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Incubation in progress

A few weeks ago, CeTTAV organised a workshop on the Technology Incubation project of the CzechInvest Agency with great interest of the attendees. The Centre for Technology Transfer of the CAS (CeTTAV) has been selected as an official partner of the programme, which aims to find and support innovative technology startups and develop the startup ecosystem in the Czech Republic.

“We offer direct assistance to academic start-ups that would like to apply for the programme. We can help with pre-incubation, i.e. preparation for the project, project evaluation and then the application and other steps. Thanks to our status as an official partner, we offer above-standard communication support during consultations with CzechInvest managers,” says Martin Smekal, head of CeTTAV.

What was the role of CeTTAV and what did its participation in the incubation project bring to it, describes Martin Kubeš rom CeTTAV’s Transfer Projects Department, who was in charge of the Technology Incubation.

“CeTTAV, as one of the selected project partners, has for the first time actively engaged in direct assistance to academic start-ups and spin-offs. Our role was mainly to ensure effective communication with pre-incubation managers and representatives of start-ups. Specifically, the translation of the vision of the originators in the form of expected objectives and outputs into the basic documents of the project, i.e. the business, incubation and financial plan. Discussion of these, including setting out the timeline and milestones of the project, ideally linked to the company’s own development. Further training of employees in areas such as – development and advancement of TRL and MRL levels, marketing, intellectual property protection, etc. Finally, it was also assistance with registration in the AIS system for project application submission and output quality control of the submitted project application.”

Valuable experience

“Unfortunately, the initial interest from academic young companies was not great, but CeTTAV took a step in the right direction. We have gained important practical experience in preparing and submitting a project application in this programme and are already in contact with other young companies that would like to apply for a project in its third call. It should be open this autumn. Also important was the active role of CeTTAV in the debate that opened up over the definition of an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) and the criteria that a young company fully or majority owned by an academic institute must meet.”

Martin Kubeš with CeTTAV further describes the interest in the Centre’s services.

“CeTTAV was approached by the start-up Betonext Production, which emerged from the original start-up Betonext (exclusive license to use the intellectual property created at ÚACH and in the laboratory of Ing. Černý – wall mortars and bricks) with a request for help in creating a project application. Interest in cooperation was also expressed by the spin-off SciCare Innovations, which was established as a company wholly owned by the Institute of Pharmacology, while the Institute contributed intellectual property from the workshop of Ing. Rathouský in the field of technologies useful in restoration and protection of monuments, photocatalytic purification of air and water. The role of CeTTAV was both in communication with the pre-incubation manager of Czechinvest and in the preparation of the actual project application, specifically the business and incubation plan, in the registration in the internal AIS system and in the output control of all documents necessary for the successful submission of the project application. In both cases the project applications were successfully submitted in the Standard version (maximum amount of subsidy CZK 1.5 million).”

What happens next?

“If the project and the subsidy are successfully obtained, CeTTAV’s role will again be consultative,” says Martin Kubeš. “Within the framework of this project, CeTTAV offers cooperation to the institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, for example, the possibility to join the project and to use the free capacity of laboratories and specialist workplaces under standard market conditions. Academic companies will also be able to take advantage of the networking and rich list of contacts that CeTTAV has at its disposal.”