Having an idea is good. Having an innovative idea is great. What’s even better, though, is having an innovative idea that you can take to market and commercialise. Here’s a thought: The Romanian Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (RICAP), a mentorship and training programme for Romanian entrepreneurs and researchers, has announced a 25 November deadline for submissions for its inaugural class. Created in August 2013 to assist entrepreneurs in taking innovations and new products to market, RICAP will accept 15 applicants for four months in early 2014.
“We believe that commercialisation is the missing link from the Romanian innovation ecosystem, especially when it comes to innovative technologies,” Ana Raducanu of RICAP told inventures.eu.
RICAP was established by the Romanian Centre for Innovation in Local Development and the US-based Larta Institute and derives its financial backing from the Romanian-American Foundation. Over the course of the programme, participants will receive 20 hours worth of mentoring sessions from local mentors and Larta Principal Advisers, attend regular industry salons and webinars, and two teams will be selected at the end to travel to the United States to arrange meetings and network.
“It [Romania] has many people bursting with ideas and it has good research capacity, but its entrepreneurs, even the most innovative ones, can be isolated without the support of a well-connected network of experts, and financing,” said Raducanu. “The result is that they rarely have the opportunity or the capacity to compete effectively on the global market and grow into competitive enterprises.” By focusing on these challenges, RICAP is looking to fill a gap in the Romanian entrepreneurial ecosytem.
In order to qualify for the programme, applicants are required to demonstrate that their technology addresses a need or problem felt by its users. “The most successful applicants will be those committed to the commercialisation of the technology and to the robustness of the current business model (whether or not it is built around a single technology),” said Raducanu. Applicants should also be clear on their goals, the need they’re addressing, and resources they would require to do so.
Companies which are deemed “market-ready” by their Larta advisers will be allowed to participate in the feedback sessions, where they will have the opportunity to engage with industry executives, successful entrepreneurs, and the heads of like-minded US-based companies. All costs of participating in the programme are expected to be born by the participants, with the exception of airfare to the United States for those selected to partake in the final trip.