The first results are out, and they shine a bright light on EIT Digital’s impact in the fields of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Academy for a strong digital Europe.
Between March 5 and May 3 this year, EIT Digital launched the construction of the ‘EIT Digital 2020’ activities, soliciting proposals from entrepreneurial minds planning to launch a digital tech startup or product (EIT Digital Innovation Factory), or to deliver entrepreneurial digital tech education programmes (EIT Digital Entrepreneurship Academy).
In total, 211 proposals were submitted for both the EIT Digital Innovation Factory and the EIT Digital Entrepreneurship Academy, an increase of 56% compared to last year. The breakdown is 153 proposals to the Digital Innovation Factory and 58 to the Digital Entrepreneurship Academy.
The combined financial requests of the activities (EIT financial support plus partner co-funding) amount to €154 million – an increase of 48% compared with 2018. In another positive result, almost every second proposal involves new partners.
EIT Digital’s ecosystem is growing, and the organisation is increasingly seen as the go-to partner for companies eager to make their venture efforts real. As strong evidence of this, the number of proposals for startup creations increased by 207%.
As for the Entrepreneurship Academy, the EIT Digital Summer Schools saw the biggest growth in numbers of proposals received. The 22 submissions represent an increase of 633% compared to the three received last year.
“With a 50% increase in the overall number of submissions compared to last year, the EIT Digital Innovation Factory is already a success,” comments Chahab Nastar, Chief Research and Innovation Officer at EIT Digital. “This popularity shows that our pre-incubation support is an attractive value proposition; we are looking forward to supporting impactful and sustainable innovations in 2020.”
Roberto Prieto, EIT Digital's Chief Education Officer, is very happy to see that the amount of proposals has increased so much since last year. "To me, it signals that the need of collaboration in higher education in Europe is felt more deeply. If we want to solidify a strong digital Europe, European universities need to work together to endow new graduates with the ability to turn technologies into business for a European or global market. This requires both technical and leadership skills. Our education system, where we colaborate in a network of top technical universities and companies, serves this need.”
Currently, all submitted proposals are being evaluated and the outcomes will be communicated to applicants by the end of June 2019. They will then be included in the draft version of the EIT Digital Business Plan 2020, which will be submitted to EIT after approval by the EIT Digital governing body. EIT is expected to make final confirmations in November – December 2019.
The new activities are expected to start on January 1, 2020, and 78 proposals have requested an early bird opportunity to start their work in Autumn 2019, pending approval.