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InnoStars, RIS, Spain

Winners of the EIT Jumpstarter 2021 announced

3rd December 2021

Three finalists in the “Health” category were announced at the EIT Jumpstarter Grand Final, a pre-acceleration programme for rising stars start-ups from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe.

 Since 2017 EIT Jumpstarter has been scouting for high-potential ideas which can be transformed into successful businesses. Selected teams are equipped with the necessary business skills set, which helps them transfer their innovative solutions or product concepts from labs directly to the market. For the last five years, 570 teams have been trained.

„This has been a truly unique year in the life of EIT Jumpstarter, which celebrates its fifth edition: not only did we welcome participants from new regions but a new category, New European Bauhaus, has been added to the programme. These developments have made this highly competitive programme even richer. The fact that a record number of applications were received this year is proof that EIT Jumpstarter is a reference point for many. This gives us tremendous motivation to continue our work with even more impetus to boost innovation on progressing European regions”  said Dora Marosvolgyi, Cross-KIC Strategic Regional Innovations Director at EIT Health InnoStars.

This year, the applications spiked as there were seven categories opened: health, food, raw materials, energy, urban mobility, manufacturing, and the brand new category which responded to the European Commission initiative – New European Bauhaus (focused on sustainable and inclusive living). Almost 550 teams from 32 countries tried their hand, but only 42 received a chance to pitch in front of the jury of experts and compete for financial prizes – the best teams in each category won €10,000 – and access to the EIT Communities network. The “Health” was the most occupied category (ca. 30%).

The most promising health solutions came from Latvia, Portugal and Spain

Already in the semi-finals, we could observe that the highest number of teams come from Latvia, followed by Italy and Portugal (we have also identified some interesting trends arising in this part of Europe.) Finally, the 5th edition was won by BirgerMind (Latvia), which has proposed a non-invasive Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) that is designed to help fully paralysed patients communicate independently. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) patients can regain their ability to use e-mail and social networks to generate speech using brain-reading headwear. According to the team, the solution can eliminate unnecessary interventions from a technician or a caregiver. BirgerMind aims to deliver a dedicated user interface that is intuitive for patients with a locked-in state.

GOTech Antimicrobial (Portugal) won the second prize with SmartCap, an antimicrobial solution, which aims to fight healthcare infections. SmartCap is an integrated catheter cap with a light-activated sterilization rod that extends into the catheter hub, stopping bacterial infection. The SmartCap prototype is currently under development and before taking the product to the market, the team wants to continue product development and perform a clinical study.

Synflora (Spain), which came third, developed a solution that offers a safe and targeted therapy to treat acne vulgaris. The technology combines the precision medicine of biologics and gene therapy with the safety of probiotic treatments.

You can learn about the winners in all categories here.

About EIT Jumpstarter

EIT Jumpstarter was launched in 2017 to help innovators – coming from EU regions with moderate innovation capacity – transform their ideas into thriving businesses. 2021 was a year of important milestones in the life of EIT Jumpstarter: a record number of innovators applied to the programme, a new category (New European Bauhaus) – which focuses on sustainable living and inclusive living spaces – has been added to the existing six, and EIT Jumpstarter welcomed participants from the Western Balkans for the first time. EIT Jumpstarter is powered by EIT Health InnoStars and is co-organised by the Knowledge and Innovation Communities of EIT: EIT Health, EIT Raw Materials, EIT Food, EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Manufacturing, and EIT Urban Mobility. It has won the Best Association Training Initiative Award of the European Association Awards in 2019, and The Emerging Europe Awards’ Young Empowerment Initiative in 2020.

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