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With K4I at the 9th EIS in Brussels

As a member of Knowledge4Innovation (K4I), we were honoured to participate in the recent 9th EIS event, held in Brussels from November 27th to 30th, 20217.

Led by Robbert Fisher and Roland Strauss, K4I is a prestigious network, offering an excellent chance to expand business connections and hear of developments in the world of innovation and research potential in Europe.  K4I’s famous European Innovation Summit (EIS) now in its ninth year, is actively supported by the European Union, which offers K4I to use the European Parliament’s own facilities to host the event.

This year’s event was held in the context of the first ever European Innovation Week, which for us meant being able to get engaged with the EU Top 50 Millennial Start-up Competition, which was at the centre of the programme.  This meant we all sat in the main chamber of the European Parliament to see and hear fifty companies do a ninety second pitch of their offering and value.  After a passionate speech by Bertrand Piccard, the adventurer who flew a solar-powered plane around the world, we heard of ideas and inventions in health and life science, agriculture, digital, deep tech materials and new production technologies, energy, environment, transport, space, security, creative sectors and education.  Really impressive!  See them all here:

All participants sat in the seats of the Parliament Members and voted on the presentations using the same system Members use to vote on EU laws.  There was one winner for best presentation and three other very important awards given to three other companies, where investor groups present selected companies they liked, offering them a mentoring program for a year.  Our warmest congratulations go to Fotokite, Solho, Codeberry and Hiber for their awards!

After the plenary session K4I had created a number of special sessions focusing on several topics.  We went to ones focused on advanced technology, artificial intelligence, international funding processes, and special sessions for leveraging EU funding through regional effort, EIT and H2020.  At one session on startups and scaleups we were welcomed as the fifth company present that had been awarded a Stage 2 H2020 grant.

What we took away from the event is :

  • How committed the EU is to stimulating and supporting innovation, with significant investment in time, effort and resources – thanks to the combined and common vision of all its 28 member states.
  • How positive, co-operative and collaborative were the people that we met in the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the various affiliated agencies like K4I and EIT.
  • How useful a forum this is to network with companies and individuals who are at the cutting edge of transforming innovation, business and society.
  • Any innovative, start-up, scaling up European company reading this post that is not a member of Knowledge4Innovation – sign up!
  • If you are a non-EU company planning to do business in the European Union (especially if you are an innovative company that works with academic and research institutes), check out the international funding opportunities, set up an R&D function along with your commercial operations and take advantage of what the EU has to offer. The best way to do that, of course, is to sign up with K4I.
  • How much we can help support K4I and EU initiatives – and we will!