2020 EIC Pathfinder Pilot Programme Wrap-Up: Making the leap from lab to business
Last year, the EIC Community opened its doors to a high number of researchers and CEOs of early stage companies with projects funded under the EIC Pathfinder Programme. In 2020, this research community had the chance to meet with entrepreneurs, get closer to the market, and benefit from the networking, coaching, and mentoring promoted by the European Innovation Council. Time to wrap up the 2020 EIC Pathfinder activities and see how to continue flourishing in 2021.
The Pathfinder programme invests in transformative frontier research and innovation with a high potential impact on technology, to benefit our economy and society. Under this scheme, participants from both Pathfinder Open (previously FET-Open), which supports a bottom-up approach for exploring novel and visionary ideas, and Pathfinder Proactive (FET-Proactive), which fosters transformative research through a set of focused thematic initiatives, had the opportunity to participate in multiple EIC Innovation Training Workshops organised in 2020 by the Business Acceleration Services.
From research to reality
To transform an innovation or results of a research project into a product is hard work for any inventor or SME. The product introduction process is particularly challenging for beginning entrepreneurs. Innovative ideas, by themselves, are not enough. They are just one small element of the journey to reach the market and a strategy is essential in the initial stages. With the EIC Innovation Training Workshops, participants had the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of finding suitable market segments and translating their research into a viable product or service. Through modules like ‘Technology Validation and product-market fit process’, ‘Business Recognition and Market Data’ and ‘Exploitation and Commercialization’ the researchers were able to cover a wide scope of concepts.
George Butler, Business Development Manager from the project ‘Levitate’, saw that there was a gap between business development and his research team and decided to apply to the EIC Innovation Training Workshop: “I’m more customer facing, the R&D team is looking at another direction. These two days gave me ideas on how to bridge the gap between us, creating a way to validate the product and achieve a more business orientated vision”, he noted. In addition to covering several different modules, the participants had the opportunity to train their pitching skills.
For some, like Francesca Loria from Hansabiomed, it proved to be an interesting pitching experience, with many takeaways and learning aspects to improve. “I am very interested in improving my skills in different areas, such as marketing and investor matchmaking. I am still struggling to grab the attention of the public while pitching and I received some specific feedback on my presentation. These workshops are really informative and helpful for people who come from a scientific background.”
In 2020, the EIC organised 4 Innovation Training Workshops gathering in total 49 organisations funded under the EIC Pathfinder programme. The high-demand and success of these first editions motivated the continuity of the format and in 2021 two sessions have already been completed, with 3 new ones in the pipeline. These new sessions are planned for 11-12 March 2021, 15-16 April 2021 & 20-21 May 2021. To apply and find more information about these events, check the open call available via this link.
Bridging the gap between Academia and Business
But the novelties don’t end here, 2021 will not just bring more of the same. To help researchers navigate through the entrepreneurial world, the EIC will organise a Bootcamp for Pathfinder beneficiaries. The four-day event, which is split in a three-day session taking place from 16 to 18 February 2020 and a final wrap-up on 19 March 2021, will provide guidance on how to transform innovation into a valid solution and successfully bring it to market. The sessions will bring a mix of interactive lectures (including suggested readings), group assignments and key notes from industry experts. More info on the EIC Bootcamp for Pathfinder can be found here.
Have your say!
Winds of change are blowing over the EIC as new online tools are expected in 2021 to meet the business needs. If you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to see us cover, you can share your ideas in the comments section! The events for Pathfinder projects will continue to be a regular part of the European Innovation Council Business Acceleration Services. Keep your eyes on our EIC Community and check our BAS Calendar for future events!