The Estonian state is investing more than half a million euros in making businesses more competitive

Tehnopol Science and Business Park is joining with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to create an Artificial Intelligence or AI development programme designed to make manufacturing and data-intensive businesses better able to climb up the value chain.

“Creating solutions that use artificial intelligence is not just a playground for global businesses like Facebook, Amazon and Google, it is an ever-increasing area of technology that can improve working processes if it is applied smartly, and can help develop products with higher value-added for all businesses that use data to any degree in their business models”, explained the Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Andres Sutt. “Delaying too long in introducing new technology weakens not only businesses themselves, but also the competitiveness of the Estonian economy as a whole. This is why it is important for state support to remove obstacles in the market and accelerate the introduction of artificial intelligence”.

Introducing artificial intelligence solutions is capital intensive and requires specialised knowledge of the field, and this has placed barriers in its way. The lack of early phase investment also holds back creators of artificial intelligence and so they are often not able to bring their solutions to market. One of the goals of the Tehnopol AI development programme is to change this around and to support businesses that want to use AI in their own processes.

To do this, Tehnopol is organising two bootcamps, setting up an AI accelerator, and giving financial support to 6-8 artificial intelligence pilot projects. In total the Estonian state is investing some 600,000 euros in the Tehnopol AI programme.  

The CEO of Tehnopol Indrek Orav said that running the artificial intelligence development programme fits directly with the Tehnopol’s strategic aim of supporting world-changing technologies and innovation. “We want to support business development through innovative solutions, and artificial intelligence is certainly a part of that. We are very pleased that the state has chosen artificial intelligence and robotics as one of its strategic directions, and this programme is one of the first that has been set up to drive development in that direction”, he said. 

Head of business development at Tehnopol Martin Goroško added that there was a clear need for support for businesses in introducing artificial intelligence solutions. “In our work with businesses we see how introducing artificial intelligence would resolve many of the challenges that hinder growth and development. There is however a lack of capital for early-phase piloting and a lack of the confidence that experience can bring. This is exactly where our holistic development programme lets us take steps to meet the needs of businesses”, he said.

The Tehnopol AI development programme is open for industrial companies and data-intensive businesses that have challenges that they need artificial intelligence to resolve, and for startup companies, scientific or student teams, or spin-off businesses that can offer solutions. Funding for pilot projects will only be available to those who have already completed the bootcamp. Decisions on funding will be made by an expert panel that will consider the project plans and presentations at the end of the bootcamp, and will be composed of leading experts and scientists in the field.

The development programme will run until the end of 2022. Registration is open for the AI bootcamp and the AI accelerator. Further information on the Tehnopol AI development programme and on applying for it can be found at: AI.tehnopol.ee 

Source: Tehnopol