A note from Patrick Valverde, EBN President
Back in the eighties, the Business and Innovation Centres (EU|BICs) were born from a European Commission initiative coming from what is now called the Directorate General for Regional Policy. EU|BICs were designed to bring increased economic growth and development to the regions. In order to provide quality accreditation and enhance cooperation, it was decided to create EBN, the European BIC Network as the umbrella association.
Now, after almost 40 years, the EU|BICs have proven to be a tool for regional economic growth. Some years ago the European Court of Auditors compared EBN’s accredited incubators (EU|BICs) with other EU-funded business support organisations, and the numbers indeed showed that EU|BICs were significantly better in delivering high-quality, sustainable jobs and businesses. Every year, EBN launches a quality survey among its members to verify the quality criteria are fulfilled by all the EU|BICs. This focus on quality creates a network of excellence, with standards replicated all over Europe and beyond.
Beyond, because although EBN was born in the European Union (the European Community back then) the EU|BIC label is getting such recognition that members from Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, etc want to join the network and become accredited following the EU|BIC quality criteria.
In line with promoting the EBN standards outside the EU boundaries, EBN together with members, third-party organisations and the European Commission, is launching the establishment of three European Research and Innovation Centres in Brazil, China and the US. Collaboration with these countries is getting stronger and bridges to them are getting shorter. There is more information on the Centres in this issue of the magazine.
But EBN continually reinvents itself, and we have revised the EU|BIC criteria and adapted them to current thinking. Innovation means finding solutions for the challenge we encounter in our lives. Innovative entrepreneurs that go beyond the obstacles and reinvent their boundaries are looking for the support of our members; the EU|BICs that are helping them to build on their ideas and make them become a reality. This issue also shows examples of these entrepreneurs: Motius (Gate Garching, Germany), StableLab (WestBIC, Ireland), Optimitive (BIC Araba, Spain) and Promeditec ( BIC Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy).
EBN is above all a network. The synergies and best practices shared among its members make EBN the network of excellence that I was referring to above. We will meet again in the Paris Region this July, for the annual EBN Congress. In a spa city, just 15 minutes by train from Paris, we will exchange best practices and discuss the different innovation ecosystems in which our members are developing their daily activities.
We look forward to seeing you there!
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