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“Radām novadam” (''Create for Region'') is a competition for university student teams, during which each team in a municipality of their choice tries to create the greatest possible economic value by creating new jobs and attracting funding for various business and social projects.
The purpose of the competition is to give an opportunity to young people of Latvia to prove themselves as entrepreneurs by developing and implementing various business projects in the regions of Latvia. The participants are young people who have a business experience of less than months. Realising business ideas should create the greatest possible economic value by creating new jobs, attracting investment, while promoting economic and social development in these regions.
The competition was launched in 2014. Just two years later, in 2016, it was recognised by the European Commission as the best business promotion project in Latvia and one of the best business promotion projects in Europe.
The competition was implemented within the framework of "Erasmus+: Youth in Action"programme and the State Youth Policy Programme of the Ministry of Education and Science. The competition was organised by the association "Radām novadam" in cooperation with the news portal "Delfi".
BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPANTS
Benefits for young people. The participation in the competition did not require any investment. The teams gain publicity opportunities, better conditions for cooperation with local authorities, additional trust and reputation in the eyes of potential investors and partners, and additional funding that allows them to achieve the main benefit of implementing their business idea.
Benefits for the municipalities. The competition enables the municipalities to attract new ideas and energy for their development, helping young people implement business projects in their territory and creating economic benefits for the region. Participation in the competition also allows the municipality to position itself publicly, as a place where young people are supported in their pursuit of their business ideas.
Benefits to higher education institutions. Higher education institutions are a great opportunity to show the public how well they can prepare young people for real life and how useful the knowledge and skills are they acquire when studying.
The Creative Industries Division of the Ministry of Culture is responsible for creative industries which helps to implement and initiate different interdisciplinary projects. Young people are the main target audience in projects like DEMOLA and in the creative partnership programme RaPaPro.
The Creative Partnership Programme (RaPaPro) is a programme initiated and funded by the Ministry of Culture to establish new partnerships in vocational secondary cultural education institutions (art, design, music and dance secondary schools), involving teachers, students, municipal representatives, entrepreneurs, social groups and other local community representatives. In 2016 the coordination of the RaPaPro project was taken over by the Latvian National Cultural Center.
A creative partnership in interdisciplinary activities unites various partners to participate on equal basis: they equally contribute and equally benefit from participation.
Creative partnerships are formed between various target groups: music education students cooperate with the media industry, design education students can find partners among business education schools and ceramics companies, dance education students cooperate with design education students and craftsmen, art education representatives cooperate with the Prison Administration and involve socially marginalised groups (women in prison) in the project. As a result of various collaborations design products - souvenirs, industrially produced dishes, clothes for a certain group of users, contemporary tourism tools, new musical instruments, social design and social art works have been created.
Partnership formula: PARTNER X + PARTNER Y + PARTNER Z = RESULT
Example of one of the implemented projects: Project “From Letter to Sound” (2016) implemented in the city Rēzekne – a fully equipped bus stop with the creative design, name of the stop, improved bench and solution for lighting were created as well as the newly designed 20 bus schedules with route plans and the 6 sound compositions announcing 6 bus stops in the public buses were developed to improve accessibility for people with sight problems, the elderly and children to the public transport in Rēzekne city.
From 2014 to 2018 29 RaPaPro projects were implemented, as a result of which new skills and knowledge were acquired, a contribution was made to solving economic and social issues and a transfer of cultural creativity to other areas was promoted. Teachers in cooperation with project partners developed a wide range of partnership ideas, which were further realised by students and resulted in concrete, applicable results.
New skills and knowledge obtained during RaPaPro projects have contributed to the resolution of social issues, and promotion of culture-based creativity transfer to other industries.
“SKOLNIEKS PĒTNIEKS PILSĒTNIEKS” (“STUDENT RESEARCHER TOWNSMAN”) is a programme started in 2009 and aims to enhance the understanding of young people – future adults, consumers and legislators – about architecture and principles of urban development, because a harmonious urban environment can only be developed by a well-informed society.
It teaches children and young people to think in a structured, systematic and spatial way about the art of creating urban environments. The most extensive result of the project is a non-formal education course about the build-up environment for teachers, parents and businessmen.
The project is implemented by the Association of Young Architects, which is the newest structural unit of the Association of Latvian Architects, the only professional architecture organisation in the country.
Project activities included:
- training methodology for different target audiences;
- cooperation with various organisations;
- link to the Latvian Education System;
- international experience plus alternative pedagogics;
- training and visual aids;
Demola is an international innovation challenge platform that brings together students and leading brands. With Demola, global and local organisations challenge university students to create a better future. Today the network brings together over 50 universities, 750,000 students and the leading companies from around the world.
Demola Global was established in Tampere, Finland. Now Demola operates in 18 countries: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Portugal, Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, Slovenia, Japan, China, Nepal and Tunisia.
Demola innovation challenges are designed to solve real future challenges and create new service concepts and demos. With Demola, a multidisciplinary team of university students and company’s experts work together in an innovation challenge set by the company. During an eight-week process, the team co-creates solutions to the given theme.
In 2014, the IT cluster as a partner of the Baltic Sea Region StarDust project, by overtaking DEMOLA Network experiences, trained employees on the creation of the platform and preparation of the training programme, and undertook the lead to introduce the DEMOLA Network experience in Latvia, promoting interdisciplinary training for students and new, innovative products and services in all industries. On 31 December 2014 the DEMOLA LATVIA platform was successfully created and by autumn 2016 DEMOLA LATVIA solved problems, offered by 30 companies, state governmentance institutions and organisations. Overall, 159 students participated in training courses and a broader student audience participated in related events, reaching more than 2000 participants in total.
Demola Latvia facilitates co-creation projects between university students and companies, either locally or internationally, with the aim to find innovative solutions to the needs of companies, institutions and organizations that are seeking for the spark of creativity, design thinking and new products.
Demola Latvia was launched by Latvian IT Cluster with the support of the Ministry of Economics and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. Until December 2015 Demola Latvia was financially supported through the Motivation programme of the ERDF implemented by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. In autumn 2016 Riga Technical University and University of Latvia took over the operation of Demola in Latvia. Investment and Development Agency of Latvia supports Demola operation via a Motivation programme.
Multidisciplinary Demola student teams during 4 months (two seasons per year – Spring and Fall) work on real-life cases together with their partner companies. For instance, teams (formed of students from different fields, faculties and universities) create and refine business concepts, develop new products, or build demos and prototypes. Demola ensures that the process is formatted and facilitated; work is systematic and runs on schedule and yields meaningful results. The partner company can purchase or license the team's creations, so it is a possibility for students to earn money, too. Students own the intellectual property rights for results of each project. Partners may also want to continue the project for further development.
Benefits for partners:
- possibility to relatively simply and without financial risk obtain new, creative solutions as a fresh perspective developed by students under the guidance of professionals;
- getting to potential hires or know offer traineeships to young talented people;
- possibility to bee seen as open, innovation-oriented and student friendly employers.
- possibility to implement and develop project ideas further after the end of DEMOLA season by continuing cooperation with the best students and teaching staff and utilizing research facilities of universities.
Benefits for students:
- unique experience to create new products, services and process creation in a multidisciplinary team;
- new skills (creative thinking and design process, presentation skills, teamwork) and talent discovery;
- practical experience working on a real-life challenges provided by partner organisation and getting useful insight into the specific field of the project;
- business contacts and remarkable CV record;
- oopprtunity to commercialise the idea and get rewarded by a project partner if the case solution is high quality;
- making new friends, meeting new people and creating strong connections for future;