In the Pipeline
Following last year’s successful event, EBN, in partnership with UKBI and Knowledge Dock UEL , the BIC of the University of East London, are pleased to welcome you to participate in the 2nd Tools Exchange Forum which will take place in London, in October 2012 (final date to be confirmed). Join us to have a chance to see what tools have been developed by your peers to manage your incubator, your innovation chain, and your business support organization.
A call for tools has been launched, so if you have developed your own tool that you want to showcase during the event, make sure you contact Chiara Davalli (email@example.com) for an application form.
The art of coaching entrepreneurs and SMEs has gone through significant evolution and innovation over the past few last years. What are the latest trends and tools? Discover them at the next BIC Master Class “Coaching and Mentoring”. Scheduled to take place in November, the final date and location are still to be confirmed.
To know more about EBN events please contact Chiara Davalli (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Quality and Membership News
In the past 6 months EBN has accredited 7 innovation-based incubators with the EC-BIC trademark. EBN welcomes the following full-members to its community:
- DNA Cascais , Portugal (www.dnacascais.pt)
- iMinds , Ghent, Belgium (www.ibbt.be)
- Innovation Centre Banja Luka , Bosnia and Herzegovina (www.icbl.ba)
- NOVALIA 82 , Montauban, France (www.novalia82.com)
- RCCI , Ruse, Bulgaria (innobridge.rcci.bg)
- CCI de Paris , France (www.ccip.fr)
- PICTI , Ramallah, Palestine (www.picti.ps)
- BIC Kymi , Finland (www.bickymi.fi)
The EC-BIC Network in 2011 - Facts and Figures
Check out how the EC-BIC Network has performed in 2011. See the latest trends in key performance indicators and value for money. Find out the structure of BICs and get real-time profiling. To see all this and more, please download EBN’s BIC Observatory 2012 on the EBN website – www.ebn.eu
EBN’s project team is continuously looking for opportunities to develop new tools and processes that ease the job of incubators around the world. Among those that are about to start (involving EBN members) the following may be of interest to incubation practitioners. They touch on two themes crucial to the growth of SMEs: fundraising and internationalization.
The purpose of the EMMINVEST project is to build an effective coaching platform with 120 entrepreneurs and 40 coaches to double to chances of fund-raising for SMEs. The goal is to help at least 30 companies raise around €0.5m each – a total of €15m funding. During the project, sources of SME funding will be mapped on a website, as well as profiles of the SMEs and partners. A further objective of the project is to develop and roll-out an effective ‘mobile investor exchange platform’ with 180 investors. Webinars, online portfolio peer reviews and online company presentations will be part of this platform. Finally, EMMINVEST will test the effectiveness of cross-border funding facilities with specialist investment groups. It will mobilise at least 6 investment and/or seed/angel funds to co-invest and support growth.
INT-SME’s main activities are to identify the main barriers, needs and skills required for internationalization. In addition, a training toolkit will be developed with case studies, narrations and “soft landing” experiences of selected SMEs who are interested in further investigating the possibilities of internationalising their activities. The project target-groups are: innovation driven SMEs, BIC tenants, other SMEs who operate in traditional sectors as well as BIC managers.
If you would like to be involved in EBN’s projects in the future, or if you are interested in the outcomes of past projects, please contact Robert Sanders (email@example.com).
EBN announced the launch of the Soft Landing Club, a pilot programme that aims to boost international business development for start–ups and SMEs. The Soft Landing pilot, which involves over 70 Business Innovation Centres (BICS) and business incubators worldwide, started earlier this year, and will run through until December 2012, at which point it is expected to become a mainstream EBN service.
What it means
A Google search reveals a number of definitions, but for EBN and its partners it’s all about BICs and incubators offering short-term business support packages to visiting companies that are incubatees or clients of other BICs.
A company looking to develop international business or global partnerships in another region can be hosted in a Soft Landing Club Members’ incubator for a short period, say a week or two and benefit from local knowledge and expertise in order to accelerate access to new markets. The hosting BIC or incubator acts as a “trusted friend” and helps to fast-track a company to international business development by providing, for example, market research, arranging business meetings with targeted prospects, and providing follow-up services if needed.
The Soft Landing Club has members from Cambridge (UK) to Chengdu (China), thereby opening up and offering a global network for EBN members’ client companies. EBN has also partnered with other global networks on this initiative, including RETIS, NBIA, Anprotec, and the World Bank’s infoDev to name a few.
As Sam Raymond (Access to Markets and Finance Consultant) explains “infoDev is excited to collaborate with EBN on the Soft Landing pilot. We are partnering to internationalise EtherVoice, a small Colombian voice technology company and winner of infoDev’s TOP20 SME prize. The two networks are currently organizing “co-incubation” for the company, sending them from their home CREA-ME incubator in Colombia to Asturias BIC in Spain. Ethervoice is working with managers from both incubators, EBN and infoDev, to identify services which will enable them to effectively enter the Spanish market. These offerings may include market research related to their product, customer development, customer acquisition and legal services.”
The EBN Soft Landing pilot is a first step in defining a realistic method for the international expansion of companies and EBN is hopeful of being the author of many success stories. A new website is currently in the design stage, but those companies interested in this initiative can find essential details at www.ebn.eu/softlanding or contact Robert Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eileen Moloney , Senior Consultant to CorkBIC on the Soft Landing programme:
“Cork BIC has undertaken many outbound missions to France, Finland & UK. CorkBIC presented Cork-based company Radisens Diagnostics at a Sophia Business Angels (SBA) in Venture Academy, in the South of France. Radisens (www.radisens.com) develops disruptive point-of-care diagnostic platforms and multiplexed test panels, which diagnose and monitor patients for multiple chronic and acute care conditions. The result of the presentation was an equity investment by SBA. This soon led to an SBA angel, based in Cambridge, UK opening the door to the innovations arm of the UK National Health Service (NHS) which resulted in another significant contract. Radisens was hired to integrate a creatinine test onto its existing chronic care assay panel for long-term disease management. Subsequently, Radisens raised €1.1 m in investment and also won a €1m contract with the European Space Agency. The Soft Landing in Sophia Antipolis and the angel investment from SBA were the instigators and catalysts to this business success.
Another Cork company, TreeMetrics who developed a unique set of solutions to better measure and improve the management of forest resources (www.treemetrics.com) were targeting the Finnish market. The Finnish partners of the Soft Landing international network based in Helsinki, organised sales meetings with prospective customers, with strategic partners and with government departments responsible for forestry affairs. CorkBIC accompanied Treemetrics on the visit which resulted in the company securing a number of Finnish contracts and they now have their own sales office in Finland.
Last month CorkBIC welcomed four companies on an inbound Soft Landing mission from UK, Spain and US. The US company has already set up an office in Ireland to service the European market. Later this year we plan to facilitate companies from India, China and Africa.
The potential for growth for partners and their incubatees is significant, to say the least. The model is proving itself every time. The connections we have made through this network have resulted in huge opportunities for our client companies”.
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