Accelerator, 2018

EIT events changed the lives of more than 200 innovative teams in 2018

22nd August 2018

€200 000 awarded and more to come in 2019

EIT (the European Institute of Innovation and Technology) changed the lives of the innovative teams who work on projects that will change our lives in the future. More than 200 teams applied to EIT Health, Raw Materials and Food-related Accelerator programmes.

The teams received more than € 200 000 grants in for their training programmes that support companies or innovative teams in launching their own businesses and guide them through the process of business development and foreign market entry and trainings.

EIT Health Raw Materials and Food-related Accelerator programme

Pictured above: Best-of-the-best: Winners of the EIT Grand Final 2018.  “Hopefully, one day, my research will go from the lab into the real world”

The goal of EIT Health is to boost innovation in Europe for start-ups that are eager to revolutionise the EU market. In 2018 more than twice as many teams applied for the programmes, compared to 2017. EIT Health plans to continue its programmes as the EIT JumpStarter, a very selective, competitive programme, opening doors towards European markets and connecting participants with the extensive Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) networks. EIT Health provides programmes for innovators in different stages of development; from early idea stage up to companies ready to enter foreign markets.

This year, 67 teams entered the Joint Business Ideas Competition, a pre-Accelerator programme by EIT Health, EIT Food and EIT Raw Materials, and participated in a day-day long bootcamp. They were teams with scientific backgrounds, but little or no business knowledge. During the programme, they learned basic entrepreneurial skills, learned about market segmentation, developed value proposition, finances and worked on their competitive advantage. At the end of the two-day intensive training, they prepared their very first pitch deck.

There were 21 teams selected to proceed to EIT Health’s individualised thematic education and mentoring programmes, namely five from health, six from food and ten from the raw materials sector, out of which: five were in the primary production of raw materials and five in the secondary production of raw materials.

Through the course of the individual mentoring programmes tailor-made for their needs, the teams improved their business plan, learned how to identify and find their potential customer, investor or partner. In November, at the Joint Grand Final, teams pitched in front of an international expert jury, where the 1st prizes in the food and health sector were: €10 000, the 2nd prizes were €7000 and the 3rd prizes were €5000. Winners in the primary and secondary production of raw materials were awarded by 1st prizes of €10 000, 2nd prizes of €5000 and the 3rd prizes of €2500 each.

Boosting innovative SMEs contribute to job creation which increases the competitiveness of Europe:

In early 2018, EIT Health opened calls in three different Accelerator programmes for grants in the value of €135 000 (in InnoStars Awards; European Health Catapult training and competition programme, and HeadStart Funding micro and small enterprises, spin-offs and start-ups with MVPs or prototypes). EIT Health’s Accelerator and training programmes support companies and help them in business development and foreign market entry by leveraging the outstanding innovation potential and market knowledge of its network of Europe’s top healthcare and pharma companies, life science universities and research institutions.

The winner of InnoStars Awards selected from more than 1000 applicants was a Lithuanian company, called Oxipit, who won €25 000 for product validation. Oxipit is applying artificial intelligence to medical imaging. They have developed a suit of tools for chest X-rays, by covering virtually all pathologies and generating reports as if written by a radiologist. HeadStart Funding, which was created to bring companies to an investment-ready stage, awarded two first prizes in the InnoStars region of €12 000 each, for the Italian team, called HeartWatch and the Latvian team, Koatum. HeartWatch is a SaaS solution which provides smart alarms to the closest caregiver for better patient safety.

It uses a proprietary combination of advanced computer vision and intelligent machine learning analytics to keep otherwise unmonitored patients at check, relying on common optical sensors. Koatum is a medtech company, offering customisable bioactive solutions to prevent inflammation and accelerate bone integration for a faster, painless recovery.

The European Health Catapult aims to support the best-of-the-best start-ups in Digital Health, Medtech, and Biotech in Europe. Following coaching, 42 regional winners went to the semifinals competitions: the Biotech contest in Leuven, Netherlands; Medtech in Grenoble, France; and Digital Health in Erlangen, Germany. They were judged based on the market readiness and anticipated impact of their healthcare innovations, and the most promising 22 start-ups were invited to compete in the finals during the 4-5 December 2018 EIT Health Summit in Lodz, Poland, where the top three were awarded in each category.

“We are proud that start-ups from the InnoStars region won a prize in each category of this selective European competition” – said Balázs Fürjes, Managing Director of EIT Health InnoStars. SyNoesis, a start-up developing a cure for Parkinson’s Disease won the first prize in the Biotech category, NeuroPsyAI – artificial intelligence for earlier identification of signs of neurodegenerative illnesses won second prize in Digital Health; and Hydrustent – a start-up creating biodegradable, anti-bacterial and tailor-made stents received the third prize in the Medtech category.

In 2019 EIT Health is fine-tuning and extending its programmes:

In 2019 EIT Health will continue its cooperation with EIT Food and EIT RawMaterials in the EIT JumpStarter programme, a very selective and competitive programme focusing on business skills development, which opens doors towards European markets and connects participants with the extensive KIC networks. Around 90 teams will be invited from the three thematic sectors to enter the programme (30-Health, 30-Food, 30-RawMaterials) and the best 18 teams will go to the finals (six from each thematic category) and compete to win money prizes of up to: €10 000.

The JumpStarter is perfect for teams with innovative business ideas, wanting to develop their business skills and preapre to launch their start-ups at the end of the programme. Calls will open up early next year. In Innostars Awards, best practices, which are collected and used during the year, will be the conceptual base of the stages of 2019 programmes. EIT Health would like to continuously invite start-ups with prototypes or products and legal entities to the programme with the aim to prepare them for market entry.

The call for this programme will be announced until 28 February, and after the selection process, the selected applicants will be prepared during two bootcamp sessions and a series of professional trainings, during the year for the final competition which will be organised in November. Start-ups will be prepared by academic and industrial experts not only for a successful participation in the competition and the ability to step up to the next possible stage of the EIT Health start-up journey, but also for a successful market entry.

The other stages of the journey will also continue in 2019 with the aim of reducing the time-to-market of the start-ups (as in the case of the HeadStart competition), and supporting the scale-up of mature start-ups (as in case of the Catapult competition).

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