Europe needs more entrepreneurs
Creating more business and more jobs through fast-growing, innovative firms is one of the key objectives of the Innovation Union. A cornerstone of the EIT’s activity through the KICs is to support innovation in existing companies and also the creation of new business opportunities. The vital ingredients in fostering entrepreneurial activities are ensuring access to finance and support for enhancing business skills.
Majorities in the US, the European Union, and China associate themselves with attitudes often ascribed to entrepreneurs. Americans, however, are more likely than those in the European Union and China to see themselves as risk takers, competitive, and confident they can accomplish difficult tasks. (Gallup World, 2010)
In order to tackle this gap in entrepreneurial mindset, the EIT aims to create a more favourable environment in Europe for talent and entrepreneurship driven innovation to flourish. One of the challenges is to achieve a shift in the perception and recognition of entrepreneurs in Europe. This is why boosting and encouraging individuals and companies to embrace innovation and take it to the market are among the EIT’s top priorities. To this end, the EIT facilitates cross-learning meetings on entrepreneurship, provides platforms for cross-KIC interaction and acts as a gate-opener beyond the KICs’ individual projects. It has initiated a number of activities in support of the KICs’ and CLCs’ entrepreneurship activities, notably the EIT Awards as well as the EIT Roundtable of Entrepreneurs.
Preparing the entrepreneurs of the future
In each of the KICs’ respective fields, innovation and entrepreneurship are strong vectors to overcome global societal challenges. Together with the KICs, the EIT is placing a strong emphasis on developing the next generation of young entrepreneurs, encouraging and supporting individuals and companies to develop innovative ideas and take them to the market, thus contributing to a more innovative and competitive Europe.
All three KICs offer, through their entrepreneurship programme, a range of business support services that help entrepreneurs translate their ideas into successful businesses. These services focus on areas such as support for technology, market assessment, access to human resources, mentoring and, last but not least, seed and venture capital through specific KIC innovation funds.
The added value of the KICs stems from helping the entrepreneurs in one Member States to enter, through the network of co-location centres and contacts, into several Member States and develop a clear strategy towards the penetration of the European market, breaking the existing fragmentation around national markets and overcoming the entrepreneurs’ fear of going European at an early stage.
Business Development Key Features
- Fostering the development of new businesses
- Organising a European-wide specialised business support that is committed to finding the first customer for young ventures
- Accelerating time to market of innovations through demonstration actions, facilitating experience labs and demand-side measures
All three KICs also have the objective of decreasing the average time to market of innovations and they have established specific activities to fulfill this objective such as the Climate-KIC Market Accelerator, the EIT ICT Labs Business Development Accelerator and the KIC InnoEnergy Highway®.