EIC Overseas Trade Fairs 2.0 Programme Launch Event: The road to internationalisation for top EU innovators is open
On 17 June 2021, the European Innovation Council (EIC) celebrated the official launch of the EIC Overseas Trade Fairs (OTF) 2.0 Programme. The virtual event included a keynote speech from Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General at the European Commission’s Directorate General of Research and Innovation, as well as a panel discussion with the Director of European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), Jean-David Malo and high-level representatives from across the European innovation ecosystem. The EIC also announced the opening of the first most anticipated calls (CES Las Vegas 2022 & Arab Health 2022).
The Launch event allowed prospective EIC-funded SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups to learn more about the distinctive services of the programme, acquiring precious knowledge on how to expand their breakthrough ideas and leading innovations to foreign markets.
There were a number of different interventions throughout this event. For instance, Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General of DG RTD, emphasised in his inauguration speech the priceless contribution of the EIC, which works on transforming deep tech innovative ideas into reality. This, in turn, plays an important role in allowing EIC-funded SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups to grow in the internal market and also on a global scale.
'’The EIC OTF 2.0 Programme can help you reach out to connect with foreign markets, to connect with partners and understand and see how you can, out of your outstanding innovation, grow internationally’’.
Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General of DG for Research & Innovation, European Commission
EIC OTF 2.0 Programme: Innovation at its finest
The EIC OTF 2.0 Programme aspires to reinforce the EIC companies in order to commercialise their outstanding products and integrate innovation into their strategic-planning efforts. This message was conveyed by the speakers during the panel discussion. Jean-David Malo, Director of EISMEA, explained that the central purpose of OTF is to strengthen and support exceptional innovators, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, small companies and start-ups that have the ambition to expand their presence internationally, facing potential challenges. This is particularly relevant in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘’The Launch of the EIC OTF 2.0 Programme is a strong signal of the new times ahead of us and perfectly illustrates how we want, from the side of the EIC and of the European Commission globally, to be ready for this new normality’’.
Jean-David Malo, Director of EISMEA
The post-COVID situation is also of importance to the exhibition industry. Barbara Weizsaecker, Secretary General at European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA) and European Major Exhibition Centres Association (EMECA), alluded to the fact that trade fairs are developing health and safety protocols in order to guarantee that the exhibitions are safe places to ensure physical participation. ‘’The exhibition sector accelerated and geared up on the digital offers to bridge the time of the lockdowns. We have now even more useful and successful tools than before, but we also know that for certain objectives digital is less impactful. Certain results can only be achieved by attending the physical shows, such as making contacts and physically checking products, closing deals and experiencing serendipity’’.
During the panel discussion, Maria Irene Cardillo, a former participant of the OTF 1.0 Programme, which took place between 2016-2019, shared her excitement of attending international trade fairs as part of the OTF 2.0 Programme in the aftermath of COVID-19. ‘’We are entrepreneurs and used to challenges. The EIC OTF 2.0 represents an important restart from the post pandemic period. The European Innovation Council gives us, as innovative companies, the opportunity to fly-high and spread our message of innovation and sustainability around the world’’.
Following the panel discussion, the Launch event was concluded by Viorel Peca, Head of Transition Activities and Business Acceleration Services Unit at the EIC. In his closing remarks, he highlighted the fundamental importance of the programme as means to address the challenges faced during the pandemic to European entrepreneurship. ‘’When considering the impact that the previous OTF Programme generated, the European Innovation Council is hoping that a similar or better impact can be created, and that EIC-funded SMEs/Startups/Scale-ups are able to scale up their European innovations globally’’.
Calls open: Conducting international business under the EU-EIC Pavilion at CES & Arab Health 2022
During the interactive session, the participants were informed in detail about the implementation of the first two published calls, CES and Arab Health, both of which will take place in January 2022.
CES is the most influential technology event at global level, taking place annually in Las Vegas. It offers a unique exposure or manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content and technology delivery systems. Arab Health is considered a landmark event in Dubai, as it is one of the largest annual gatherings of healthcare and trade professionals in the Gulf region.
To apply to these specific trade fairs, please click below:
More on the EIC OTF 2.0 Programme?
Should you have any questions on the Programme, please do not hesitate to contact us through the EIC Community Helpdesk (please select the category “EIC OTF Programme” as the subject).
You can also watch the full session of the Launch Event in the link below.