EBN launched a new Open Innovation Service aimed at helping innovative Startups & SMEs in its ecosystem at its 2015 Annual Congress "New Frontiers for Innovative Entrepreneurs", with the enthusiastic support of top-notch industry leaders and world-class organizations such as The World Economic Forum, Microsoft, SAP, Continental, Euripides and the Open Innovation Institute.
EBN's new Open Innovation Service named "OpenPass4Growth" aims to help the thousands of innovative, high potential Startups & SMEs in its highly active and vibrant ecosystem of Innovation Centers (EU|BICs) across Europe, to develop novel partnerships with large companies and corporates in a systematic, programmatic manner, in order to accelerate their business growth and scale up faster. It builds on some of the key lessons learned in the ACE Acceleration Programme which has supported more than 100 tech startups from across Europe since it launched in September 2013.
Vasu Briquez, a former senior corporate executive who is leading the Open Innovation initiative at EBN, kicked off the panel session with an engaging introductory speech which put the spotlight on the enormous economic opportunity that larger companies & corporates are creating here in Europe, investing millions of euros in open, collaborative innovation efforts, wanting to co-innovate with Startups in many more areas than ever before.
Right after the context-setting, Nicholas Davis, the Head of Society and Innovation at the World Economic Forum, put forward facts & figures showing how & where collaborative innovation drives competitiveness in Europe, and shared several thought-provoking insights from the research WEF has recently done on this highly promising approach of collaborative innovation between young dynamic firms and large established businesses, to create higher value and amplified economic growth. Discussing the opportunities as well as challenges, Nicholas Davis also highlighted the critical role that policy-makers and political leaders can play in supporting collaborative innovation.
This led the way to a panel discussion which started off with leading IT multinationals Microsoft and SAP explaining what they are doing concretely about attracting innovative Startups to work with them and their customers in an "Open Innovation" approach. Maria Luisa Silva, Regional Director Market Enablement EMEA at SAP, discussed SAP's vision/ambition to attract large numbers of new generation Startups and help them make use of their in-memory technology platform HANA to develop innovative solutions. She went on to explain how SAP has specifically designed a Startup.Focus program for this purpose and the benefits the Startups will obtain by joining, for instance go-to-market and access to SAP's customers. Nicolas Coudière, Partner at Microsoft Ventures in France, exposed and spoke about a few highly interesting and successful programs of Microsoft Ventures which have been created to help Startups grow their business working with Microsoft, for instance BizSpark/Azure and Customer Access Program. He strongly encouraged Startups to consider and join these free of charge programs to take advantage of Microsoft's offers.
Then it was the turn of Jean-Luc Maté, Vice President Strategy & Technology at Continental Automotive to demonstrate with conviction that the electronics & hardware industry have also been very active in the Open Innovation arena for 1 or 2 decades, reaping important benefits from the approach. Jean-Luc Maté, who is also the Chairman of EURIPIDES (Eureka Cluster), emphasized in particular the collaborative innovation that occurs in the large ecosystem of Smart Electronics component manufacturers and integrators, highlighting this as a powerful strength and advantage for European players in the Smart Electronics space.
Last but certainly not least, Stéphane Parcheminal, the COO of the Open Innovation Institute, introduced this institute created recently by a partnership of Société Générale, Altran, Vinci Group, Mazars, and Ecole Centrale Paris, stating that its whole "raison d'être" is to bridge the gap between large Corporations and Startups. Stéphane Parcheminal explained that the work undertaken by the Institute in the form of case studies, best practices, white papers as well as the creation of new tools and techniques to facilitate exchanges between these two worlds, would be openly available to all soon to help make such interactions less challenging and more successful.
EBN is already engaging with large companies who have put in place well-managed open innovation processes offering clearly defined benefits for Startups, leading to sales enablement and customer access. "Corporates find our service very interesting because it is flexible, simple, just-in-time, and gives them a continuous inflow of the latest and brightest innovations from all countries across Europe, with only a small effort from their side. Several EBN Startups have had the opportunity to get involved and to-date their response and engagement have been very enthusiastic" commented Vasu Briquez, who hopes to soon share some success stories to raise more awareness with Startups across Europe.
EBN’s CEO, Philippe Vanrie commented "Our member EU|BICs are excited by this new Open Innovation Service we are offering, and a good number of them are already adopting it and mobilizing their Startups, in programmes such as ACE, encouraging them to participate and take advantage of these new forms of partnerships which can help them scale up their business."
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