In 2014, Invio partner Creative Business Cup carried out a BSR Innovation Express project, which has had far-reaching implications for the Baltic Sea Region collaboration on start-ups within the creative industries. The project has spurred a string of supportive initiatives leading to the annual global Creative Business Cup. This article gives an overview of the fascinating story seen through the eyes of key stakeholder Eva Leemet of Creative Estonia.
An idea becomes reality
The biggest global creative entrepreneurship competition Creative Business Cup provides the participants with a number of benefits – workshops, meetups with investors and great new contacts with fellow entrepreneurs, customers and future partners. The competition has seeded extremely fast on global level during the few past years, raising the entry standards for the participants. An idea arose to create an initiative that would prepare the participating startups as best as possible for the competition.
Creative Estonia started organising BootCamps as a pilot project in 2014. Creating a common BSR development platform – The Creative Business Cup Experience Bootcamp for growing entrepreneurs and SME’s in the BSR area. The project was supported by BSR Innovation Express through Invio – Innovation Network of the Experience Economy.
The main goal was to have a regional Boot Camp for target group SMEs and entrepreneurs and business developers. Match making, innovation and internationalization was the focus for the initiative. The BootCamp was organised as a preliminary event for start-ups, before the Creative Business Cup finals in Copenhagen. After the first years of attending the global Creative Business Cup competition, we understood that our creative start-ups needed some training before facing the jury on the big stage.
The idea was welcomed by our partners in Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark, and the first ever Creative Business Cup BootCamp took place in Tallinn in October 2014. The local finalists of three Baltic countries and Denmark had the chance to polish their skills for three days under the supervision of the best mentors from Estonia, Latvia and Denmark.
Participants thus had a nice opportunity to train their skills on pitching, business models and received good advice from investors. Additionally, now they had some friends and familiar faces to support them in Copenhagen.
Building on Success
In June 2015, before the local finals, the finalists from all Baltic States participated in Baltic Booster, hosted by Youth Entrepreneurship Center, Latvia. In the picturesque city, Sigulda, they had an opportunity to grab the best advice from pitching trainers and from the start-ups that had already participated in Creative Business Cup Global Finals. Baltic Booster was funded by the Latvian Government.
The first Nordic-Baltic Bootcamp in Tallinn was a great success and paved the way for the next such event, which was organised in October 2015 in Eskilstuna, Sweden. In Creative Business Cup Baltic-Nordic BootCamp start-ups from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden participated. The training programme included pitching, using social media, business models and risk management. This Bootcamp was funded by the Swedish Institute.
Prior to the 2016 CBC competition a Bootcamp was organised in May in Tallinn. The theme of this bootcamp was “How to introduce yourself and your idea? What should you take into account when compiling a business plan?” Creative Business Cup Scandinavian and Baltic Bootcamp was organized to help participants find answers to these questions. Creative Business Cup´s founder and leader Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning started to heat up the feeling by introducing vibe and power to the competition. "Participating in Creative Busines Cup can open all doors,“ he assured giving lots of examples.
Creative Business Cup participants from Latvia, Finland, Denmark and Estonia polished their pitching skills. The trainer, Gleb Maltsev did not teach what to say, but focused on how to build up the pitch. "Start with the hook. Tell your own personal story, why this idea is inspiring to you and why you are ready to quit every other work for this idea," he said. This Bootcamp was part of the ACE Creative project.
In October 2016, start-ups from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Denmark received some good tips for the competition in Vilnius, Lithuania. The most exiting seemed to be the training given by an actor – how to perform well on the stage and very professional tips from academic side – how to build up your speech. This Bootcamp was funded by Lithuanian Government.
The next Nordic Baltic Bootcamp will take place in October 2017 in Tallinn and will be partly funded by Estonian Enterprise and European Regional Fund.
For conclusion, we can say that in the BSR region there is a big need for such workshops or Bootcamps to improve the start-up’s entrepreneurial skills, for matchmaking and to be better trained for global Creative Business Cup. Creative Estonia together with our good partners are facing the problem of how to finance these events almost every year, but happily have succeeded every year.
We suggest warmly to other regions to start cooperating and to build support platforms for start-up’s. It could be BootCamp-based or other formats. Creative Business Cup represents an excellent opportunity for this while also nurturing other ideas and new projects, which will grow up from Creative Business Cup cooperation.
Invio partner Creative Business Cup is this year offering exciting opportunities for statups at the Creative Business Cup Global Finals like the Invio Experience Technology Solution, the Watify initiative of DG GROW presenting The Watify Solution Award on technological transformation and the Creative Business Investors Pitch.