Events - EIC ePitching to Procurers with bpost: going green
On 14 September 2020 a dozen EIC-backed innovators were invited to an ‘EIC ePitching to Procurers’-session, together with bpost, Belgium’s national postal provider. The SMEs had the opportunity to pitch their innovative solutions on eMobility and charging infrastructure to bpost’s procurement division and engage in pre-arranged business meetings in the hopes of fostering new connections and partnerships.
Bpost is currently working to cut back 20% of its emissions by 2030. To achieve this objective, they will gradually shift to an electrified fleet of 3500 e-vans and 3500 e-bikes to be deployed in all active mail (sorting) centers across Belgium. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a boost in the transformation of ecommerce. Time to market is more key than ever. There’s a big push to get everything faster and faster”, as noted by Jos Savenberg and Kurt van Cleemput, respectively Category Expert Fleet and Head of Procurement at bpost. “COVID-19 and the fast changing external landscape forces us to implement some elements of our long term planning already now.”
EIC at the gateway of innovation
To achieve these aforementioned goals, an appropriate charging infrastructure for e-vans and e-bicycles is needed. And this is exactly where the EIC stepped in, giving bpost the opportunity to meet with some of Europe’s most innovative SMEs. Kurt and Jos continued, highlighting that a day like this gives them some insights on how to involve with innovative start-ups in the public tendering process. “The EIC provided us access to the gate of innovation. For us this was an excellent opportunity to connect with innovative companies in a fast and agile way”. As mentioned, bpost selected 12 different companies from 8 different countries, with bpost being very selective in the process: “we are looking for long term relations, partnerships basically. It was very important that the external parties understand our challenges and come together for solutions”.
After having seen all the pitches and meeting one on one with the start-ups, bpost will digest the information and outcome. Kurt was impressed by the number of interesting companies, both on loading infrastructure, but also on other challenges that bpost is currently facing. “This day is also about two-way communication, some of the suppliers reflected on how to adapt their product to our challenges and needs. It’s an interesting evolution, we start to develop the market”, Jos concluded.
Natalia Tomiyama, CEO of Hamburg-based Nuwiel, was one of twelve EIC-participants. “For us it made perfect sense to apply for this event. Bpost has challenges that we have proven to solve in Germany, with other postal providers. This day gave us the opportunity to understand their challenges better and address it with our solution”.
Getting in direct contact with procurement departments can be difficult at times, seeing as they are usually not the first line of business. But the EIC is closing this gap for many EIC-backed companies: “Normally we never get to the procurement-department directly. We start with operations, if that’s successful, we get to know the procurers. This EIC-event is a great chance to introduce ourselves in the middle of the process, get to learn about the people behind the public tendering and hopefully foster some new partnerships”.
Are you looking for opportunities to connect with some of the largest procurers in Europe? In October we will be hosting our second EIC ePitching to Procurers on COVID-19, applications are open until 5 October 2020. Keep a close eye on our events calendar and EIC Community for further events throughout the year.