Events: EIC Virtual Coordinators’ Day gathered more than 45 EIC beneficiaries
For the very first time, the European Innovation Council organised the Coordinators’ Day virtually, meeting the companies funded by the EIC under Phase 2 in an online session. The purpose was to gather the EIC coordinators from the recently awarded projects, get familiar with the project management procedures and discover more in-depth the Business Acceleration Services.
From a session focused on procurement events, to an introduction of the activities with large corporates, the event provided the “full picture” of the European Innovation Council programme. In front of their screens, the beneficiaries had the opportunity to watch presentations on EIC services and discuss best practices for submitting their reports and managing their grant successfully. After the meeting, the beneficiaries also had the chance to e-meet the EIC staff.
Pushing the boundaries of funding
Some participants were already familiar with the Business Acceleration Services and shared their testimonials or questions during the session. Remberto Martins, the CEO of LenioBio, started with the Phase 2 funding in December 2019 and participated in a Corporate Day with AB InBev less than two months later, in February 2020. The project developed a proprietary protein production platform, ALiCE, which enables high-quantity proteins to be produced and validated in days instead of weeks.
During the Corporate Day, this innovation received the attention from Ab InBev even though Remberto never thought of AB InBev as a potential client: “This programme put us in contact with companies that we normally would never meet. We were very focused on life-science, and then we got the invitation to attend the Corporate Day with Ab InBev. Today, we have a follow-up with on-going discussion to produce proteins for them. In the past, we never explored or put our energy in the brewery market because I always thought that was something very domestic and consumable, but in the end, I realised they also need our product. That’s what the EIC brought to us”, mentioned Remberto Martins.
When LenioBio started, the company had seven employees. Today they have more than 31, and the project is currently producing the proteins that people need to develop the COVID-19 vaccine for top Pharmaceutical companies. “It’s not only the money that we get. The biggest value that we see it’s on how you manage the project and how much support do we get. We get support not only in project management, but also on business development to accelerate the growth of the company. These advantages made it possible for us to make this step”, added the CEO.
“Entering into a rocket”
Maria Postigo, the COO of Spotlab, also mentioned these unique opportunities that came together with the EIC funding. “I feel that the EIC is like entering into a rocket. It’s very remarkable because when you say that you’ve received the Horizon 2020 SME Grant, people start looking at you with different eyes. I think it’s a very good presentation card when we are starting a new conversation with clients, investors or a new stakeholder”, she added. Spotlab is a health start-up based in Spain, developing telemedicine systems for image analysis supported by artificial intelligence and algorithms to make smarter and faster decisions for diagnosis. The company started a collaboration with two hospitals in Madrid recently in order to enable a continuous workload remotely for doctors. During the Virtual Coordinators’ Day, Maria showed particular interest in the procurement activities: “I wrote down some of the events that were mentioned. We applied twice to different events, but we weren’t selected. Now that we received all this information, I feel more prepared to apply and address what they are looking for”, she mentioned.
The online event was shorter than the recent physical meetings that generally gather the beneficiaries in Brussels for two days of sessions. “Today, I felt that we shifted these two days in just a few hours. I’ll still be able to work on my afternoon, and this session made my day lighter”, commented Nasser Hefiana, the CEO of Nanoga SA. The company, based in Switzerland, received Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants from the European Innovation Council and Nasser was already familiar with the Business Acceleration Services. This month, Nanoga will attend for the first time a Multi-Corporate Day, and pitch their innovation in front of Eneco, KPN, Rabobank and Unilever. “We decided to register to the Dutch Multi-Corporate Day to try a new event and analyse a new market for our business. This is the first event and I hope it will be interesting, but I also take it as try”, he added.
The Virtual Coordinators’ Day gathered the last batch of companies that applied for grant-only funding. From 5 June 2019, the EIC Accelerator offers blended finance in the form of an optional investment in equity in addition to the grant, to single for-profit SMEs. Check the EIC Community regularly to learn more about what we do. A helpdesk is available on the EIC Community: https://community-smei.easme-web.eu/contact . To explore other opportunities, keep an eye on our events page.