The University of Tartu joins Prototron

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The University of Tartu is to become another major partner of Prototron, Estonia’s first fund for prototype financing. This is a massive step in the cooperation of Estonian science and businesses in implementing innovative solutions faster to make people’s daily life simpler and more convenient.

“Science in Estonia needs an important boost for development, and this is where cooperation is a key issue. By now, two major universities have committed to fostering innovation in the country by helping scientists, students and other smart people bring their ideas to life and make them visible,” Jana Budkovskaja, the CEO of Prototron, explained.

“Researchers from the University of Tartu have enjoyed success participating in a Prototron competition before, but our scientists’ opportunities will become even broader as we are joining the programme,” Erik Puura, UT Vice Rector for Development, commented. “Since Prototron was founded, it has proven that such a fund is much needed for research-intensive and technology-intensive companies to emerge. This is one step that tends to remain untaken at the end of a research project,” Puura added.

“We have been investing increasingly more effort in launching research-intensive business ideas on the market. Today, we have 55 spin-off companies with more than 500 employees, and between 5 and 10 more companies will be opening every year,” Kristel Reim, head of the UT Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said. “Prototron will help us give a boost to such ideas at a very early stage,” Reim emphasised why joining the Prototron programme was necessary.

Other parties to have joined Prototron as supporters earlier are Tallinn city, Utilitas, the Ministry of the Environment, Elering and Samsung, which have been separately financing the solutions relevant for their sphere or provided the teams with the environments for testing their solutions. What the teams participating in the Prototron programme value highly in addition to financing is the support and advice from experts. “This is truly invaluable for a starting company. Prototron brings together a variety of top experts who are able and willing to validate, support and foster solutions when they are still mere ideas. I am happy to be Prototron’s CEO at a time when major Estonian universities see opportunities for cooperation and contribution in Prototron as a way to advance Estonian science and applied research in order to ensure the sustainability of the country’s economy,” Budkovskaja said.