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The Innovation Kitchen of the EIC Innovators’ Summit 2018 is open, and the programme is promising two days of an unforgettable feast. Investors, entrepreneurs, and ecosystem builders are coming to Berlin on September 10-11 to have a taste, and we’re already able to give you a peek at what’s cooking.
Flavoursome metaphors aside, the European Innovation Council (EIC), which is currently undergoing its three-year pilot phase, will host more than 600 participants from all walks of tech entrepreneurship, from researchers to investors to startup founders.
The EIC pilot stage, which spans from 2018 to 2020, consists of three programmes for entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers. The first, SME Instrument, provides grants from €50,000 to €2.5 million for small and medium-sized companies in the EU. The second one, Fast Track to Innovation, is there to encourage cooperation between startups in different sectors, while the third, Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Open, provides research grants for exploration of “radically new future technologies.”
For startups, the SME Instrument is the most relevant programme, which has already provided €1.6 billion in grants for small and medium-sized companies. The industries, in which successful applicants work include energy, materials, (fast moving) consumer goods, finance, healthcare, technology, telecommunications, utilities, and other.
One of the pilot’s success stories is Skeleton Technologies, an Estonia-based research-intensive startup that develops and produces graphene-based ultracapacitors.
“The SMEI has had a major impact on our business,” said Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Skeleton. “We received €2.5 million financing but on top of that, we have managed to unlock 42 million of financing from VC, private equity, and EIB. The SMEI allowed us to focus on our core technology, which is graphene, so that we managed to take this technology even further and sign contracts with new customers ranging from Sumitomo to European Space Agency.”
The programme of the invitation-only EIC Innovators’ Summit 2018, dubbed affectionately the Innovation Kitchen Europe, has something to offer for everyone interested or already participating in any of the programmes EIC conducts.
The Summit organising committee has planned a choice of exciting keynotes for the attendees to watch. The speaker list includes the co-founder of TomTom Corinne Vigreux, the chief futurist at innogy Thomas Birr, a long-time Forbes technology columnist Monty Munford, and many more.
For the more practical and hands-on cooking guidance, there are a number of workshops planned around the topics ranging from entering the US market to effective branding to high-risk research practices. Quite a bit of attention will go to startup-corporate collaboration, a topic that’s always relevant for many entrepreneurs. The participants will get a chance to hear and learn from top executives and innovation practitioners from the European Commission, as well as companies like Mad Pixel Factory, BioCurve, and Nova Innovation.
“The 3-star cooking challenge” aka a series of pitching sessions will also be taking place during the event. Entrepreneurs will pitch startups in several topical sessions: Green Energy, Life Science, eHealth, Mobility, Software, New Materials, Food and Agritech, and Industry 4.0. In addition to that, the startups will receive pitch training from José A. Martinez, the country manager of GAC Group in Spain and SME Instrument coach. The best pitches per pitching session will repeat their pitches in front of a bigger audience, which will vote for the overall winner.
Another pitching session—this time for scale-ups—set to take place in the morning of the first day of the event is conducted by the European Business Angel Network (EBAN). The winner of this session will get exposure on EBAN’s communication channels, as well as a free ticket and an opportunity to pitch at the network’s Winter Summit in Luxembourg in October.
With a menu this long and varied, this year’s EIC Innovators’ Summit looks like the right place to be for European startup ecosystem players of all kinds and levels.
Interested in joining? Contact EASME by emailing EASME-SME-HELPDESK@ec.europa.eu.