On Tuesday 12 September, an EBN delegation had the pleasure to visit two certified Business and Innovation Centres in the Eurometropolis Area (between the region of Lille Métropole (France) and the Belgian regions of West Flanders and Wallonie Picarde): Entreprendre.wapi (BE) and EuraMaterials (FR), to learn more about their services and activities to support entrepreneurs in their areas.
In the morning, EBN visited Entreprendre.wapi in Tournai (Belgium). Entreprendre.wapi joined EBN in 2014 and acquired the EU|BIC Quality Trademark in 2016 and, since then, has been regularly active in the network. Christophe Bonchoux, Director of Entreprendre.wapi, together with Pascal Deman, Business Developer, and Marjorie Heuskin, Assistant provided a comprehensive presentation of the EU|BIC’s services, facilities and innovation opportunities.
A snapshot of a coworking space at Entreprendre.wapi premises ©EBN
After a visit to the newly built Technicité, a creative centre which includes a coworking space and a fab-lab located in the heart of Tournai, Mr Deman kindly organised a visit to Entreprendre.wapi’s facilities. The central position of Tournai within the Eurometropolis area makes it an interesting spot for cross-border cooperation with Lille (France) and Kortrijk (Western Flanders) and broadens the opportunities for startups and SMEs to expand their markets or to find technological partners.
The EBN delegation and Pascal Deman (Business Developer at Entreprendre.wapi) in the middle in the creative centre Technicité ©EBN
As a first in Belgium, Entreprendre.wapi is promoting the Coopérathon initiative, the largest open innovation competition targeting innovation ideas and entrepreneurship open to everyone. Ideated by the Canadian organisation Desjardins, the Coopérathon gathers entrepreneurial minds for a journey of 25 days and with a unique goal: creating innovative projects with a social impact. Participants will have the opportunity to receive personalised training and mentoring as well as to attend weekly workshops led by experts and innovation consultants from Entreprendre.wapi in order to develop their best ideas. For more information, please visit the website: https://cooperathon.be/.
You can find out more about Entreprendre.wapi and their work and services at www.entreprendrewapi.be/.
The digital incubator of Entreprendre.wapi ©EBN
In the afternoon, the EBN delegation had the pleasure to continue the tour of members by visiting the French member EuraMaterials at their premises in Tourcoing (France). EuraMaterials is born out of a merger between Matikem, EBN Member certified EU|BIC since 2017 and a competitiveness cluster dedicated to bio-based, hybrid and Third Generation materials, and UP-Tex, a competitiveness cluster dedicated to High Performance Textile Materials. As the merger formalised, EuraMaterials automatically acquired the right to use EU|BIC Quality Trademark and become a certified Business and Innovation Centre dedicated to the economic development of companies in the field of Advanced Materials. Olivier Varlet, General Director of EuraMaterials, and Karl Martin, International Business Development Manager, organised a visit to “The House of Materials” which is the flagship building of EuraMaterials, and illustrated the integrated service offering, covering the “Innovative Entrepreneurship Business Route” from ideation to growth. The innovation journey is managed by a dedicated team of professionals and connected to an enlarged network of members and partners.
During the meeting, Mr. Varlet stressed the importance for EuraMaterials to keep the EU|BIC Certification as it supports the organisation in being recognised within the innovation ecosystem. In addition to this, while looking at the future, Mr. Varlet underlined the importance of being part of EBN as a way, among everything, to open to new markets and find new potential investors.
A snapshot of the innovative European Center for Innovative Textiles (CETI) building where EuraMaterials Management Team, Club.Tex and Incubation & Acceleration offices are hosted ©EBN
Relying on a strong network of companies located in the Hauts-de-France Region, EuraMaterials offers innovative services, including stimulation, support and development of R&D projects, to boost economic development and competitiveness of the territory. The visit ended with a visit of Club.Tex, the incubator located within CETI (European Center for Innovative Textiles).
You can find out more about EuraMaterials and their work at https://euramaterials.eu.
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