FAQs for applicants
Applying to the Alliance Accelerator is free of charge. The costs associated with cases enrolling to the ALLIANCE accelerator programme are covered by the service providers and the SUBMARINER Network. This is especially true for start-ups with limited or no funds. SMEs with resources are encouraged to become member of the SUBMARINER Network to receive premium members benefits. Within the mentoring programme, the case will discuss third-party financial options bilaterally with their mentor. Some financial resources can be found here. In addition we are continuously seeking funding for the acceleration services through public and private investors. Cases are expected to attend selected SUBMARINER Alliance events , e.g. the ALLIANCE pitching and match-making event in Helsinki on 23-24. January 2020 (travel & accommodation at own costs/no further costs related to event itself).
The Baltic Blue Growth Alliance is the Accelerator Programme under the SUBMARINER Network. Initially co-financed by the ERDF Interreg BSR project (2016-2019), the ALLIANCE is by now increasingly financed through a mixture of funding streams raised through its own public and private members and supporters. So far, the ALLIANCE mentoring programme involves 18 service providers with more than 40 mentors, who have piloted their offer together with 26 cases and are currently operating on a pro bono basis or are seconded by their organisations. All these cases have reached the next TRL, with numerous cases having gained new investors and/or having new products on the market. More information about the success of the project can be found in the ALLIANCE brochure publication.
No. However, you have to attend the SUBMARINER – ALLIANCE matchmaking events (see Question 1). You also may need to organise physical meetings with your mentor(s). The exact form of communication will be arranged jointly by the case owner and the mentor.
A mentor is a physical person, who is an expert within the blue bioeconomy spectrum - is member of the ALLIANCE network - is interested in supporting innovation – knows how the ALLIANCE mentoring programme is organized – and is well familiar with the capacities/expertise on offer. A case mentor could be a researcher within an R&D institution, a CEO or CSO of a company, a staff member of a business support organization or an entrepreneur him- or herself. The mentor is the main contact point of the case with the ALLIANCE, the mentor is doing the initial health-check of the case and, jointly with the case owner, designs the support strategy to develop the case further. The implementation phase of the mentoring often also involves other ALLIANCE service providers. The mentor is connected with the other mentors and service providers of the ALLIANCE through bilateral contacts as well as by attending the monthly telephone conferences of the ALLIANCE Mentors’ Forum.
At the beginning of the collaboration the mentor and case owner both sign the mentoring contract and a Non-Disclosure Agreement. The documents can be downloaded <here>. - the link is coming soon
The mentoring programme is 100% tailored to the needs of the case. The case needs are articulated in the case application form and also during the initial interviews of the case owner with the mentor (during the initial business health-check). As such the mentoring programme does not have a fixed curriculum. The case progress is largely dependent on the case’s loyalty and dedication to implement the agreed steps with the mentor. Although, frequency may vary, as an example, a case owner can meet with their mentor 1-3 times per trimester (quarter). The terms of collaboration are termed in the ALLIANCE mentoring contract.
Apart from the continuous mentoring, the service portfolio can include: scientific and technical support, access to biological resources, infrastructure and equipment, business development, legal advice, marketing and promotion. Moreover it includes training for ‘pitching’ and business support and access to investors. Whereas pre-acceleration services are expected to be offered in form of innovation vouchers – we will charge a percentage of the equity sold in the event, that an investors comes in. More information about the service categories can be found in the ALLIANCE brochure publication
Ideally, the mentoring programme ends when the mentor and the case jointly decide to end the contract, e.g. when the milestones have been met. The milestones can be agreed in the initial assessment phase and design of the implementation plan. In a less ideal scenario, failure to establish communication among parties for more than 3 months, despite efforts of parties, will lead to termination of the signed mentoring contract.
The ALLIANCE has been successful in terms of setting up a unique transnational accelerator in the Baltics in a niche sector like blue biotechnology and adjacent blue tech sectors, all supporting blue bioeconomy markets. The ALLIANCE has succeeded in mentoring 26 cases across the region, of which 6 cases have managed to bring new products to the market or they have won awards in prestigious pitching competitions and enrolled next level accelerator programmes. Yet almost all of the cases have progressed within the product value chain with the support of the ALLIANCE Accelerator. More information about the successful cases can be found in the ALLIANCE brochure publication.
Baltic Blue Biotechnology Alliance gave us huge confidence boost just by choosing us into the network at first hand. This was a critical momentum
for Berrichi - somebody believed in us, our product’s potential and our capacity to implement our plans.
From a home-based, do-it-yourself cream-making and abstract dream into the pool of professional environment and international network - this pushed us in many ways.
Furcella, Case Owner & Mentor
The Baltic Blue Biotechnology Alliance was our first contact with foreign experts when we founded the startup. It helped us to start building the strong network we have today.
Vetik, Estonia, Case Owner
The ALLIANCE was extremely useful to support our business development including help ranging from provision of samples of algae from the Baltic Sea to advice on commercial developments. Small companies need a European network like this that amplifies their reach.
Hoekmine, Netherlands, Case Owner
Participation in the Alliance project has been an inspiration and shown how Interreg projects can be tailored to serve as “fast track” for SMEs needing analysis for i.e. proof of concept. Furthermore, in order to help local valorisation of blue economy building on knowledge and experiences around the Baltic, Guldborgsund Municipality has joined the SUBMARINER Flagship Network.
BIOFISK (BioEconomy Hotspot – Guldborgsund), Case Owner
As a partner of the ALLIANCE we want to provide, develop and test our unique enabling technology for the bio blue needs. Through the network we got in contact with both national and international players in the blue bio-economy sector.
SFTec, Finland, Case Owner & Mentor
Being part of the ALLIANCE has been a vital injection for us, when it comes to business development and networking as well as financial support. The ALLIANCE partners and collaborators have motivated us to believe in what we are doing.
KosterAlg, Sweden, Case Owner
The Alliance unites actors in every field of blue biotechnology. It constitutes an unparalleled network tightly interwoven with sister networks in other regions or focusing on related topics in the BSR and thus represents a shortcut to the highly innovative blue bioeconomy sector in the region. Joining the Alliance will open doors to become part of this vibrant sector and facilitate realisation of new blue biotech ideas by finding the right partners.
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany, mentor
Within the Alliance, we were able to connect companies, interested in the identification and production of drugs and enzymes, with partners who have built up biological resources such as strain collections.
BioCon Valley, Germany, mentor
Our ALLIANCE cases Furcella and Vetik have received a lot of attention thanks to their participation in the Alliance mentoring programme both in Estonia and abroad. In Estonia, it is very important to show success stories to inspire others to act and also show that blue biotechnology is just not only a niche but a real market with real business opportunities.
Tartu Biotechnology Park, Estonia, mentor
The Finnish cases (especially SFTec, EHP Environment) in the Alliance mentoring programme were able to find several experts around Baltic Sea Region to help them in their product development. It also helped them to reach new markets outside Finland.
Finnish Environment Institute, Finland, mentor