2020 EIC Corporate Programme Wrap-Up: the matchmaking just one click away
Last year, the world dove into a COVID lockdown. In-person meetings and conferences were cancelled, leaving many SMEs and corporates at a standstill. But while physical doors were being closed, new digital windows swung open. In a matter of weeks, business professionals moved towards virtual spaces, and the online platforms became the headquarters of every event. The EIC Corporate programme was no exception. This wrap-up will review the events, the pitches and corporate partnerships closed in the online sphere thanks to EIC Business Acceleration Services.
The maths behind EIC Corporate Days
The European Innovation Council (EIC) is determined to stimulate strong collaboration between European SMEs and large corporates to help them spark innovation and grow their business. To this end, and under its EIC Corporate Programme line, it has established an ambitious set of events to assist EIC awardees in accessing corporate partners.
In 2020, we teamed up with several corporates for 10 editions of EIC Corporate Days: AB InBev, ENEL, BBVA and Ferrovial, Roche, the Multi-Corporate Day with Cumulus Park, Evonik, PKO Bank, Thales, Amadeus and CaixaBank Payments & Consumer.
These EIC Corporate Days were consolidated as an important way to push the plug of collaboration between big players and SMEs. The events gathered more than 280 companies to pitch their innovations, boost their network and digitally meet relevant business partners. According to the feedback surveys, the sessions registered an overall satisfaction among the participants of 90%.
Building win-win partnerships
After registering this high interest in the EIC Corporate Days, and with the European Green Deal in mind, the EIC decided to explore new event formats to connect top-tier innovators with large corporates in Europe. In June, the brand-new initiative Planet.tech brought together EIC-backed beneficiaries with four large corporates with the objective to develop green Proof of Concepts (POC). The event received more than 200 applications from the EIC Community members, of which 28 EIC companies from 13 countries were finally selected. More than 40 high-level representatives and experts of the corporates met online with EIC-backed innovators, and four Proof of Concepts were already developed and presented during the R&I Days in September 2020.
“Planet.tech is a first pilot to drive rapid multi-partner projects, from years to just some months, that address societal challenges that we cannot tackle alone. We are learning while doing to create positive disruption with the EIC as a catalyst that reduces the friction and squeezes time. We are very excited about this initiative”, said Andre Convents, innovation leader at P&G.
But the programme also went beyond matchmaking opportunities and built bridges with important innovation ecosystems thanks to another novel concept. The Virtual Hub Visits combined the flagship-events’ unique elements (Corporate Days, Investors Days and Community Trainings) while adding a dash of digital sightseeing of some of the most exciting startup hubs in Europe. In Autumn 2020, the EIC organised three dedicated EIC virtual hub visits to Stockholm, Barcelona and Berlin, providing a unique opportunity to introduce beneficiaries to large corporates and investors active in these hubs, entering a new European market from the comfort of the digital workspace.
“I was looking for direct contacts with customers and investors, so I could follow up down the line. It’s really hard to cold-call and that’s what I appreciate about the EIC, now I have a reason to get back to people and follow-up. It helps so much, you can’t quantify this”, explained Sebastian Serafin, the CEO of Contentflow.
While new event formats were being launched, participants from previous editions were still meeting corporate representatives, following-up on one-to-one meetings and closing new business deals. The EIC-funded company Global Data Excellence pitched its new solution, DEMS-Nixus (Natural Intelligence eXpanded Universe System) for automated Data Integration, Data Cleansing, Business Intelligence, Data Governance and Data Sharing during several EIC Corporate Days, including the GALP event. The platform is the first end-to-end AI solution for corporate governance that allows a dialog between machine and human in natural language. There is no deployment or programming effort from the client-side, meaning it drastically accelerates the speed of business value creation while minimising the cost of business transformation by 80%.
During the event, GALP-representatives immediately showed an interest in GDE’s technology and progressed by proposing a short, paid pilot, taking place in early 2020. They are currently still in the pilot phase, with the intention to scale in multiple areas afterwards.
“Attending the EIC Corporate Day lead us to establish solid relations with GALP. The commitment from their side was strong, we managed to initiate a pilot which ensures us to scale in Portugal in an unprecedented way”, said Walid el Abed, CEO of GDE.
2021: a look ahead
In 2021, the EIC will have more events and a busy schedule, full of new activities. If you have any suggestions that you would like to see us cover, you can share your ideas in the comments section!
The EIC Corporate Programme will continue to be a regular part of the European Innovation Council Business Acceleration Services, and we will start the year with a Corporate Day with LafargeHolcim and a Multi-Corporate Day on Health with Dutch Giants. Keep your eyes on our EIC Community for more wrap-ups on Investors and Procurers Days, as well as our activities for Pathfinder-early stage companies. And, as always, check our BAS Calendar for future events!