This autumn, the six most promising Russian life science start-ups were selected out of 170 applicants to participate in the “AstraZeneca-Skolkovo Startup Challenge 2019” acceleration program. Readiness for the European market and business competencies uplift were the themes in three sessions held by the SmiLe business coaches as part of the acceleration program. The final of the accelerator took place with a Demo Day in Moscow in December 16th.
”AstraZeneca-Skolkovo Startup Challenge 2019” is organized by AstraZeneca Marketing Company in Russia in collaboration with Skolkovo Foundation, one of Russia´s largest life science parks.
At Demo Day the six companies made short presentations of their projects in front of the management of the Skolkovo Foundation and AstraZeneca, SkolTech professors, Venture Investors and Business Angels.
“These are very promising companies, with high innovative ideas. Russian Acceleration program is a great example of how AstraZeneca supports entrepreneurs and scientists in order to bring their solutions to patients faster. Together with individual mentoring from AstraZeneca experts this course provides a good base for the successful product development”, says Nadezda Tikhonova, Associate Director Clinical Department, AstraZeneca, Russia, who joined the start-ups to Lund and SmiLe.
SmiLe Incubator is responsible for educating the start-ups in the skills needed for entering the European market and for sharpening their business strategies.
“The visit to SmiLe incubator was very constructive. Particularly SmiLe´s Business Forum was very useful for the start-ups. They got the opportunity to get their business ideas challenged and got honest and constructive feedback from a team of SmiLe coaches. This type of coaching helped them to see risks and possibilities they had not thought about and it really helped them to be aware of the importance of meeting customers and understand their needs”, Nadezda Tikhonova continues.
The Russian start-ups visited SmiLe for two days of coaching, and as a follow-up SmiLe´s business coaches later went to Skolkovo. In addition, SmiLe´s coaches have supported the start-ups via Internet.
“We are very impressed of the Russian start-ups, and believe that this is a good way to effectively support foreign companies to be ready to enter Europe. In addition, by being part of this accelerator we increase our international network and improves our competences”, says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of Smile Incubator.
More information: The accelerator is primarily for projects in the fields of oncology, cardiovascular diseases, metabolism diseases, kidney and respiratory diseases. The goal is to search for promising ideas and innovative solutions in the fields as well as help solve specific problems and issues that modern medicine faces, including issues of practical health care. The nominations also include developing solutions in the sphere of digital medicine.
SmiLe is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund. SmiLe Incubator helps entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas. There are currently more than 20 companies in SmiLe, which together with alumni companies, have attracted almost EUR 290 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers business coaching, a large network of contacts and a dynamic community, as well as many well-equipped laboratories, which is unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe is a non-profit organization and receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe´s sponsors are Sparbanken Skåne, Awa, Høiberg, Prevas, Setterwalls, Zacco, Aqilion. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies have a market capitalization of almost EUR 690 million (Q2 2019). www.smileincubator.life