2015/11/01 23:59:00

The Vega fund a funding facility for science based business ideas that supports:

  • Students and scientists from all fields of studies.

  • Projects that have scalable business potential.

  • Constructing knowledge-intensive services and working prototypes.

Time to apply:

Development fund 108 000 €


New teams fund 42 000 €


Development project support

The Vega fund supports science based development projects that aim to implement innovative solution in everyday life. The Vega fund supports projects in two different categories:
  • Small scale development projects (budget up to 4000 EUR).
  • Large scale development projects (budget up to 10 000 EUR)

New team fund

The purpose of the new team fund is to form teams of students who would help market a research result of an Estonian scientist.
  • Any postgraduate or doctoral student of any Estonian university can apply.
  • Vega fund will form interdisciplinary teams of four.
  • Students from any faculty can apply.
  • Every team will be assigned a research result with significant business potential.
  • The teams will receive practical training and support from experts in the field.
  • The teams have a month to prove that they are capable of working in a team and moving forward with the project.
  • The team that demonstrates fastest growth will be awarded a scholarship of 12 000 euros for ten months.




Vice-Rector for Development in University of Tartu

Suggestion for applicants: The Vega fund is looking for development projects that help solve relevant issues in society through the implementation of knowledge and research from the university. Consider thoughtfully and word how your idea will make the world better.



    Head of Business Innovation at SEB Baltics

    Suggestion for applicants: SEB is supporting the Vega fund to enhance the development of innovative ideas for Estonian companies. Find out what kind of solutions already exist in the world and how yours is better.

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      Manager of Idea Lab in University of Tartu

      Suggestion for applicants: Mark Twain once said: “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” It takes time to put down your ideas clearly. Take that into consideration when writing your application.



        COO at Estonian Development Fund

        Suggestion for applicants: Estonia is often too small for truly great ideas. On the global scale small niches can be very big. Think big and find the markets where your idea gives you an advantage.


          ERKI MÖLDER

          Business angel at EstBAN

          Suggestion for applicants: Everyone has good ideas. Only teams make it from a good idea to successful execution. List the strengths of your team, so that your capability to deliver the idea is evident.



            Business angel at Gorilla Ventures

            Suggestion for applicants: In Silicon Valley you can start a company without knowing how it's going to make money. In Europe you need to know that from the start. Think about your business model.


              NEIL THOMAS

              Partner at Ventac Partners

              Suggestion for applicants: Who wants to buy a machine that cools how porridge? The fact that you can build something does not mean the is demand for it. Check if the problem you are trying to solve actually needs solving.


                Vega was one of the first stars whose distance was estimated. Its brightness was used as a baseline to calibrate the distance of other stars. Vega is also the name of a rocket that deployed the first Estonian satellite into orbit. The Vega fund was created to launch the next knowledge-intensive solutions.

                The Vega fond helps implement innovative solutions based on the research of students and scientists of Estonian universities. The solutions must help solve relevant problems for companies and society.
                Despite the existing funding schemes, many knowledge-intensive and innovative concepts remain undeveloped due to funding issues. Vega fund supports the testing, prototyping, and implementing of such ideas with 50 000 euros every year.

                The Vega fund was created by SEB bank and University of Tartu. The fund competitions are ran by the Idea Lab in the University of Tartu. Competitions are held twice a year. The next deadline is November 1st 2015.

                Project manager Siim Uhtjärv - uhtjarv@ut.ee

                Phone: +372 737 4817

                Address: Narva mnt 4, Tartu 51009


                Allan Parik – Chairman of the Board at SEB Pank.„It’s very important for SEB that Estonian small and medium enterprises grow thanks to innovative solutions. Founding the Vega fund in cooperation with the University of Tartu is a critical step towards implementing the knowledge from universities and thereby enhancing the competitiveness of Estonian enterprises.”


                Erik Puura – Vice-Rector for Development in University of Tartu. “A lot of valuable knowledge and research results that could help solve practical issues for companies and society is hidden in Estonian universities. Often the lack of money becomes the reason for failure to transform the research results into a comprehensible prototype. Vega fund is here to help fill the gap.”


                Maret Ahonen – Manager of Idea Lab in University of Tartu. “Idea Lab in University of Tartu provides students of all faculties the opportunity to form interdisciplinary teams and create brilliant solutions to existing problems. In Idea Lab you develop and build a prototype. Vega fund helps to take the next steps realize the idea in real life.”

                Development project application

                Please fill the application in English and present the documents in a single PDF format.

                The maximum length of the application is 5 pages*. The elements of the application are as follows:

                1. Your business model. The business model canvas has to be based on the Osterwalder model and contain elements like value proposition, customer segments, channels, customer relationships, key activities, key partners, key resources, cost structure, and revenue stream. You can read more about the canvas and download the template here.

                2. Problem-solution-customer triangle explanation. Based on the value proposition and customer segments explain how your solutions solves the problem, present proof that the problem is relevant to your customer segment(s), etc. Using graphs is encouraged.

                3. Competitor analysis. Put together an overview and analysis of you competitors. Choose the format and tools most suitable for you product/service type to showcase the results.

                4. Team overview. Give an overview of the competencies and background of each member in the team. Point out the team leader and state your team’s vision.

                5. Prototyping project plan. Describe the project you want to complete with the Vega funding. State the goal of the project, the project timeline, and the concrete budget.

                6. Video link. Make a maximum 3-minute-long video about your product. Consider the video a demo pitch where you have to sell your product to the customer.

                *In case of very specific science-based business ideas there is an extra 2 pages that you can use to give an overview of peer-reviewed research. The purpose of this is to present proof of the relevance of the business idea. It is suggested to use this for business ideas related to medicine, biomedicine, biotechnology, etc. The 2 pages must include all references and be attached to the application’s PDF format.

                Contact information of the team representative




                Upload the application file:

                Link to the video:

                New team application

                Please fill the form in english.




                Attach a CV:

                Why do you want to participate in the new team project?

                What kind of ideas would you like to work on?

                Current studies:

                Your possible role in a team:

                Relevant experience for the role:

                Potential team members:

                Potential mentors:

                Questions and answers

                • I cannot find any projects from my field of studies in the list of examples. Can I still apply?

                  Yes, you can. Vega fund does not have restrictions regarding the applicant’s field of studies.

                • I have a concept and a plan for execution, but I don’t have a team. Can I submit my project to the Vega fund?
                  It is not forbidden to apply alone. Although, past experience has shown that it is much easier for a team to execute the idea. We suggest you to find more team members with the help of Idea Lab.

                • I am an Estonian enterprise and I have a problem that needs solving but we lack experts to develop a solution and implement it. How can the Vega fund help?

                  Idea Lab collects the issues from enterprises and introduces them to students and scientists who are capable of developing the solution. This way we are able to find a suitable team. In case the initial solution develops into a product that the team wants to prototype and market, they can apply to the Vega fund.

                • How to I gather feedback if I don’t have anything to show to the customer?

                  It is possible to gather feedback without having a product ready in case of most projects. For example, one Finnish startup contacted 20 potential customers, negotiated the sale, and signed 15 contracts. After that the startup admitted that actually the product will be ready in a year and for helping us do market research we will give you our product for free. The founder of the Estonian enterprise Click & Grow Mattias Lepp started gathering contacts and feedback of potential buyers when he has just an idea and a picture of what the product might look like.

                • What does it mean that in case of development projects “An interdisciplinary team where all members implement their professional know-how” are preferred?

                  For example, an interdisciplinary team is a team of students from the fields of psychology, philology, and IT who are creating a playful test that help social science students discover new opportunities of job where their knowledge is needed. Another example is a team of biotechnology scientists and IT students who develop software to manage lab mice. The above-mentioned team are preferred over a team consisting of only chemists trying to develop a smart bike rental service where none of their knowledge of chemistry is needed.

                • Why are project teams that include at least one member from University of Tartu preferred?

                  The purpose of this preference is to create more opportunities for the students of University of Tartu to participate in innovative projects and gain professional experiences during their studies. The other goal is to strengthen the cooperation between the teams and University of Tartu.

                For scientists

                Great scientists have more ideas than they themselves can execute. The Vega fund invites Estonian scientists to put up their ideas for new teams to develop and market. If you want to know more about your opportunities and the protection of intellectual property in the Vega fund, then leave your e-mail here and you will be contacted. ?>

                Your mail address:

                For companies

                Companies might have problems that need a smart solution. Also, companies might have ideas for product development that need testing and prototyping or pilot servicing. In case you would like to know more about how Vega fund and Idea Lab can help your company solve problems or develop new solutions, enter your e-mail here and you will be contacted.

                Your mail address: