25th September 2020
What did you do over the weekend? Well, we did something cool: we ran the first online mini-Ignition event as a collaboration of Commercialization Reactor and six EIT Communities in the framework of the EIT Jumpstarter programme. During the past two days, scientific teams worked together with a pool of young entrepreneurs to find partners for a joint venture.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its thematic Communities work towards increasing the competitiveness of the EU by bringing innovative technology solutions from the lab to the market, creating new ventures and closing the skill gap between the developed and more progressing regions of Europe. We all know that jobs creation and economic development is even more accentual in the post-COVID19 period.
Sounds nice, but how do we do it in practice?
Each year, we screen several hundreds of technology-based projects from across the Central-Eastern and South-European region to find the most innovative ones with good potential for commercialization. EIT Jumpstarter is an award-winning pre-accelerator programme targeting research teams coming from six thematic societal areas, namely: healthcare, agri-food, minerals and raw materials, green energy, manufacturing, and urban mobility. We teach our teams how to design their first business model, help them find out who their very first customers shall be and how they can get financing to move forward their venture in the critical early period. Their journey is accompanied by industry experts and mentors from the EIT Communities, who prepare them to start their company by the end of the programme.
What happens if the scientists feel more comfortable within the walls of the lab?
Some idea-holders already apply to the programme with a team covering all functions they will need in their future start-ups. However, in other cases, the innovative product idea is presented by the researchers working on the project, who still lack important functions in their team. Such teams have a vision to commercialize their project, but during the Jumpstarter education they find out that they feel more comfortable within their laboratory than developing their own entrepreneurial skills.
”It is important to understand the value of having an entrepreneur on the start-up team, it takes an entire person to bring the idea to the market. The Reactor helps both entrepreneurs and researchers – both are doing what they are passionate for – to stay on the safe side not just in the beginning of the journey but throughout the whole life of a startup” says Nikolai Adamovich, CEO of Commercialization Reactor.
This is why we teamed up with Commercialization Reactor, a science commercialization platform based in Latvia, to give those scientists the opportunity, if they feel more comfortable staying as researchers in the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) function and do not intend to take over the business development part as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the future start-up.
This is the first time we ran this collaboration with the Reactor. They are very focused on identifying those project teams which need this extra push to create new businesses in our part of Europe.
Start-ups are born here
In order to support the creation of new businesses, the first online mini-Ignition event took place on 11–12 September 2020. This is where the selected scientific teams from the Jumpstarter programme meet a pool of entrepreneurs from Commercialization Reactor and work together to identify which parts of their technology are unique and what are the potential applications. If there is chemistry between the scientists and the entrepreneurs and they decide to launch their start-up, a whole new world of opportunities open up, supporting them through the early critical stages of their venture development.
About EIT Jumpstarter
EIT Jumpstarter is run by EIT Health, EIT RawMaterials, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing, EIT Urban Mobility and EIT InnoEnergy. Meet the technology-based start-ups of the future online at the next EIT Jumpstarter Grand Final at the end of November.
About the author:
Dóra Marosvölgyi is a project manager at EIT Health, the community of leading health innovators backed by the European Union, consisting of top companies, universities, research and development centres as well as hospitals and institutes. She leads EIT Jumpstarter and mentors early-stage healthcare start-ups.