology companies Accenture Latvia and Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) as well as other experts.

Both the mobility incubator and the warm-up hackathon will address why it is crucial to invest in the development of environmentally-friendly mobility and how to turn these ideas into an export-orientated business.

The Mayor of Riga Martins Stakis points out that green mobility will be an integral part of all future cities: “In February this year, Riga joined the Paris Agreement which stipulates attaining climate neutrality by 2050. Urban Mobility Incubator is one of the steps towards achieving this goal through a private-public partnership – the sooner our entrepreneurs and students will turn to tackle mobility-related pollution, the sooner we will have valuable solutions that could be implemented in the Baltic cities as well as elsewhere in Europe and even Asia. Therefore, together with several Riga City Council departments, we have defined the challenges for the incubator and hackathon in a way that reflects the actual needs of the city, and after the incubation program the solutions will be tested in VEF pilot territory together with the new entrepreneurs.”

The teams will be invited to work on challenges such as promoting e-mobility, enabling low-emission zones, and improving Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) services and others, which are detailed on the project website. A stimulus for the teams to continue working also after the hackathon, first of all, will be the hackathon prize fund of 6000 euros, but also the chance to later apply to the incubator program to get personalized coaching and, ultimately, the solution deployed. Participation in the hackathon is open to anyone regardless of their professional field or age group. Interested parties are invited to register, submit their ideas and find team members until April 12.

The hackathon will also offer a program of online events that will be open not only to hackathon participants but to anyone interested in the future of mobility. In the opening ceremony, Dutch experts will share their experience regarding tackling current mobility issues and facilitating new solutions, and on the second day, a discussion on challenges and mobility innovations in the Baltic States will be held together with LMT, Accenture Latvia, and other guests. 

The hackathon will be followed by a 10-week summer mobility incubator program, which will support up to 8 teams working on their technical prototypes and testing their solutions in the VEF district where special testing points will be set up in cooperation with the municipality. The physical location of the incubator is planned in the vibrant co-working space Teikums, but in line with the epidemiological conditions in Latvia, the program might switch to an entirely online format.

The teams in their daily work will be supported by internationally experienced business, technology, and product sales mentors. The latest technological and scientific input will be provided by experienced researchers and engineers of the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science, while safe prototype deployment in a real urban environment will be provided by the Riga City Council City Development Department. After the deployment of prototypes this autumn, the incubator participants will pitch their solutions to invited investors to attract seed capital for further development of the product. Applications to the incubator program will be accepted from March 15 till May 31.

Urban mobility incubator is a private, public, and academic sector cooperation project supported by EIT Urban Mobility, organized by the innovation movement “VEFRESH” in cooperation with the Riga City Council City Development Department and the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science. The tripartite cooperation of the project will provide fast, convenient, and optimal support for the development and deployment of innovative technologies in a real urban environment, which is an improved model of the current work process.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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