After a busy first year, Innova-FI partnership continues its fast pace to achieve all the project goals set upon at the launch of the project. Having mapped and analysed the financial instruments in the partner regions, we continue our learning journey exploring ‘Equity-type Instruments & Funding sources - Cross-border collaborations’.

During this third exchange of experience organised by INVEGA (15-17 July, Vilnius), representatives of Baltic Innovation Fund introduced the pan-Baltic cooperation for equity development and private equity fund manager Invalda INVL, KEPA (a project partner) introduced SmartFI, a project aiming to contribute to the efficiency improvement and to the risk minimisation of Financial Instruments, and a learning workshop in ‘Design Thinking’ was planned. The focus of this learning workshop was on how to use the six principles of design thinking for designing and implementing better financial instruments. Besides presenting this human-centred approach for creative problem solving, the workshop allowed the diverse stakeholders to work together and assemble a prototype.

On the second day of the exchange of experience the spotlight was turned to Lithuania’s innovation landscape and crowdfunding market which is experiencing a rapid growth – last year alone, the sector (in terms of loans extended) expanded nearly sixfold, albeit from a rather low overall level (from EUR ~1,3 m to EUR ~7,7 m).

Jekaterina Govina introduced Bank of Lithuania’s initiatives on crowdlending and fin-tech and the representatives of crowdlending operator Finbee talked about their main challenge. Chief project manager of INVEGA followed up with a session about crowdlending financial instrument “Avietė“ (raspberry in English), a measure which is facilitating the access to finance for SMEs business development projects. Avietė does so through crowdfunding platforms and contributing to the development of the fintech sector in Lithuania. The second half of the day was dedicated to Equity instruments for innovative SMEs. The partners and the stakeholders learned about how ‘Koinvesticinis fondas’ co-invests with venture capital funds and groups of business angels into Lithuanian start-ups and growing medium-sized enterprises.

Surrounding the meeting & workshop sessions, there was also space for networking and informal exchange of ideas among the partners & stakeholders. Like previous meetings, the 3rd Innova-FI interregional meeting was a big success. The consortium had interesting discussions and was able to progress very well in its process of interregional learning.