What is the AI Development Programme
Companies that will succeed in a globalising world are those that can keep up with the rapid development of technology. The winners will be those who can quickly automate the largest possible part of their production and digitalise the largest part of their processes. The top priority today is introducing artificial intelligence, whether into production or into providing services.
The Tehnopol AI Development Programme is designed to help Estonian businesses introduce artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, making them more competitive and keeping the Estonian economy sustainably successful in the future. We do this by launching and funding pilot projects based on AI, organising development marathons, running an accelerator with a six-month development cycle, and sharing all of the knowledge gained during the programme with other businesses.
The AI Development Programme is working closely with AIRE, the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Estonia hub. The aim of bringing together the two independent organisations is to make Estonian manufacturing companies and the whole economy more competitive by supporting the introduction of artificial intelligence and robotics solutions.
The AI Development Programme has been created jointly with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to introduce artificial intelligence technologies into Estonia.
The programme is designed for:
- RDIE Focus Areas (Research, Development, Innovation, Entrepreneurship) such as data-intensive educational, greentech, healthtech and manufacturing companies. We look for companies that are exposed to large amounts of data that could be analyzed by AI when offering their product or service. We will involce at least 25 companies in the program to create new solutions, and we finance at least 8-12 projects with up to 75,000 euros.
- Startup and spin-off companies and university research teams who are interested in creating AI solutions to meet the needs of manufacturing companies and data-intensive companies. The bootcamp will involve at least 25 different teams working to solve challenges, and they will also get some of the funded projects. At least ten smart solutions will also be given the chance to develop their products in the AI accelerator.
Apply for the summer bootcamp, that will be held on August 16th and 24th in Tartu!
The artificial intelligence development marathon/bootcamp is designed to support the ambitions of businesses to introduce AI solutions. To do this we are running two development marathons, one in winter 2022 in Tallinn and the other at the end of the summer in Tartu.
The development marathon will bring artificial intelligence challenges and businesses with AI needs together with those who can provide the solutions for them. We will organise a two-day workshop for them to create a joint pilot project that will outline the technical solutions, prove the commercial value of the new solution, and put together the entire project plan. Participants in the development marathon will be supported throughout by mentors and trainers.
Participation in the development marathon is free.
The development marathon is open to companies posing challenges whose production, client management, product development or other processes could be made more efficient and sustainable with artificial intelligence solutions. The winter development marathon in Tallinn is open primarily to industrial and production companies, but also to data-intensive businesses working in research and development.
The development marathon welcomes solution providers who are startups or established businesses, researchers, specialists or students – or indeed anyone who is willing and able to put themselves to the test in developing and creating artificial intelligence.
The winter development marathon was held on February 18-19 and you can read about it HERE!
What's going on?
The two-day development marathon will be held on August 16 and 24 in Tartu. You can take part in the development marathon in person or online.
The main focus of the event is on creating artificial intelligence solutions through teamwork.
The event will end on August 24th with an expert panel.
Participating in the artificial intelligence development marathon is a requirement for setting up a pilot project and receiving funding of 25,000-75,000 euros. The expert panel at the end of the development marathon will make decisions about that funding.
The expert panel will give feedback to all the development teams participating in the event, and advice on how to improve their pilot projects. At the end of the development marathon the expert panel will choose:
- The projects that will receive funding to carry out their pilot projects
- The projects that can be taken straight to the applications panel of the AI technology accelerator and to the pilot projects round
The expert panel includes representatives from edutech, greentech, healthtech and industry, as well as professional associations, universities and science parks.
A total of € 370,000 will be distributed for the implementation of pilot projects!
AI pilot funding
Data-intensive, early-phase ideas based on artificial intelligence need capital to enter the market. Without that capital, those ideas will remain in the laboratory or as hobbies for the development teams.
The pilot project round brings funding, support and advice from mentors, and acceleration for the pilot projects that have been through the development marathon and been selected by the expert panel. This step helps artificial intelligence solutions become market-ready and attract additional private capital!
To recieve funding, all the pilot projects will be evaluated in 5 different categories:
- Complexity and uniqueness of the pilot project
- General impact of the implemented project
- KPI’s, timeline and budget
The pilot project round is for:
- Teams that have taken part in the Tehnopol AI development marathon and whose project plans and operating schedules have been voted worth funding by the expert panel;
- Pilot projects that have been technically and commercially validated, that are feasible, and that could demonstrate a return on investment;
- Teams that are ready to launch their project as they have access to the data they need and are prepared to put in the time needed;
- Teams that are ready to consider their pilot project as a research and development activity and that are ready to publish a description of a methodology of the pilot;
- Teams that are ready to put up at least 30% of the funding themselves.
The Tehnopol AI development programme supports the launch and research work of 8-12 pilot projects. The projects are selected by the expert panel of the development marathon.
The amount of investment depends on the plans submitted by the team and on their capital needs, and can range from 25,000 to 75,000 euros. The decision on the amount of funding is also taken by the expert panel. The eligible costs are labour costs, the costs of bringing in external experts, research work that is bought in, and technical hardware and software tools.
A total of € 370,000 will be distributed for the implementation of pilot projects!
A contract is signed with the legal entity representing the team or company receiving the pilot project funding, and it regulates the implementation of the project receiving the funding, the use and commercialisation of intellectual property, and the financial reporting obligations. Tehnopol supports the pilot projects in achieving their goals through mentoring and the Startup Incubator AI accelerator from the first project round.
The pilot project has up to six months to achieve implementation. At the end of that time, the results of the project are submitted to the expert panel and, to the extent agreed, are released to the public through the Tehnopol channels.
The Tehnopol Startup Incubator AI accelerator helps bring to the market new and strong technology companies working with artificial intelligence, whose solutions can take the production, processes or products of small and medium-sized businesses to a new level.
The AI technology accelerator is open to startup companies and spin-off teams from established companies, and to teams of researchers and students whose ideas and solutions use artificial intelligence and are aimed at industrial or data-intensive companies.
The AI accelerator programme of the Startup Incubator helps:
- AI technology companies to grow strong under the guidance of experienced mentors using a training programme;
- Bring together participants in the artificial intelligence ecosystem and experts;
- Ideas based on AI reach the pilot phase faster and with less testing;
- Make contacts who can help bring in additional capital.
The Tehnopol AI development programme supports
To enter the programme:
- The team must have the skills needed and be able to develop the idea proposed into a pilot during the accelerator programme;
- The business ideas must suit not only the needs of one individual company, and must be possible to scale up in foreign markets as well;
- The team must be ready to commit the time needed to reach the minimum level of pilot readiness by the end of the accelerator programme.
- It would be good to have an agreement to pilot the idea with at least one potential client or partner.
The following development cycles will be completed during the programme:
- Defining the problems of clients and designing the value proposition;
- Putting together a business model and a strong team;
- Creating product development and prototypes based on AI technology;
- Protecting intellectual property and agreements about it with other parties;
- Being ready for investors and finding sources of funding;
- Validating client cases, piloting, and setting a strategy for market entry.
A specialist training series focused on AI together with mentors and experts who are among the best in the business will help participants complete the development cycle, and the mentors will work each week with the teams. The teams participating in the accelerator programme can use the physical working space of the Tehnopol Startup Incubator.
The AI accelerator will run after the development marathon and will offer teams taking part in it immediate support in growing into strong startups developing AI technology. It is not required to take part in the development marathon to access the AI accelerator, but the winning teams in the development marathon are guaranteed direct entry into the accelerator.