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EIT Community to step up support to European innovators in 2018

EIT: more support for innovators in 2018

Decision taken by EIT Governing Board to provide unprecedented funding to deliver entrepreneurship and innovation.

In 2018, the EIT Governing Board will allocate EUR 400 million to the EIT's six Innovation Communities. As an integral part of Horizon 2020, the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, the EIT’s investment will be used to bring together education, research and business to boost innovation and help innovators and entrepreneurs across Europe to turn their best ideas into products and services that address the needs of citizens. This is crucial to not only fulfilling the mission of the EIT, but most importantly, to delivering the jobs and sustainable economic growth opportunities across Europe.

Horizon 2020 has nearly EUR 80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). Of this, the EIT has a budget of EUR 2.4 billion for the same period.

The EIT’s six Innovation Communities have thus far supported more than 2 000 business ideas, start-ups and scale ups helping to create more than 6 000 jobs. In 2016 alone, EIT-supported start-ups attracted more than 150 million euro in external investment, and by 2020, this figure is expected to reach EUR 600 million. To date, over 1 200 people have graduated from EIT educational programmes; at this rate, more than 5 000 will have graduated by 2020.

Peter Olesen, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, said: 'This investment in our Innovation Communities reflects the confidence shown in the EIT through the recent Mid-term Evaluation. The EIT Community is delivering solutions to societal challenges and is now clearly showing its results and impact. There has never been a better time to be part of the EIT Community.'

The EIT Community will scale and grow the activities of its six Innovation Communities, a unique ecosystem that has grown to become the largest Innovation Community in Europe. These activities include Europe-wide accelerator programmes, entrepreneurial educational programmes, innovation-driven research projects, and the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme, our outreach scheme that is helping to bring regions that are modest and moderate innovators to excellence through sharing good practice and experience emerging from EIT Community activities.

In 2018, it is expected that the EIT Community will provide support to more than 750 start-ups, see more than 990 students graduate from its Masters and PhD programmes, have its start-ups attract almost EUR 150 million in external funding, and launch more than 300 products and services on the market.

Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director, said: 'The EIT’s investment in our Innovation Communities is one key aspect of providing tailor made support to European innovators. This is not only an investment into the education of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, but also helps Europe to take the lead in solving major societal challenges. The EIT model has demonstrated that it works; this funding will strengthen our Innovation Communities in their efforts to bring systemic change to society and positively transform the world in which we live.'

EIT Community programmes at a glance

EIT InnoEnergy has developed the InnoEnergy Highway™, an accelerator that helps new start-ups and entrepreneurs. In education, they offer seven distinct EIT labelled Master’s programmes. All address key areas of the sustainable energy mix, all develop highly valued, in-demand knowledge and skills, and all are directly relevant to the needs of a rapidly changing energy sector. They also offer a PhD school that enables doctoral candidates to complement their research with essential entrepreneurial, innovation, business and personal skills.

The EIT Digital Accelerator supports European digital ventures to scale up their business in Europe and beyond; its goal is to accelerate the growth of promising digital technology start-ups and scale-ups by helping them secure target customers and raise capital. The EIT Digital Academy is the European education leader in providing online "blended" Innovation and Entrepreneurship education. The Academy delivers a unique blend of the best of technical excellence and entrepreneurial skills and mind-set to digital engineers and entrepreneurs at all stages of their careers.

The EIT Climate-KIC 18-month accelerator programme delivers everything a cleantech start-up needs for success. Also on offer are a Master programme and the Climate-KIC Journey, the world’s largest climate innovation summer, which offers a unique combination of climate knowledge and hands-on business experience. EIT Climate-KIC also offers two additional programmes that will become even larger in 2018: the Climathon, a global 24-hour climate change hackathon that will next take place in major cities simultaneously around the world on 26 October 2018, and the ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business idea competition.

The EIT Health Accelerator is a business creation programme, set up to tackle the future challenges of European healthcare. EIT Health Campus, the education programme of EIT Health, provides up-to-date knowledge, skills and attitudes to help turn the brightest learners into healthcare leaders and entrepreneurs. In 2018, EIT Health intends to launch 45 new products or services, support 250 start-ups with its accelerator, and create four new companies from the Campus programme.

EIT RawMaterials has several accelerator possibilities: an annual call for funding on several topics; the Start-up Booster, which provides a support package to customers with excellent start-up ideas; the SME Growth-booster: providing business support to existing SMEs in their expansion beyond their local reach; and Kick-start Funding: providing immediate funding to assess the feasibility of promising start-up initiatives that cannot wait for the normal yearly cycle. The RawMaterials Academy offers Master’s Education, PhD Education, Lifelong Learning and Wider Society Learning, providing students with an outstanding foundation for a future career.

For EIT Food, 2018 will be the initial year of operations. Support is available at every step of a company’s development, from ideation to acceleration and funding. In 2018, EIT Food's education offer will include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on food systems; its Summer School; specialised private, tutored, online courses (SPOCS); SME Workshops on emerging trends and technologies to build regional SME networks; and 'Food Solutions', where students of all levels can work in teams on a relevant problem set for up to a year.

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