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Markets lack sufficient support for potentially disruptive tech start-ups. This is where EU|BICS Step in.

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An interview with Dr Anna Torz, International Cooperation Officer, EU|BIC Poznan Science and Technology Park (PL)

Our track record in disruptive technology programmes allowed us to grow our business support capacity, from science-based projects to scale-up companies.

Dr Anna Torz, International Cooperation Officer, EU|BIC Poznan Science and Technology Park (PL)

Without support from EU|BICs the market will not provide sufficient offers to Industry 4.0 disruptive technologies. Startups working with potentially disruptive technologies are too early, and too risky to be interesting for investors. The main challenge in supporting this kind of venture is how to finance the development of the technology and who can afford to invest money that might be simply burned. It is important to understand that disruptive technologies usually require more time and development processes are more time consuming and cannot be easily accelerated just with more people or other resources. The client is either not always known, or the first target group turned out not to be the main customer.

With our current initiatives focused on supporting disruptive technologies, we entered a whole new level. We used to work with science-based projects. But our offer was addressed to early-stage projects. With the ScaleUp Champions and our Digital Innovation Hub (DIH), we understand better the specifics and complexity of working with disruptive technology companies. Moreover, we were able to test new approaches, processes and services and tailor them better to the (previously assessed) needs of deep-techs.

EBN: How do you support innovative companies in their process of digitalisation? Which are your flagship initiatives programmes?

Poznan Science and Technology Park has two flagship projects – ScaleUp Champions and Digital Innovation Hub, DIH4Future.
ScaleUp Champions is an initiative that aims to scale up innovative businesses across the EU and help startups to achieve market success. Following the support of the European Commission, Scale-up Champions aims to connect different European disruptive technologies startup ecosystems and support cross-border activities to standardize the growth routes in Europe.

One of the main
innovations of the
project is to standardize
the growth routes and
scalability of startups
throughout Europe.

It builds on the premise of equalizing opportunities for scaling up for start-ups across Europe and connects less and more developed startup ecosystems. We seek to:

• Increase the connectedness among members of disruptive technologies start-up ecosystems and their companies (start-ups and scale-ups) and to the larger European business ecosystem seeking maximum synergies.

• Increase access to customers, private and public, access to qualified employees, and access to the right combination of finance and prospects for scaling up across borders.

• Stimulate European investments in disruptive technologies and digital sectors by increasing the number of cross-border investments.

One of the main innovations of the project is to standardize the growth routes and scalability of startups throughout Europe. And to get this, five European science and technology parks are working together on a single and unique cross-border acceleration program. Together we are fostering collaboration between all five ecosystems and their agents: startups, mentors, experts, companies and investors.

EBN: Which steps do you consider are the most important for an EU|BIC in structuring the process of digital transformation and supporting disruptive technologies adoption for companies?

Partnership: technological partners – that can help to develop technology, especially when disruptive technologies startups do not have enough funds to move forward with R&D; business partners – especially those, who can validate MVP and give feedback that will allow them to pivot swiftly, avoiding burning more money; institutional – to multiply access to business and technological partners.

Finance: access to investors that are deeply interested in particular technologies, industry focus funds, Business Angels etc. and their investment policy allows /accepts investing into high-risk technologies, that understand specifics of developing deep tech business ideas and technologies.

EBN: What is the impact of your current digital transformation activities on your EU|BIC companies & ecosystem?

Our activities allowed us to work with new types of partners – industrial, corporates, international investors and mentors. We also joined forces with other ecosystem players (other science parks, universities) and engage already scaled graduated companies.

Our clients were given access to new services, especially the Investment Readiness Programme, where the assessment of fields of development was followed by opportunities of solving problems with the support of a wide network of international experts and mentors.

Companies were also allowed to pitch technologies to international investors, and as a result, they attract cross-border investments.

EBN: From when you first started supporting potentially disruptive technology companies until now, which success stories & best practices can you share

Investment Readiness Programme Methodology: The Investment-Readiness Programmes consists of a set of training activities and networking events for a batch of pre-selected startups working in deep tech with two main objectives:
• To increase the fundraising capacity of the startups participating by providing them with tools and training.
• To connect entrepreneurs, corporates, mentors and investors to build sustainable partnerships and create new market opportunities

Startup Corporates Collaboration Methodology: Corporate Collaboration Programme starts with a set of challenges put forward by corporates, followed by a call for startups to develop disruptive technologies that could provide solutions to overcome them. We carry out a selection of the best proposals and connect both types of entities to facilitate collaboration through an easy, agile guided proven methodology.

Online Market Discovery Programme: connects startups across Europe with local tech hubs to create new relevant contacts for new market discovery and expansion. Without the need for physical travel, startups get online support from local mentors and take part in workshops led by some of the big names in the international deep-tech scene. Moreover, thanks to the founder-to-founder learning, startups will be introduced to like-minded entrepreneurs, allowing them to inspire each other, and share their experiences and know-how.

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