Events - EIC Corporate Day with Evonik: A second time around for Evonik
On 2 and 3 September 2020 the European Innovation Council and Evonik partnered up for a second time in little over two years, bringing another EIC Corporate Day to some of Europe’s most innovative start-ups and scale-ups. With the first edition, which took place in February 2019, focused on health and personal care, this Corporate Day was all about sustainability and circular economy.
In total 14 SMEs, from 11 different countries, were handpicked by Evonik to virtually pitch, meet and discuss their innovations in front of more than 50 Evonik representatives. Bernhard Mohr, managing director of Evonik Venture Capital explained how the EIC Corporate Days fit within Evonik’s venture capital strategy:
“The objective of our venture capital is to support the innovation ecosystem, support innovation leaders around the world. The EIC Corporate Day is a great occasion to see some of these innovation leaders in action”.
Evonik’s venture capital division meets with over 600 companies per year, currently more than 20 have been added to their portfolio since 2012. Their strategy is not just about investing, its about partnering and engaging different forms of cooperation: “Up to this date we have established more than 150 cooperation’s worldwide. For us it’s important to connect and interact with innovative start-ups being technology leaders in their field of expertise and bearing strong growth potential”, Mr. Mohr added.
With the previous event on health and personal care, this year’s topic, sustainability and circular economy, was broader. Mr. Mohr: “Sustainability is important to Evonik and holds relevance for all our 17 business lines and four divisions. This is the very reason why we have invited over 50 Evonik representatives to participate and engage with the start-ups”. With many business lines involved it’s key to spend time as efficiently as possible. The fact that all EIC-backed SMEs have been pre-selected multiple times is a clear advantage for Mr. Mohr and Evonik: “The pre-selection by the EIC is very important. All these companies have been through rigorous evaluations, which gives us the certainty that we will talk to and meet with companies of the highest quality.”
Naomi Roberts, CFM of UK-based Recycling Technologies, was one of 14 EIC-backed participants. Her company’s mission is to accelerate the evolution of plastic, incorporate it in the circular economy, making it a great fit for this Corporate Day with Evonik. “What is great about these days is that Evonik is taking the sustainability piece across the board, very promising. We’re focusing on sustainability; they are focusing on sustainability. We’re bringing together two parties with the same mindset”. Margrét Ásgeirsdóttir, Deputy CEO of Icelandic CRI, was also pleased with the focus on sustainability: “We have seen Evonik evolve over time, become more and more business focused in terms of sustainability. We thought it was a great occasion to talk to Evonik right now, a large chemical company with sites and streams everywhere.” Another attendee, Veronica Savu, co-founder of Swiss Morphotonix, was positive about her company’s chances:
“Our solution matched all Evonik’s requirements. If the interest converges, there is a good chance that what we have to offer, fits what they are looking for. These Corporate Days really help us get traction with large companies.”
With more than 50 Evonik representatives present to listen to the pitches and conduct business meetings, the SMEs had plenty to go around. Veronica for one was very pleased with “the dedication and time that Evonik put into the Corporate Day”. Margrét added “what’s good about these Corporate Days is that they speed up the decision process. With time being our most valuable resource, this is a great advantage for the SMEs. If we get a ‘no’, at least we know it straight away. It’s more direct than emailing and calling”.
With the previous Corporate Day leading to several cooperation’s, the outset for this edition was yet again positive.
“We will be having some follow up conversations with them, how their business goals can align with what we can do. It’s a further introduction of us to them, them to us. I’m looking forward to see where this leads!” as Naomi concluded.
More EIC Corporate Days? Check out our Corporate Day Highlight report and video for more impressions. Do you want to pitch to corporates and exchanges ideas yourselves? The EIC regularly hosts Corporate Days, for the moment fully online, with applications running through the EIC Community. Those wishing to meet with Europe’s largest corporates and fellow EIC-beneficiaries, please keep an eye on our calendar.