What you need to know from the EIC’s first summit

Irishman Paddy Cosgrave has been appointed as an EIC Ambassador to guide the European Innovation Council on its future investments and policies.

The European Innovation Council (EIC), which officially opened in March this year, has celebrated its first summit on the future of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in the EU.

The community, which has more than 12,000 members, held a hybrid summit in Brussels on 24-25 November. The summit saw innovators and entrepreneurs awarded for their achievements, and Ireland performed particularly well.

On November 24, Dublin was a joint finalist in the iCapital Awards, which recognize Europe’s most innovative cities. Sisters Ailbhe and Isabel Keane of Izzy Wheels won the Rising Innovator Award on November 25.

Tech entrepreneur and Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave was appointed ambassador of the EIC in recognition of his work in innovation in Europe. Cosgrave will join 32 other people to advise on the future EIC program.

Keynote speakers at the summit included the director of the EIC and the Executive Agency for SMEs (EISMEA) and the chairman of the board of directors of the EIC fund, Jean-David Malo; the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for a Europe fit for the digital age, Margrethe Vestager, and the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

Roundtables were held on diversity in innovation, investment in European deep technology, technological sovereignty and the rise of corporate venture capital as an investment tool.

According to its first impact report, which was published to coincide with the summit, the EIC has set aside more than 10 billion euros to invest in SMEs, start-ups and forward-thinking research consortiums. As part of its efforts to intensify Europe’s response to societal challenges such as the pandemic, the climate crisis and technological ethics, the EIC provides three independent sources of finance to entrepreneurs. So far, it has supported more than 800 innovations, mainly from SMEs.

The EIC pioneer funding stream funds high-risk advanced research on innovative technologies. The EIC transition fund helps innovators turn promising research results into innovation opportunities, while the acceleration fund supports companies as they develop and scale innovative ideas. The initiative is the responsibility of the largest Horizon Europe innovation fund.

Since its pilot phase in 2014, the EIC fund has supported around 5,500 start-ups and SMEs which, in turn, have accumulated € 9.6 billion in follow-up investments. Of the 218 startups that received EIC funding in 2020, 72 are developing innovations for Covid-19. Another 64 are Green Deal startups working in the area of ​​sustainability, while at least 40 specialize in digital technology.

As of 2020, 90.5% of the EIC accelerator portfolio are developing innovations that address at least one of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

On the last day of the summit, Malo and Gabriel revealed that one of the companies supported by the EIC had achieved a valuation of one billion euros, making it the third unicorn in the EIC.

In his keynote address to the crowd at the summit, Gabriel said he was counting on them for their help in turning the EIC into a “unicorn factory.” He added that the council’s goal was to create a “pan-European innovation ecosystem” that is “willing to take risks” for the benefit of future generations.

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