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Archive for ‘Promoting Enterprise News’

EIC Investor Day: Empowering women innovators

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Companies that have women in leading positions consistently perform better than companies that don’t. However, innovative, techy and digital companies still excruciatingly lack women entrepreneurs. On 4 April, 33 innovative companies led by women and funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot met for an EIC Investor Day in Brussels to promote the access of women entrepreneurs to finance. In addition to panel discussions with investors and plenty of networking, 12 innovative companies got to pitch in front of investors. In addition, European Commissioner for Innovation Carlos Moedas announced the 13 finalists for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019, two of which are funded by the EIC. 

Only 30% of enterpreneurs in Europe are women. “No matter what way you look at it, it poses a problem. Socially, yes, of course, this is a recipe for an unequal society. But how about economically? We know that start-ups founded or co-founded by women generate higher revenues than those by men, and we are missing out”, commented Commissioner Moedas. One of the EU’s initiatives to encourage women to innovate and start their companies by promoting positive role-models is the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019. The Commissioner announced the 13 finalists for the 2019 prize. Among the finalists are two women co-founders from the EIC backed companies: Nuria Espallargas, a co-founder of Seram Coatings, and Cécile Réal, co-founder and CTO of Endodiag.

Ambassador Luminita Odobescu, Permanent Representative of Romania to the European Union and a mother of two, stressed the importance of educating young boys towards a goal of gender balance. “Political actors and business support organisations need to support women entrepreneurs in access to credit, cut red tape and mainstream gender perspective in all EU policies”.

Gitte Pederson – a co-founder of Genomic Expression, emphasised the significance of networks among entrepreneurs: “It is important that women connect and help each other. You are trained so well in that first stage of the relationship, but since your investors are usually your partners, there is the whole other side to it which is all about getting to know each other”.

The event hosted 17 investors from the private sector and investors from the European Investment Bank.

The EIC Corporate Days link entrepreneurs with international companies to engage in open innovation towards new products, pilot projects and new business models. Since 2017, more than 400 companies funded under the SME InstrumentFast Track to Innovation and FET Open have participated in matchmaking events with large corporates across Europe.

Read the original article on the EASME website here.

EIC pilot and MAN drive the future for sustainable mobility and smart logistics

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18 companies backed by the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and working in the fields of electric mobility, connected transportation, and intelligent supply chains explored business opportunities with MAN Truck & Bus on 19 March in Munich, Germany.

85 companies applied to take part in a business acceleration event with MAN Truck & Bus in Munich, 18 of which were selected to present their ideas in front of 150 leading MAN employees and Group partners. The participants, hailing from 12 different countries, showcased ideas, prototypes, and products ranging from electric lorries to cargo bikes.

Florian Stehbeck, Digital Innovation Manager and responsible for startup collaboration at MAN Truck & Bus, talked about the motivations behind the event: “We’re looking partners who are active in our core businesses. The production of hardware components, sales applications and engineering tools. But we’re also looking for “out of the box” approaches and new challenges.” Other MAN representatives also expressed the ambition to continue shaping the mobility and logistics industry by partnering with European entrepreneurs who share the vision of a more sustainable mobility future.

To learn more about the companies in attendance and their funded projects, visit the EASME data hub:
BestmileCambrian IntelligenceFastree3DFollow InspirationInsplorionKG ProtechKINELinknovate,  MaxitexMazaroMillor Energy SolutionsNerve Smart SystemsNextsenseOneWattONOPagitaStratio Automotive and Valuechain.

The EIC Corporate Days link entrepreneurs with international companies to engage in open innovation towards new products, pilot projects and new business models. Since 2017, more than 400 companies funded under the SME Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation and FET Open have participated in matchmaking events with large corporates across Europe.

To learn more about the EIC Corporate Days, read the 2018 report, and to apply for future opportunities, have look at the event page.

Read the original article on the EASME website here.

Five Good Reasons To Boost Your Business with Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs

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SMEs represent 99% of businesses in Europe and contribute to 60% of European private sector employment, creating 85% of new jobs. Enabling them to benefit even more from the Single Market is a priority for the European Commission. And in this light, it has been already 10 years since the European Union-funded program Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs was launched as an initiative of the European Parliament. As a critical action of the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the program aims to reignite entrepreneurial spirit in Europe, support new businesses in crucial phases of their lifecycle and help them to grow.

In essence, Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border programme facilitating the exchange of entrepreneurial and management experience. The exchange is implemented by a stay of a newly established or potential entrepreneur with a well-experienced entrepreneur running a small or medium-sized enterprise in another country.

The two main actors are 1. The New Entrepreneurs (NE), understood both as nascent entrepreneurs, who are firmly planning to start their own business and entrepreneurs who have recently launched their own business with less than three years of operability and 2. The Host Entrepreneurs (HE) or successful and experienced entrepreneurs directly involved in entrepreneurship at SME level with more than 3 years of entrepreneurial experience.

The exchange is facilitated by national Intermediary Organisations (IOs) that have been officially appointed to establish contacts between NEs and HEs and to ensure successful relationships between them. They exist to provide with the perfect match and help both parts with everything related to promotion, information, induction, validation or improvement of applications, arranging contacts, issuing contracts, logistical support, or simple advice and guidance through the process.

Seems like a good deal,  right? But if you still need a thought, get convinced by these five additional excellent reasons to boost your business with Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.

1. It brings fresh air to your business

3. It doesn’t entail any extra cost

4. It is flexible

5. It is easy

Numbers speak for themselves! With more than 21,000 applications and 7000 established relationships set up, 61% of new entrepreneurs and 54% of host entrepreneurs have reported an increased turnover after participating in the programme. No magic wands, just hard work, and brilliant ideas! Ready?

Read the full original article on Forbes

The new call for energy efficiency is now open!

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Around €112 million of EU funding is now available for energy efficiency research, innovation and market uptake. The deadline for applications is 3 September 2019.

On 12 March the 2019 call for proposals for the Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy topics of the Horizon 2020 EU funding programme was launched. The funding is available for proposals submitted under 16 topics addressing 5 main areas: buildings, industry, finance, public authorities and policy support and consumer and services.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 3 September 2019. The call is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of the European Commission. (EASME). All proposals for Horizon 2020 funding are submitted through the EU’s Funding and Tender Opportunities portal.

The specific funding topics were presented at the Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency Info Day on 22 January 2019, and video recordings as well as the presentation slides are available for viewing. The Info Day also featured presentations on the EU policy context and guidance from EASME on how to submit an excellent proposal.

Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency is also on Twitter.

Watch the video and discover the benefits of H2020 programme:

Read the original article on the EASME website here

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) also recognise projects working towards sustainability, clean energy and environmental consciousness through the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category. Look through previous tetsimonials here on the News Portal and don’t hesitate to contact your EEPA National Coordinator for more information on this category and how to apply! 

Launch of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition: €150,000 for three innovations reducing plastic waste

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On 28 February 2019, at an event in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the European Commission launched the 2019 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition. Under the theme Challenging Plastic Waste, this year’s edition is looking for ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste by targeting systemic change at the local, national and European level. Independent Judges will determine the three projects that will each be awarded €50,000 in October 2019.

We collect more than 27 million tons of plastic waste in Europe per year. Whilst addressing plastic waste is a big challenge, it is also an opportunity to innovate and create new solutions. That is why this year we are calling for ideas to tackle this societal issue, laying the foundations for new business models, new forms of cooperation and stimulating new ways of doing things for a better, cleaner and more sustainable future for all,” said Slawomir Tokarski, Director in charge of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the European Commission.

The European Commission has already implemented several measures, as part of a determined action to turn the challenge of plastic waste into a positive drive for the future of Europe. This includes the first-ever Europe-wide Plastics Strategy, the launch of the Circular Plastics Alliance as well as a voluntary pledges campaign. With these measures, the Commission is laying the grounds for a transition towards a more circular economy, fostering growth and innovation.

 The aim of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition is to support ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste and littering through changing and improving existing processes or through introducing brand-new products and initiatives. These innovations need to reduce the amount of plastic waste created or encourage and enable the greater re-use and recycling of plastic waste. Solutions should be scalable and target change at the systemic level and be rooted in one of the following areas:

  • Reducing the consumption of single use plastic products;
  • Recycling, reusing, and upcycling existing plastic waste;
  • Dealing with accumulated plastic waste in landfills and the environment;
  • Changing consumer behaviours, or retail and wider business practices;
  • Implementing alternative business models and optimising supply chains;
  • Introducing new materials fit for a circular economy or that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics.

The European Social Innovation Competition is seeking ideas from social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, businesses, doers, makers and change creators – anyone who has an innovative and creative idea for turning the tide on plastic waste.

The 2019 edition of the Competition was launched in Ljubljana, a sustainability pioneer, former European Green Capital and winner of the 2018 Sustainability category in the European Capital of Smart Tourism Awards. This zero waste city collects 68% of its waste separately (more than any other European capital). Furthermore, two recent winners of the Competition are from Slovenia, demonstrating a burgeoning social innovation ecosystem in the country. Ljubljana was therefore a natural choice to host this year’s Launch Event for the 2019 Competition.

At the Launch Event attendees had the opportunity to learn about the Competition and hear from one of last year’s winners, HeritageLab, regarding their experience. In addition, attendees were able to gain insights from a discussion panel in which some of this year’s Judges discussed the issue of plastic waste, as well as take part in a mini hackathon thinking up solutions to the plastics problem. The event closed with an exhibition titled “Toasted Furniture” from Slovenian artists Nuša Jelenec and Nina Mršnik. It showcased the artists’ innovative method of actually toasting plastic waste, transforming it into beautiful and colourful panels, which are then used as the building blocks for furniture and lighting. This offered a fantastic and creative example of Challenging Plastic Waste.

Applications are open until Thursday 4 April noon CET. For full details visit: eusic.challenges.org

Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries. Now in its 7th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe. This year, the focus is: Challenging Plastic Waste.

EU Social Innovation Competition 2019

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The EU Social Innovation Competition is back for a 2019 edition, and will kick off on 28 February 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The competition was set up by the European Commission in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, who was chairman of the Social Innovation Exchange. The Social Innovation Exchange is a global community that encompasses several types of stakeholders including NGOs, global firms, academics and public agencies, working together to tackle modern societal challenges such as ageing, climate change and public sector services such as healthcare. Diogo also launched several initiatives, including the Entrepreneurs Academy, before his passing in July 2011.

The launch event in Ljubljana will officially open the 2019 edition and bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and policy makers to discuss and share ideas on social innovation. The event will see the unveiling of the 2019 theme and mark the official entry start date. At the event, participants will have the chance to meet and listen to previous competition winners and innovation experts, as well as explore how Ljubljana became the first European zero waste capital. Participants will also take part in group activities related to the 2019 competition theme.

To round up the event, there will be a ‘Toasted Furniture’ art exhibition focused on circular economy by Nuša Jelenec and Nina Mršnik.

Register for the launch event here and don’t hesitate to express your interest in the 2019 competition and learn more here.

Follow the latest event updates on Twitter via @EUSocialInnov and make sure to follow #diogochallenge.

EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019

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From 17-21 June 2019, the EU Sustainable Energy Week will be back for its 4th edition. The Week will take place in Brussels and is the biggest European event dedicated to efficient energy and renewables. The theme for 2019 is “Shaping Europe’s energy future” and will cover: the Policy Conference, Networking Village, EUSEW Awards, and the Energy Days.

The awards and Policy Conference applications have now closed, but there is still time to sign up for the 2019 Networking Village and to register a local 2019 Energy Day event.

The Networking Village will be a chance to meet and interact with stakeholders in sustainable energy innovation and will be hosted in the European Commission’s Charlemagne building and the Residence Palace from 18 to 20 June 2019. Find out more about the different elements of the Networking Village here and sign up to host a networking activity before 25 March 2019.

The Energy Days take place throughout May and June and collect together events that promote and focus on clean energy transition. Energy Day events are a chance for both citizens and businesses to learn about clean energy and sustainability, and to discover how it can impact and be incorporated into their daily activities and practices. Register your event as soon as possible and find out more about the Energy Days right here.

Get involved on social media with @euenergyweek and #EUSEW19, and become part of the EU Sustainable Energy Community for the latest updates.

Find out more about EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019 on the EASME website.

Investor Day for Women in Tech

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The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot of the European Commission is hosting an exclusive pitching event for Women in Tech. The event will take place on 4 April 2019 in Brussels, and will be an opportunity to meet female entrepreneurs and top tier European investors, as well as discuss the challenges facing female entrepreneurs and how to address the financing gap. 

By attending this EIC Investor Day, you will have a chance to:

• Pitch your technology and business case to a renowned jury of European investors;
• Be involved in discussions about the financing gap for women entrepreneurs;
• Network with fellow EIC pilot funded SMEs and engage directly with top European investors.

Who can apply?

The application is only open for small and medium-sized enterprises funded by the EIC pilot program and with the following criteria:
• Female founder or CEO; and/or
• A management team structure well represented by women; and/or
• Development of an innovative solution with a strong gender dimension.

Deadline for applications: 20 February 2019. Apply here.

For more information on the event and applications, read the original article on the EASME website.

Meet 20 pioneers transforming the future of healthcare

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On 28 and 29 November 2018, the European Innovation Council (EIC) and Medtronic, a leader in the world of medical technology, gathered 20 companies to discuss the transformation of healthcare and promote business partnerships.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been playing an increasingly crucial role in the development of new products in the medical device industry. Quick adaptability, the capacity to identify market niches and intrinsic innovative potential, have turned these companies into relevant players in the healthcare industry worldwide.

However, at the stage when SMEs are growing, they need considerable financial resources to continue investments in product development and clinical trials, in order to bring their products to market faster. To tackle these challenges the EIC pilot and Medtronic promoted a matchmaking and business acceleration event in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, home of Medtronic’s EMEA headquarters.

20 companies backed by the EIC pilot took the stage and shared their innovative health care solutions for medical devices and therapies, mobile and remote health, patient engagement, diagnostics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, data analytics and robotics.

At the event, we talked to Ger Hill, Senior Director Global Innovation at Medtronic, about Medtronic’s innovation strategy and learned that “For a company like Medtronic who has currently reached around 30B$ in revenue, maintaining revenue growth requires us to draw on innovation not only from our substantial organic internal innovation, but also from external partners. There are a lot of smart people who don’t work at Medtronic, and we want to collaborate with them to turn their ideas and concepts into products and solutions for patients and Medtronic.”

We also spoke with Charity Kufaas, Vice President, Business Development & Strategy EMEA at Medtronic, who shared her view on the quality of the companies attending: “The technologies of the companies I’ve seen today are truly innovative and address unmet needs. There were a number that we found really interesting and which I’m sure we’ll follow up after the event.”

Sourced from EASME.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

Business Generator becomes Navigator Scale-up

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Back in 2017, the project “Business Generator” from Sweden, won the EEPA Category “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” for their work in identifying the gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs.

After initial struggles to keep the Business Generator going after the EEPA competition, this project, and specifically coordinator Anette Rhudin, are back with a brand new and improved ‘Navigator Scale-up’. The Navigator serves as a support for SMEs that need to have a board under Swedish law. Due to financial constraints it is normally a challenge for SMEs and entrepreneurs to have an external board not made up of family and friends, and thus miss the chance, to have that input, that the right matched, external competence can give. Having a competent board can help avoid bankruptcy, develop necessary company procedures and aid in the overall management of the SME.

Through the Navigator SMEs can be matched with externals that serve as a board or ‘navigators’, without taking away control from the SME. The Navigator is a particularly good option for SMEs looking to scale up, as the externals are there to coach, ask critical questions and offer guidance based on their extensive experience. Through their experience, external board members are able to make SMEs aware of ‘hazards’ and guide them so as to avoid expensive failures.

Positive changes can only happen in a safe environment, which is why a Navigator’s primary task is help the entrepreneur navigate a changeable environment and give them enough control to feel safe and be able to scale up their company. One of the crucial success factors in the Business Generator project was that the four external navigator members had all gone on their own scalable business journeys. Being able to understand the current entrepreneur’s experience enables externals to truly coach and give the best advice to the SME they are assisting.

The Navigator has already been helping several SMEs, specifically OptiPack, an SME in a typical small Swedish village which started last year. Optipack began with four young people who had no experience of owning a company and who required a bank loan to get started. In order to qualify for a loan they needed an external board with experienced members, which is where Business Navigator came in to help. After being assigned a Navigator team they began to advance, thanks to the collective experience of their external board members who between them are experienced businesspeople and own large international companies.

Thanks to help from their Navigator, Optipack were able to invest EUR 2 428 882 in their latest product and continue working and developing.

Optipak are a successful example of what a Navigator can do for an SME, and we hope to keep coming back with more success stories as the Business Navigator gets bigger and spreads its message, support and advocacy for SMEs.

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