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Tag ‘European Innovation Council’

Coronavirus: EU grants €314 million to innovative companies to combat the virus and support recovery

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The original press release is available in the Commission Press Corner.

The European Commission has awarded nearly €166 million, via the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot, to 36 companies to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, over €148 million will be granted to another 36 companies to contribute to the recovery plan for Europe, bringing the total investment from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, to €314 million in this round.

The selected 36 companies will work on pioneering projects, such as on expanding the production of bio-decontamination wipes, developing ventilation monitoring systems that provide first aiders with real-time feedback on the quality of the ventilation given to the patient, developing an antibody platform to treat severe cases of infection, and many more. Furthermore, 139 companies tackling the coronavirus that could not receive funding in this round due to budget limitations have received the newly introduced COVID-19 Seal of Excellence, in recognition of the value of their proposal and in order to help them attract support from other funding sources.

The additional 36 companies, set to support the recovery plan for Europe, will work across a multitude of sectors and projects, which include for example the development of stronger and taller wind turbine towers made from wood modules, with the potential to massively reduce wind energy costs, an organic fertiliser production system, and a blockchain-based solution for sustainable recycling practices of manufacturers. An additional 679 high quality proposals passed the EIC funding criteria and were awarded Seals of Excellence, but unfortunately could not be funded due to limited budget.

A record number of almost 4000 start-ups and small and medium businesses (SMEs) applied to the EIC Accelerator pilot in March, and over 1400 of the proposed innovations were relevant to the coronavirus outbreak. In light of this an extra €150 million was recently allocated to this funding round, bringing the combined total to over €314 million.

Check out other COVID-19 related news and updates here on the News Portal.

Innovation at the service of the EU Green Deal

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The original article can be found on the EASME website.

The European Innovation Council Accelerator pilot supports innovation that creates the markets of tomorrow and therefore has its part to play in bringing the European Green Deal to life. Here’s how the EIC supports innovators that deliver a climate-neutral circular economy on the ground, in a few numbers. 

The push towards a green economy has received new impetus under European Green Deal – the EU’s pledge to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world. This transition will largely be market-driven and will require many new technologies, processes, economic circuits to support the shift. From waste-sorting robots and more efficient production chains, to air-cleaning flower pots, cars that inhale their own fumes and smart energy devices, green innovations supported by the EIC Accelerator are making the transition towards a circular, low-carbon economy a reality. 

Young green companies at the forefront

The EIC supports over 1.100 green companies for over € 550 million in total. This represents almost 25% of all EIC-supported companies. Since the latest EIC Accelerator cut-off, companies can get equity in addition to their grant. So far, 14 green companies were offered equity for a preliminary total of € 36 million that will be negotiated on a case by case basis. 

Most green companies are young – almost half of them were founded between 2012 and 2017. A majority of 70% manufacture green technologies and products. 
Green innovators have attracted around € 730 million private investment after receiving their grant, which means that every 1€ invested in green companies by the EIC leveraged 1.72 € of private investment.

Most of the private investments were made in the energy, food and enterprise software industries. Five companies started floating on the stock market, mostly on Nasdaq First North, and eight companies were acquired by bigger players. 

Most of the funded companies are from Spain, Italy and the UK – as are most of the EIC-funded companies in general. However, most of the private investment rounds occurred in Germany, the UK and Croatia, which hosts a project that benefitted from a € 88 million investment in the clean tech electric car company Rimac Automobili by Huyndai and KIA. 

More support expected

More opportunities will soon be available for companies that support the European Green Deal through breakthrough innovations. 

one-off EIC Accelerator call for ‘green deal’ start-ups and SMEs is expected, whereby all applicants submitting for the 19 May 2020 cut-off will need to demonstrate how their innovation contributes to the goals of the European Green Deal. The 7 October 2020 cut-off for the EIC Accelerator Pilot will remain open to all innovations.
An advanced version of the amended EIC Work Programme is due to be released by the end of February, and the final version by the end of March, replacing plans for the year ahead in the current EIC Pilot Work Programme 2018 – 2020.

Discover all green innovations supported by the EIC Accelerator pilot in our datahub

EIC funded urban farming company Infarm raises € 88 million in series B

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EIC pilot-funded Infarm has raised €88 million from Atomico in a series B funding round. The company makes vertical urban farms where plants are grown efficiently and sustainably, directly at the point of sale. The vertical farms are modulable and contain a whole ecosystem for specific plants (water, temperature and lighting). Thanks to sensors, the performance of the farms are remotely controlled for optimal quality. Infamr received close to €2 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and raised €20 million in a series A round from Balderton. 

Infarm offers supermarkets monthly subscriptions to rent an indoor farming system alongside their optimising growing services, such as algorithms that determine the most efficient use of light, water and nutrients. They also use specific wavelengths to enhance the flavour of the plants they grow.

Infarm produce has already been used by Michelin star chefs in Germany, while their indoor systems have been installed in other restaurants and a Berlin supermarket, which allows the retailer to sell the produce grown directly to its customers.

At the same time, it eliminates the costs of importing salads or herbs from other parts of the world, greatly reducing the environmental impact.

Infarm’s technology is now being used in over 50 Berlin supermarkets and they are planning to expand to Paris, France, in August and then to London, UK, soon after. Their first farm in a French supermarket will also be their biggest one yet. Covering 100m2, it will produce five tonnes of herbs, allowing the retailer to become self-sufficient for this commodity.

Watch the video of Martin Weber, chief financial officer at Infarm explaining how SME Instrument was the launch of their success:

Read the original article on the EASME website.

EIC funding for another 374 innovative companies

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83 top-class innovators selected for funding to reach the market faster under the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot’s EIC Accelerator, previously known as SME Instrument Phase 2 and 291 companies will get funding under the Phase 1 of the programme. Companies under both phases will receive free coaching and business acceleration services to make the most of their funding.

Find out more about all the companies in the EASME datahub.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot will support 83 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 17 countries under the EIC Accelerator, previously known as SME Instrument Phase 2.

The total amount to be distributed between the SMEs working on 78 projects is € 148.7 million from the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. Each project will receive up to €2.5 million to finance innovation activities like demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up.  

The companies will also benefit from 12 days of free business coaching and acceleration services.

The projects selected include a new generation safe and environmentally-friendly light aircraft, an anti-bacterial textile for hospitals, a 3D audio software, motion planning technology for autonomous driving and a superbot for audio calls.

291 innovators selected for funding under EIC’s SME Instrument Phase1

The European Commission received 1765 proposals in total. Further to an evaluation on paper, 174 candidates pitched their innovations to a Jury of professional investors, entrepreneurs and business experts that evaluated the solidity of their project and selected the 78 innovations for funding.

Spanish SMEs were the most successful with 12 companies selected for funding. They were followed by 9 companies from Switzerland and 7 businesses from Ireland. Most selected companies are active in the field of health, ICT and engineering. 

A total of 291 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form 24 countries have been selected for funding under the latest round of the SME Instrument, in the so-called Phase 1 of the programme.

The companies will receive a total amount of €13.7 million to share between their projects to get their innovations faster on the market.

In this phase of the SME Instrument each project, 288 in total, will receive €50.000 to draft a business plan. Several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also get free coaching and business acceleration services.

Most companies selected for funding are in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), health and engineering. Most companies are based in Spain  with 42 companies selected for funding. THey were followed by 33 companies from Italy and 22 from Switzerland.

The European Commission received 2784 proposals for the 7 May cut-off. 

Read the original article on the EASME website.

EIC: 261 proposals seek funding under Fast Track to Innovation

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The European Commission received 261 proposals for Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) before the latest cut-off date on 25 May 2019.

FTI promotes close-to-the market innovation activities open to all types of participants. The programme offers € 3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners including mainly industrial participants.

FTI is fully bottom-up. As there are no set topics, proposals are classified according to the keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were engineering, health and ICT.

The proposals include participants from 28 countries, the largest number of proposals being submitted by Spanish, Italian and Dutch applicants.

Fast Track to innovation (FTI) is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and helps close-to-the-market innovations jointly developed by small companies and their industrial partners get on the market faster.

Results will be available in autumn 2019.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

European innovation in space – EU Space Programme

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Image copyright: GSA

In a vote on 17 April 2019, the European Parliament endorsed a provisional agreement reached by co-legislators on the EU Space Programme for the 2021-2027 budget period. The agreement passed by a large majority, with 560 votes in favour, 63 against and 32 abstentions.

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed the new EUR 16-billion EU Space Programme to help maintain and further enhance the EU’s leadership in space. The Commission’s proposal brings all existing and new space activities under the umbrella of a single programme and will foster a strong and innovative space industry in Europe.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, welcomed the vote. “Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and for Europe to pursue its strategic interests. We therefore need to ensure continuity and financial stability in our space activities,” she said.

Commissioner Bieńkowska also highlighted the importance of space for the European economy. “Europe’s space industry is the second largest in the world, and its space-enabled services fuel a steadily increasing 6-9% of our economy. The EU Space Programme will be key to keep this trend going,” she said.

The Commissioner cited Copernicus and Galileo as “two successful EU space programmes that already improve the lives of citizens and business in Europe and beyond,” adding that, with its vote, the European Parliament had sent a clear signal to the space sector that these flagship projects would continue to prosper and evolve towards new services.

“With the new Space Programme we also introduce new security-related space initiatives: space and situational awareness (SSA) and Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM). We will also put the European space sector in a better position to react to the ongoing changes the space sector is undergoing worldwide,” she said, adding: “In particular, we will support a European ‘New Space’ approach with innovative start-ups, reliable and cost-effective European launch solutions and increased European technological autonomy.”

“Space matters for Europe,” the Commissioner said.

For more information, read the full original article on the GSA website.

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.

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.

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