The international sustainability accelerator Rockit Impact 2.0 launched in Vilnius. For half a year, start-ups developing sustainable solutions will address challenges such as employee engagement, operational process management, healthy and sustainable lifestyles, the Internet of Things, and even underwater drones.
Žalgiris, Tele 2, Amber Grid, and Swedbank will present these tasks to young companies, while start-ups from Estonia, Germany, and the USA will search for the solutions.
According to Lina Žemaitytė-Kirkman, Head of Rockit − home of Fintech and sustainability − the launch of the second Rockit Impact Accelerator was driven by the success of the first.
“All participants in the accelerator last year successfully completed or are continuing their projects. Most of them even attracted funds from Lithuanian and foreign investors, so we see the results as being very good. It is clear that our country is becoming an attractive market for foreign sustainability start-ups, who have already accumulated experience and bring it to Lithuania. Partnerships with large, established companies especially strengthen the potential of start-ups, enable the creation of necessary and useful solutions,” says Ms Žemaitytė-Kirkman.
This year, Swedbank will present two challenges to start-ups. The first − how to involve the employees of the organisation in sustainability transformation and ensure that changes in business processes also result in a change in corporate culture, and that employees understand the importance of sustainability in their daily work. The start-up CompAct is ready to find a solution for this. The second challenge is how to encourage customers to choose a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. The start-up Thryve from Germany will offer a solution to boost behavioural changes with smart wearable devices.
Žalgiris challenges to create a sustainable solution to address the shortage of service staff. This is true for many businesses around the world, as studies show that up to 40% of people plan to change jobs. At this time, it is crucial for companies to find business processes that can be robotised or optimised with the help of artificial intelligence. This would allow businesses to offer stable services that are independent of the labour market situation. The US start-up Scylla.ai is taking on the challenge from Kaunas.
In a constantly changing market, it is essential for telecom companies to find new sources of revenue. The sector is dependent on smartphones and computers, creating synergies with the Internet of Things. How to exploit them is brought up by the Tele2 challenge, which will be tackled by the Estonian start-up Bikeep.
Amber Grid has a very specific task for a collaborative start-up: find a sustainable way to maintain underwater pipelines. They are currently mostly monitored in person by divers. However, this could be done by underwater standalone drones with high precision equipment − their development will be carried out by Abyss Solutions from the US.
The Rockit Impact 2.0 Accelerator, organised together with the Katalista Ventures fund, will last six months. First, start-ups and partners will develop pilot solutions. They will be tested, at the same time developing a business model and a market entry strategy. Ready solutions will be presented in June, and by September the start-ups will have to finalise the product and prepare to attract investments. The solutions developed through the accelerator contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, sustainability development and cultivation should be one of the most prioritised activities on the global agenda. This is especially important in today’s context, when so close to Lithuania the world is almost literally falling apart. Sustainability ideas and processes will inevitably be utilised here. Therefore, by contributing to a more stable and efficient economy in our country, I believe that strength and knowledge will be able to spread more widely,” says Ms Žemaitytė-Kirkman.
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