Tag ‘Promoting SMEs’
With a good idea, some investment and hard work, start-ups in the health and life sciences fields can get started in their local market. But if these firms are going to achieve meaningful growth, and if their innovations are going to benefit a wider audience, they will have to go abroad – which means understanding new regulations, a different culture and an unknown set of market realities.
This is where Product/Market Fit comes in. An EIT Health Accelerator programme, Product/Market Fit helps start-ups that have already established themselves in one market and are ready to expand beyond their borders. The support this programme offers has an estimated market value of EUR 25 000, but the opportunities it provides can be worth much more than that.
“Based on our experience in the Accelerator, grownup start-ups start needing support with going to other markets,” according to Katrien Van Gucht, a Co-Coordinator of the EIT Health Accelerator Strategy and Digital Health Program Manager at EIT Health partner IMEC. “We wanted to get in that sweet spot, right when they are ready to expand,’ said Johnny Waterschoot, who project manages European open calls for IMEC. “We are looking for companies that are ready to go beyond their borders, but lack the necessary funding to do just that. This programme will help them decide what markets to address next.”
According to Van Gucht, companies that are mature enough to qualify for this programme have typically raised about EUR 500 000 in investment and generally consist of two or three people. She said the companies obtain great value from the market testing that the programme can do. “The trial and error ratio of going out and seeing for themselves if they can make it in another market, we reduce this a great deal for them. They will see if they still need some work before they start growing in that market. Or the outcome could be that this market is not for them.”
If the entrepreneurs have the passion and drive to expand, the Product/Market Fit programme can provide them with many of the other tools they need.
Interested in finding out how to apply? Read more about the process here.
For more information: https://eit.europa.eu
We originally set up RETTRO to provide complex IT services to large companies. With the help of ESF and JAPTI research funding, we have since diversified into developing web-based products and services applicable for mobile devices. RETTRO’s latest product is a mobile application called Notiﬂy. Notiﬂy is a revolutionary new system of conveying content through sound code, undetectable by a human ear. FLY messages are broadcast by TV and radio stations, event and concert managers, organisations, restaurants, shops etc. to consumers who want additional information related to the programme they are watching; the shows they are attending; the shops they are visiting. Looking ahead, the challenges for RETTRO are to continue to create new innovative products and access new markets.
Start ups and small firms in general would most benefit from a tax regime that encourages investment in R&D and from more ﬂexible employment rules.
“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we create jobs, develop the economy, bring new ideas, discover new businesses and boost the local community.”
Hero(es): Honest and fair people
Start up capital: Savings and ESF/JAPTI investment
Growth rate p.a: 33%
Can you code? Yes
Education / Training: Mathematics
Product / Service: Marketing/retail applications
I started Datamolino because I wanted small businesses to have the same access to technology as large ones. Datamolino is a platform for accountants, that processes invoices and receipts sent in any format and exports the extracted data into any accounting software thereby saving time and money. The growth potential for our platform is huge with some 16 billion ‘unstructured’ invoices in Europe alone. We benefited hugely from being part of Telefonica’s Wayra acceleration programme that helped us get to market quickly and gave us access to a large customer base.
That ecosystem of entrepreneurs, a skilled workforce and investors are essential to the growth of the economy and government needs to ensure that all the conditions are in place for such ecosystems to thrive.
“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we drive innovation, creating products that add value through material benefits, savings or unique experiences.”
Hero(es): Nelson Mandela
Start up capital: Investors and acceleration programme (Wayra)
Can you code? No
Education / Training: Lawyer
Product / Service: Accountancy software
I set up Fröjd because I felt strongly that there was a better way of conducting business – a way that would benefit both clients and employees. Fröjd creates e-commerce solutions, websites, campaign sites and mobile applications that support our customers in achieving their objectives. Our vision is to be “The Web Agency of the Future”, an ongoing challenge that means we must stay curious, alert and ahead of market trends. This gives us valuable insights and new business areas to explore, and keeps us on our toes. I believe I am an entrepreneur at heart, regardless of what the digital era has given us, but I believe the dynamics of the industry have helped me grow faster.
My shopping list for further improvements in enterprise promotion would be: subsidise broadband and computers to minimise socio-economic gaps; add programming to the school curriculum; establish more accelerator programmes; and free Wi-Fi in public areas.
“Entrepreneurs like me are important to society because we are driven by change and progress, to find solutions to everyday problems and long-term challenges.”
Hero(es): Astrid Lindgren
Can you code? No
Education / Training: Digital communications
Product / Service: Digital communications
I founded MikroElecktronica ten years ago because I wanted to provide software and hardware tools that would save engineers time. We offer entire development tool chains for all major microcontroller architectures that are easy to use and offer complete solutions, unlike many other products on the market today. Even though electronics predated the internet, it would have been much harder for me to set up and grow MikroElektronika without it. In fact, I believe that starting and growing a business takes just 5% of the effort required before the web and digital technologies were available.
Entrepreneurs like me should be left alone by government to get on with what we are good at.
“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we prove that it can be done.”
Start up capital: Savings
Growth rate p.a: 30%
Mentor(s): No but wish I had
Can you code? Yes
Education / Training: Electronics
Product / Service: Engineering hardware and software
At Game Technologies, we strive to invent and create products that do not exist in the market. In the last few years, we have achieved this twice. Our lead product is the most technologically advanced game controller in the world called DICE+. The dice is used to play interactive board games on a tablet or computer. The dice itself is a tiny device (only 25 grams in weight) packed with 60 individual components, all of which are produced in the European Union. We are one of a few hundred companies that will receive an R&D grant this year from the EU.
If I were Minister for SMEs and start ups, I would consistently promote the gaming industry, especially at international trade fairs.
“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we create the most jobs, design numerous innovative products and inspire new businesses to develop more companies.”
Hero(es): My father
Start up capital: Own and private investor
Can you code? No
Education / Training: Engineering
Product / Service: Gaming
Each country participates in European SME Week in a way relevant to its own small and medium-sized enterprise community, so we interviewed Helena Moura, National Coordinator for Portugal, to find out more.
How does the Week work in Portugal? Which organisations are involved?
Since 2009, IAPMEI, the Portuguese Agency for SME and Innovation has run SME Week in Portugal. The organisation has helped different organisations work together to execute and promote all aspects of SME Week.
How do you promote European SME Week?
- We do a range of different things to promote SME Week in Portugal:
- IAPMEI included information about SME Week in the Enterprise Europe Network in Portugal newsletter and the Enterprise Europe Network reaching 28,000 subscribers.
- We announced SME Week at various conferences, seminars, meetings and sent personalised emails to a huge number of stakeholders.
- We also have a permanent info desk where people can find out more about SME Week
What did you learn from last year’s events?
In order to get the best results, we regularly carry out interim assessments to make sure that we are always learning, so we can improve throughout the process.
And finally, what impact does European SME Week have in Portugal?
SME Week plays a crucial role in the work we do to promote SMEs in Portugal. It encourages key stakeholders and entrepreneurs to engage with and support SMEs. Portugal is one of the most active countries in promoting entrepreneurship and small business.