EIC Multi-Corporate Day: Meet with German Giants in the Digitalisation Area – A collaboration for a digital future
On 26 to 30 April 2021, the European Innovation Council (EIC) in collaboration with the German Giants brought together 69 EIC-beneficiaries through a digital event. This event gave them the opportunity to bridge the gap with the 10 different innovation actors from Germany (Blackprint Booster, comdirect, Commerzbank, Bundeswehr Cyber Innovation Hub, DAK-Gesundheit, Hermes, IBM, Mediamarkt Saturn, signals (SIGNAL IDUNA) and Vodafone UPLIFT) and explore new synergies, business opportunities and further collaborations.
This digital event gathered 69 innovative EIC-backed SME’s coming from 27 different countries to pitch their innovations on digitalisation in the fields of defence, banking, telecom and health. After the event, we came in contact, from the corporate side, with Christian Nieke, Head of the software development (department Rostock) of comdirect and Christoph Berentzen Head of Application Programming Interface (API) banking at Commerzbank. From the other side of the table, meaning EIC funded companies, we gathered the Business Development Director of NewIcon and the Co-founder of Nüwiel, Marja Jaurakkajärvi and Natalia Tomiyama respectively.
Zooming in on the Giants’ needs
It is always interesting to know what these corporates are hoping to achieve during the EIC Corporate Days, and in this case, Christian mentioned “our goal is to get in contact with companies that can build up new products on APIs or combine them in a way we never thought about. We are facing a specific problem and we are seeking for a solution, where we can learn and possibly develop a product in the future.” Christoph stressed the importance of good communication, mentioning that “we are searching for partners with whom we can speak on the same level, but also we want to see that they have the agile mindset and approach to do things that work out.”
As to what benefits comdirect and Commerzbank get from working together with EIC and its portfolio of SMEs, Christian shared that “EIC is a place to bring people together and learn from each other, I must admit that I participated to sessions that were not focused on my challenges but were very interesting and I came out with great ideas”. Adding to this Christoph mentioned “the EIC gives possibilities to work together with companies that are not depending on venture capital because of programmes like the Business Acceleration Services.”
In conclusion, both interviewees mentioned the need of keeping some virtual events, post pandemic, together with the physical ones. “A physical event is much more personal; you can interact with the people and get to know them before the "business” started but the good thing with the covid-19 situation is that I can now participate more and take part in some pitches that weren't possible before. When you find a really interesting company you can spontaneously invite another team member to take part in the session and move faster with the process.”
Having a great deal
Like every coin, also this “match-making” event has two sides. Marja, who attended the event on behalf of EIC beneficiary NewIcon, complemented the event's organisation on the efficiency, the tailor-made needs and training sessions “I truly feel that this was a really nice experience, very professional and it was a pleasure to participate. I would definitely take part in other EIC events” Concerning the valuable connections Marja said that “the 1-1 meetings were successful, there is a common understanding and mutual interest, so now we wait and see”. On a similar wavelength, Natalia, Co-founder of Nüwiel, mentioned “we were selected by two companies, despite the fact that the hardware products have longer development times and the require higher costs. Thanks to the EIC, we had a great opportunity to get 1-1 connection and explore opportunities with such big industry players”.
More EIC Corporate Days?
Want to have the opportunity to create win-win situations with Europe’s largest corporates? The EIC regularly hosts Corporate Days, for the moment fully online. Applications for the EIC Corporate with Deutsche Bahn are still open until 16 May 2021. For further events please keep an eye on our BAS calendar. For more impressions and info on EIC Corporate Days check out our EIC Corporate Day Highlight report and video.