On the 8th September in Latvia for the first time Latvian Startup Awards were handed to recognize entrepreneurs and teams. A jury formed by the Latvian Startup Association “Startin.LV” chose winners in seven categories and an 8th award was determined was by popular choice in a public vote. The purpose of the Latvian Startup Awards is to honor remarkable accomplishments, breakthroughs, and triumphs of startups. It is a testament to their unwavering dedication and spirit.
The awards were chosen in the following categories: Breakthrough, Hardware, Newcomer, Digital, Scaleup, Founder-hero, Impact and Community choice.
Significantly, two out of the eight main awards were given to Cleantech companies:
- In the category Hardware Aerones was recognized. The company provides robotic wind turbine care services by leveraging patented robotics technology. This allows Aerones service teams deliver faster, safer and more effective services for wind operators worldwide.
- In the category Breakthrough Naco Technologies was victorious. The company empowers the green hydrogen revolution. Naco Technologies creates specialized nano-coatings and new materials that replace the need for platinum and other expensive materials in the production and usage of hydrogen at a massive scale.
The awards ceremony was also attended by the President of Latvia, Mr. Edgars Rinkevičs, who awarded one of the prizes and gave a speech, highlighting “to think big and to inspire other entrepreneurs to join”.
During the evening selected partners were also invited to recognize startups in several other categories, among these was also Cleantech for Baltics. Director Latvia Imants Martinsons of Cleantech for Baltics awarded also Naco Technologies as Cleantech Startup of the Year in Latvia. Naco Technologies is revolutionizing the production of green hydrogen, and this year the startup has secured a 2.3 million EUR grant from the European Innovation Council’s EIC Accelerator program, as well as an investment totaling 10 million EUR.
During the evening Naco Technologies told that at the very moment they have received first shipments for equipment and are setting up a new production line in Riga, Latvia that will further help the company grow.
The Latvian Startup Awards 2023 featured also full day program with discussion panels, fire-side chats and presentations. At the panel Country on a Mission: Mission-driven tech-powered innovations featuring also Imants Martinsons from Cleantech for Baltics was features as one of the speakers. During the discussion among other points the Latvian RIS3 smart specialization was touched upon. Imants Martinsons highlighted that good work has been done setting priorities like smart energy and choosing flagship projects. However, the work cannot stop and support should also be earmarked in areas like Cleantech to further support innovation and development.
The Latvian Startup Awards 2023 also offered ample opportunities for networking, allowing attendees to connect with like-minded professionals The event gathered a diverse audience, including startup founders, investors, industry experts, government officials, and media representatives.