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 Innovation Communities 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-Innovation Community interaction and acts as a gate-opener beyond the Innovation Community’s individual projects. It has initiated a number of activities in support of the Innovation Communities' and innovation hubs' entrepreneurship activities, notably the EIT Awards.

Preparing the entrepreneurs of the future

In each of the Innovation Communities' respective fields, innovation and entrepreneurship are strong vectors to overcome global societal challenges. Together with the Innovation Communities, 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 Innovation Communities offer, through their entrepreneurship programmes, 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 Innovation Community innovation funds.

The added value of the Innovation Communities stems from helping the entrepreneurs in one Member States to enter, through the network of innovation hubs 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 Innovation Communities 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 EIT Climate-KIC Market Accelerator, the EIT Digital Business Development Accelerator, the EIT InnoEnergy Highway®, EIT Health Accelerator, the EIT Raw Materials Start-up Booster and EIT Food Start-Up Club TheRisingFoodStars.

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