Laura Lecci, EBN CEO reflects on EU|BICs impact
”In 2021, the global community of Certified EU|BICs and Associate members grew to a total of +165 organisations in 30+ countries. 36,000 entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups and SMEs are now supported by an EU|BIC. And this is not just because of a growing community with more EU|BICs and partners. EU|BICs are growing bigger, and more effective while often courageously located in emerging regions – reflecting on the growing conversation in the innovation sector around sustainable, regional economic development.
Those are a lot of numbers. But I mention them at the start because it can be hard to see how much change to innovation systems is happening in real-time. And after nearly forty years of commitment to our mission and building a credible community of EU|BICs and their partners and clients, this is real evidence of a tipping point for the EU|BIC community. Throughout 2020- 2021, many applications for membership and certification came in from around the globe. Every single one of these outcomes stems from seeds that we have planted over the past decades.
From establishing our standards for better innovation business; to advocating for excellent support actors to be included in innovation legislation; to building a pan-European, global movement of people committed to using breakthrough innovation bolstering regional, sustainable economic development; to witnessing its resilience through a global pandemic, we have always been doing this work together, reactive to what matters while keeping an eye on long-term innovation systems change.
I am gratified to watch our community grow because the challenges it confronts are more pertinent and larger than ever. For more than half a century, we have seen the ubiquity of the pursuit of growth
maximisation above all else, resulting in an economic tendency that depletes our resources, ecologies, and societies. Amid the still-unfolding impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, innovation systems
change is no longer a buzzword. It is an urgent call to action for the business community.
As CEO of EBN, part of my accountability to the community is to plan for its long-term success. At this pivotal moment, you will see in the report’s contributions all that the EU|BIC community, supported by the EBN Secretariat, has done to scale our community in 2021 – through increased demand for our certification process, an ongoing review of core standards, a tightknit training track offering, policy initiatives advancing excellent innovation support in Europe, and collaboration among ourselves and with partner organisations.
As you read, I invite you to imagine what our community will look like a decade from now. What happens when the EU|BIC moves to the mainstream – when all entrepreneurial innovation is a force for sustainably flourishing regions, economies, societies and livelihoods. As we learned during EBN Congress, our future does not happen, it is made: let’s do this, together.”