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As part of the Prototech programme, most prototypes were developed in the area of information technology

As part of the programme Prototech run by the Technology Business Centre at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, 30 entrepreneurs and innovators have secured support for prototype development. More than half of them – 16 prototypes – belong to the field of information and communication technologies and engineering solutions.

In this support programme, prototypes were developed in different areas of Latvia’s smart specialisation strategy, but the greatest initiative was demonstrated by the developers working in the field of information and communication technologies and engineering solutions. Among the prototypes developed, there is a digital sound machine, a sensor system for monitoring bee colonies, a time and speed recording device for mountain sports, a sub-aquatic robot, a platform for collecting sustainability data, a system for drone tracking, and artificial intelligence solutions as well as other technologies.

Information technology permeates every field

“Nowadays, information technology is used in so many different areas. It is hard to imagine a field that could do without information technology. This is why most prototypes were developed in exactly this area. There were also many prototypes in the field of engineering systems. This is due to our cooperation with the Design Factory of the Riga Technical University Science and Innovation Centre. Its specialists helped developers realise their ideas,” says Andrejs Berdņikovs, Head of the Technology Business Centre at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

€ 15,000 is more often than not enough to develop a software prototype, but for hardware, it is not always sufficient. He is therefore glad that there were projects where the amount was adequate, and promising product prototypes were developed. “We aim to support ICT solutions that combine digital tools and software development with electronics, robotics, 3D printing and modelling, smart sensors and the Internet of Things. Of course, the programme also developed fully virtual prototypes and various apps, but we often favoured technologies with a strong sustainability dimension, such as data processing algorithms related to improving health or climate neutrality,” says A. Berdņikovs.

It strengthens the company’s market competitiveness

Semantic Intelligence is developing an industrial-grade IP analytics platform to be used in the pharmaceutical industry. “The platform processes a huge and complex amount of data. It is expected to host many simultaneous users from all over the world. We needed to understand how technically prepared the existing system’s architecture was. Therefore, it made sense to take part in the programme,” says Vita Stūre, founder of Semantic Intelligence.

The programme comprised two main activities: in-depth testing of the platform using a number of pre-defined information retrieval scenarios, and an audit of its architecture, simulating its concurrent usage by many users at once.

“We have successfully accomplished both tasks, resulting in a very valuable roadmap for further development,” says V. Stūre.

The company had already worked with experts from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Latvia. However, this programme also had the advantage of involving an expert from the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometry in order to audit the system’s structural integrity. “During the project, we received feedback from experts on both the users’ side of the platform from chemistry experts and the need to expand the patent database accessible therein. The results of the system audit and the recommendations made will enable us to introduce a number of significant technical improvements, thereby strengthening our competitiveness in the market,” says V. Stūre.

She expects that the programme will lead to a significant increase in running speed, streamlining the user experience, as well as ensuring much greater confidence in the stability of the system’s architecture for hosting a large number of simultaneous users. “In the pharmaceutical industry, the use of artificial intelligence in the discovery and development of new medicines is growing rapidly. Semantic Intelligence is ready to contribute its technological and intellectual expertise to the industry for the most innovative companies in the sector to be able to significantly accelerate their research and development processes,” adds V. Stūre.

In the programme, one arrives at a drastically different solution

Construction technology start-up Adventum Tech is actively making use of available support programmes. The company has participated in several pre-acceleration and acceleration programmes in the business incubator of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

“Prototech seemed like the right support tool for our new prototype,” says Ņikita Gorbatko, founder of Adventum Tech.

The company’s device measures the load on the load-bearing structure, providing engineers with a complete picture of the “behaviour” of the monitored structures. The information can be used to make more effective and accurate decisions, thus reducing risks, ensuring a safer work environment and a more transparent construction process.

Adventum Tech went into the programme with the goal of developing a specialised electronic circuit board that would improve the innovative load measurement device, allowing it to optimise production costs and bolster its competitiveness. This task was undertaken by specialists from the Innovative Product Development Unit at Riga Technical University. In the opinion of Ņ. Gorbatko, the best thing to come out of the programme was getting the opinion, vision and assessment of technical feasibility from other specialists.

It helps with where to put the commas

The team has noticed that existing tools for grammar and style correction in Latvian have a narrow range of features and a high error rate, which puts them far behind similar tools tailored to other languages. Additionally, all the popular grammar correction tools are available exclusively for the big languages, and Latvian is not one of them. It is how the team got the idea for a set of AI tools that would help insert commas in a piece of writing. “This is especially important in the business sector – glaring spelling mistakes in a company’s emails can spoil a customer’s impression,” emphasises Matīss Reinšmits, Project Manager at

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After learning about the opportunities offered by Prototech and the possible financial support for prototype development, the team decided to apply. The programme started with the aim of creating simple spelling models that could improve spelling with an accuracy of at least 70%. In collaboration with the scientific staff at Riga Technical University, however, not only were spelling models with 80–90% accuracy developed but punctuation and style models with comparable veracity as well.

“As a result, anyone can post a piece of their writing in Latvian at and get tips on their spelling, grammar and style,” says M. Reinšmits.

The team strives to continue improving the functionality and quality of the product in order to be able to offer the best version to the market. Additional features are also in the works to make the product more valuable for personal, professional and educational use, such as paraphrasing, changing text style, automatic summaries, etc. “In the future, this solution could also be adapted to other smaller European languages, as the tools currently available on the market focus on the big languages, such as English, leaving others behind,” explains M. Reinšmits.

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It promotes the development of new business ideas

Prototyping support program Prototech had two calls. The first one received 29 applications, and the second 77. A total of 30 prototype authors received support of up to € 15,000 each.

The Technology Business Centre’s aim is to support promising young entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas. In cooperation with universities, the Centre provides support for research, concept development, prototyping and the translation of Latvian scientific achievements into competitive business projects.

In addition to Prototech, the Technology Business Centre also runs the Innovation Academy programme, which has offered support to nearly 100 ideas. The Technology Business Centre is funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

The funding for the current programme has been exhausted, and the Technology Business Centre is now being made into the Technology Representation Office of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia in Riga. A call for proposals for a business incubation programme, including support for prototyping, is planned for March this year.

The Prototech support programme is implemented in cooperation with Latvian science universities and with the support of the Technology Business Centre at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism in Latvia. Working together towards a competitive Europe.

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