On 29 October 2020, EIT Digital celebrated its 10th anniversary. Travel and mobility restrictions moved the anniversary event online, but that didn’t stop EIT Digital and its community to ‘Celebrate Innovation’.
Founded in 2010, Europe’s leading innovation community went on a tremendous journey, delivering breakthrough digital innovations to the market and breeding entrepreneurial talent for economic growth and improved quality of life.
To commemorate this happy occasion, EIT Digital invited partners and friends to celebrate – and a broad audience from our community and beyond followed the call.
During a 1-hour long TV-show like event on 29 October, EIT Digital demonstrated its community’s impressive development in these 10 years, presented the results achieved and the impact it delivered in response to the needs of a strong digital Europe. And participants discussed the way forward towards a New Digital that is inclusive, fair, and sustainable.
To illustrate its journey and to reflect on the way forward, the event featured eminent speakers representing EIT Digital’s vast network of partners, supporters, and stakeholders.
In her welcome remarks, MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho emphasised the importance of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and pointed out the impact of entrepreneurship and innovation for the competitiveness of Europe and the preservation of European values.
Our task as policymakers is to improve the innovation ecosystem in Europe. And you can be assured of the European Parliament’s support for your important mission.
MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho
Pia Sandvik, CEO of Research Institutes of Sweden and Chairman of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, was joined by Ferrovial Chief Information and Innovation Officer Dimitris Bountolos to discuss with EIT Digital CEO Willem Jonker the added value of innovating in a pan-European community of partners.
Ferrovial shares the core and fundamental principles of EIT Digital, the mindset and holistic view to capture the opportunity of new ventures.
Universities and RTOs need to provide industry with open and up-to-date research and technology infrastructures. These are the backbone of Europe’s competitiveness and the key to accelerate innovation.
Pia Sandvik - CEO of Research Institutes of Sweden and Chairman of KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Later on, EIT Digital Chief Innovation Officer Chahab Nastar was joined by three start-up founders that benefited at different stages of their career from EIT Digital support. ImagiLabs CEO Dora Palfi and PacketAI CTO Abdelhadi Azzouni learned in EIT Digital Master and Doctoral Schools how to combine technical excellence with entrepreneurial skills. CEO Baher Al Hakim and his company Medicus AI succeeded in the EIT Digital Challenge scale-up competition and won support by EIT Digital Accelerator to grow internationally.
With the support of the amazing team of EIT Digital, we managed within 6 months to increase the numbers of investors we were talking to from 40 to 120. EIT Digital’s business developers also helped us with the successful expansion to the Italian market.
Baher Al Hakim – CEO at Medicus AI
The final session was led by EIT Digital chairman Linnar Viik and focused on the future: What does Europe need when it comes to digital? How can Europe step up in digital? And what’s the role of industry and policymakers? Risto Siilasmaa, founder and chairman of F-Secure Corporation, stated that Europe was still a superpower in academic research, but the challenge was to translate the innovative capital into competitive products and services.
It is the only place in the world where 27 nations meet under the same regulatory framework and are interconnected at digital level. We already have well-functioning systems to guarantee privacy of people and data protection. Now we need to invest more in strategic areas like data ownership and security. For this to become reality, we need a true public private partnership to ensure that regulation benefits business and industry whilst protecting the integrity of consumers.
Despina Spanou - Head of Cabinet of European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas
The event concluded with the festive presentation of the EIT Digital 10th Anniversary Book, taking stock of the first and giving an outlook to the next decades of EIT Digital work for a strong digital Europe.