Between 2014 and 2021, EIT’s Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) has supported close to 2500 start-ups, scale-ups, and spin-offs in European countries where the pace of innovation is considered less speedy.
Support of ventures under the scheme continues to grow at an impressive rate. The EIT Community notes an average increase of around 40% in the number of ventures that it supports in RIS regions each year.
EIT RIS helps transform innovative ideas into marketable products and create positive socioeconomic change. The programme was launched in 2014 to advance the innovation performance of countries in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe classed as moderate and emerging innovators according to the European Innovation Scoreboard. It also aims to minimise innovation disparities among the regions of the European Union and its neighbourhood.
The scheme has been applied to several industries, including healthcare, to nurture entrepreneurial talents and support new and early-stage ideas. It supports the entire value chain – from student to entrepreneur, from concept to product, and from lab to customer. The scheme also helps scale-up successful start-ups, build innovation consortia, and launch products and solutions that can tackle some of the most pressing global challenges.
Since its launch, the EIT RIS has helped to expand innovation-fostering activities across Europe, transforming innovation ecosystems in countries and regions where support is needed the most. By the end of 2021, the EIT Community had successfully set up 90 EIT RIS Hubs in all EU Member States and beyond. Since 2014, the EIT Community has channelled EUR 613 million, or 31.5% of the total EIT grant, to entities in countries eligible for the EIT RIS. During this same period, the EIT-supported start-up ecosystem based in the countries eligible for the EIT RIS attracted more than EUR 2.4 billion in investment. The EIT Community involved more than 9000 participants in different EIT RIS programmes.
EIT Health InnoStars coordinates the healthcare efforts of EIT RIS. We have helped 13 regions to improve their ecosystems, from Kaunas and Riga, through to Zagreb, Ljubljana, Athens, Evora, Porto and Palermo. In practice, from 2019 to date, we supported over 55 new consortia and 300 start-ups from biotech, MedTech and digital health. We trained over 2000 professionals in fields such as artificial intelligence, business models and market validation and helped regional leaders design innovation strategies and network on the pan-EU level.
The future of Europe lies in solid regional ecosystems, which – when highly connected – can generate unicorns and prospering European-made innovations. EIT’s work has been instrumental in driving a pan-EU trend towards more connected regions, industries, and innovators – the theme of our upcoming policy event in Warsaw, part of INNOVEIT Weeks, organised by EIT.
Between September and October 2022, EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will host various events in 12 different locations across Europe to showcase the impact of the largest innovation community in Europe. On 22 September 2022, INNOVEIT Warsaw: Connecting Regions, Industries, and Innovators, will explore how we can continue to develop innovative and resilient regions in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and contribute to the European Innovation Agenda.