In May 2017 Blackstone LaunchPad from Trinity visited Tallin, Estonia as part of a European project funded by EIT KIC Raw Materials. Well aware of the positive reputation of Estonia in the global startup community we visited Technical University of Tallin (TTU) and a startup summit known as Latitude59 (59 degrees N being the latitude of Tallin).
At TTU we participated in a workshop at Mektory is the University's showcase innovation and entrepreneurship space in a refurbished building opened just two years ago. MEKTORY is an acronym for "Modern Estonian Knowledge Transfer Organisation for You": But the association with dubious academic acronyms ends there.
MEKTORY is of interest because of its funding model and its method of engaging with student startups and the wider startup ecosystem within Estonia. It was the brainchild ofthen the Vice-Rector of TTÜ Ms Tea Varrak. Since founding MEKTORY Tea is now Secretary General of Ministry of Education and Research in the Estonian government.
MEKTORY's success provides a useful case study for the development of the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub within Trinity College. The main takeaways are:
- Funded not only from the expected sources (i.e. the university itself and the Estonian government): But has secured sponsorship from industry and foreign government embassies
- Extensive engagement with primary and second level students
- Existence of a nationwide knowledge transfer organisation known as Adapter . This serves as a one stop shop for industry when it wishes to secure technologies or services from any Estonian University. Adapter is the Estonian equivalent of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and guarantees a response from a University within 10 working days .
The images below illustrate the practical implementation of the above: