EIC ePitching with Procurers on COVID-19: finding common solutions together
The European Innovation Council brought together over 50 public and private procurers, five European corporates and more than 20 EIC-backed SMEs during the first EIC ePitching with Procurers, a dedicated session on COVID19-solutions. The procurers, public as well as private-sector, and the SMEs had the opportunity to pitch their needs and respective solutions followed by a vote on who pitched the most innovative solutions. Eyecontrol and RESPINOR went home with the prize in their respective pitching-sessions.
The EIC ePitching with Procurers on COVID-19 was just one of many COVID-19 related initiatives organised by the EIC. Jean-David Malo, Director of the EIC:
“We have launched a number of concrete actions. I’m proud to say that we agreed to almost double the budget for our last EIC-call, with a dedicated amount exclusively for the best COVID-19 applications. We also organised several dedicated events, notably the ePitching with Investors, on 15 April, the ePitching with Procurers, todays’ event, as well as the EUvsVirus hackathon. This shows once again how agile and reactive the EIC and its Community are.”
Procurement in the European innovation ecosystem
The EIC ePitching-session was the second dedicated procurement-event that was organised by the EIC, which highlights the importance of creating synergies between SMEs and procurers. Dr. Johan Van Eldere, representing UZ Leuven and EUHAlliance, was one of the procurers that joined today’s session.
“There is a fragility in the supply lines in this globalized market. We needed to look for alternatives, we had to become more creative. Rather than building stock, Europe needs to scale up production rapidly. This constitutes a rethinking of our supply lines and in the way that we procure. This is really the time for innovation and the EIC can contribute to this.”
Jean-David Malo added that with events like today, the European Innovation Council can ensure direct contact with other actors of the European innovation ecosystem:
“It is very important to have this link between procurers and EIC-backed SMEs. Selecting an innovative company in a call for tender, acts as a validation of the technology and thereby the activities of the SME. This leads to a domino-effect, making them more attractive to other companies. This is by essence a necessity during this crisis. But let’s not forgot that this is also crucial for the period afterwards, in order to keep on creating new business opportunities.”
Susana Cristina Osorno Upegui, joining from Colombia’s IPS Universitaria, said that attending today’s event was a great way to see Europe’s top innovations at work.
“A great opportunity, not just for the hospital, but also for our city Medellin and our entire country.”
Oliver Beye, procurer from Universitätsklinikum Halle, joined in order to find both new ideas as well as to find support for some of the ideas he was playing with himself:
“Looking at other ideas and finding support for your own, this something that we as procurers need in our everyday work now.” Oliver stressed the importance of Europe in this aspect: “I am very happy about today’s initiative. It’s a good sign that we in Europe are working together to find common solutions and help each other.”
Recognition for Eyecontrol and RESPINOR
The EIC-backed SMEs, pitching about both medical devices as well as new innovative biotechnology applications, were divided in two different sessions. At the end of each session the participants had the opportunity to select the best pitch of the day. Or Retzkin, CEO from Eyecontrol, was one of the winners. The EyeControl is the first wearable, screenless, assistive communication device developed exclusively for the intensive care unit. The EIC-funding and Business Acceleration Services played an important role for Or and his company:
“I remember the day that I received the email announcing that we won the EIC-grant, it was one of the best days. Awareness is another key benefit that we gain from EIC funding. When companies hear that we received funding from the European Commission, I notice that it gives us validity.”
Trude Tingvoll, CEO of RESPINOR, was the other winner of the session. She pitched RESPINOR DXT (Diaphragm Excursion Technology), a technology that provides an objective and continuous measure of diaphragm function. As a small company it can be difficult to get in touch with many different procurers in Europe. Trude:
“Simply establishing contact with the correct individuals within multiple procurement departments is a challenge, especially for a small company like ours.”
All in all Or was pleased with today’s session and impressed with procurers and SMEs alike:
“It’s really beautiful to see so many great companies and procurers attending. Especially now that meetings and visits cannot happen, it’s important to have online events able to close the gap and gather different from people from different countries.”
Trude hopes that the EIC will continue to host these dedicated procurement-events:
“I think organizing more events like this one, where we are able to make our case to the right individuals within procurement departments, would be an important step. It is especially useful to have the opportunity to talk to people who expect solutions to be somewhat ‘out of the box’, and not a commoditized tendering-quoting process.”