BMI Institute, an international educator of high-level managers, is launching an Investment and Innovation Academy to promote understanding of modern business forms, boost interest in start-ups, enhance possibilities for the best ideas to be brought to life, and foster collaboration between investors, corporations and start-ups. The Academy, which will start in October, is being established by BMI together with the Lithuanian Business Angel Network (LitBAN) and Baltic Sandbox, an investment management company, with law firm Ellex Valiunas as a content partner.
The partners believe that combining Lithuanian businesses’ experience in assessing risks and planning for the long term with start-ups’ drive and innovative thinking can help both achieve significantly more while also improving the country’s investment profile and contributing to its economic growth.
Diana Česonytė, Director of Executive Education Programmes at BMI Institute, says a sharp divide between large businesses, which have capital to invest, and start-ups, which generate ideas and are highly motivated, is limiting business growth opportunities.
“Our Academy aims to bridge that divide. Corporations are great at assessing the risks and the long-term impact of every action they take. Creators of start-ups, on the other hand, know how to think fast, innovatively, and often on a global scale. If we put these strengths together, we have a recipe for a successful, modern business that’s highly attractive to investors. Is now the time for Lithuania to take business synergy to a new level and build a stronger economy? I believe so,” Česonytė says.
Aiming to contribute to economic growth
According to Martynas Kandzeras, a Board Member at LitBAN, there is enough capital for investments in Lithuania, but businesses usually choose a simpler, supposedly safer investment route, hesitating to put their trust in the start-up community.
“We have to realize that every start-up that runs out of steam is a lost business opportunity. At the Investment and Innovation Academy, we’ll demonstrate to Lithuania’s business leaders that investing in start-ups isn’t just blindly giving money away. An investor can become a serious partner for a young business, helping it assess risks and take calculated steps towards global growth, thereby earning a return on investment and boosting the country’s economic growth,” Kandzeras says.
The Investment and Innovation Academy invites corporate executives, decision-makers, and beginning and experienced investors alike to learn practically how to nurture a start-up mindset, acquire expertise on investing in start-ups, strengthen their reputation as reliable investors, and build up a network of investment-oriented contacts.
“In addition to all the other benefits, the diverse businesspeople and investors who complete the Academy will also become members of the Lithuanian Business Angel Network. We’re skilled at bringing experience together with help for young businesses to grow. We see clear advantages in this kind of cooperation, and that’s why we’re joining the initiative to enhance Lithuanian businesses’ knowledge of investments, start-ups, and a progressive approach to doing business,” Kandzeras says.
In his view, the bustling field of Lithuanian start-ups in recent years shows Lithuanians have the type of ideas, motivation, and leaders it takes to build modern businesses oriented to global markets.
“Why is it Lithuania has only one unicorn start-up when, say, Estonia has as many as seven? Could the obstacle here be Lithuanian investors’ rather reserved approach to such investments? I think so. That’s why the idea to educate, motivate, and empower Lithuanian business leaders to pay attention to start-ups here could provide the real impetus for the country’s economic development,” he says.
Nurturing a start-up mindset
The fast-evolving business environment which is and increasingly replacing local markets with global ones is forcing large corporations to look for modern ways of operating. According to Baltic Sandbox CEO Sandra Golbreich, the way that start-ups think offers an excellent example here in terms of the ability to generate ideas and regroup when circumstances change, of global perspective and the art of successfully selling your ideas. “In our daily work, we see again and again that acting in line with these principles is the key to start-ups’ success. I have no doubt that applying these principles day-to-day at large corporations would help them to open up new horizons for their operations and find ways to enhance their business processes,” Golbreich says.
She believes that one of the distinctive features of successful businesses is its ability to retain leadership in a highly competitive environment: “It’s precisely the start-up philosophy – of innovative ideas in large markets – that could help large companies reaffirm their leadership. Our hope is that the Investment and Innovation Academy will help Lithuania’s major businesses not only find partners in the start-up community but also enter a qualitatively new stage of business leadership.”
The first 5-module edition of the Investment and Innovation Academy will run from October 2021 to June 2022. For more information about the programme and how to join, visit https://www.bmiinstitute.com/investment-innovation-academy/.
About the partners
The Lithuanian Business Angel Network (LitBAN) is a community of angel investors who invest in early-stage companies with exceptional growth potential. These ex-entrepreneurs and other experienced professionals dedicate knowledge, energy and financial resources to founders with exciting projects in Lithuania and across the Nordics.
Baltic Sandbox is an accelerator and a community-builder on a mission to help startups skyrocket, business angels enhance their competencies, and investors not run out of outstanding founders. Baltic Sandbox seeks on its own and in partnership with others to help address and resolve societal problems.