EU launches new knowledge platform for SMEs
The new innovators community platform developed by Amplexor, an Acolad company, for the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot was launched this week at the EIC Innovators’ Summit in Berlin, Germany.
Aimed at SMEs who are beneficiaries of the SME Instrument, FTI and FETopen European funding programmes, the digital collaboration and knowledge-sharing platform enables these high potential innovators to develop their capacities, share ideas and best practices, as well as engage with potential partners and investors through an ecosystem of tools and services:
- Online interaction with potential partners, investors, large enterprises, and public and private procurers, who can create a profile on the platform for information-sharing and matchmaking.
- Mentoring through the creation of matchmaking profiles for mentors and mentees.
- Participation in events such as trade-fairs and major innovation or business conferences in Europe.
- Online and face-to-face training courses and seminars to share ideas and best practices.
- Quick access links to existing services offered at EU, national and regional levels, e.g. related to intellectual property rights, finance, innovation testbeds and digital innovation hubs, among others.
- Procurement marketplace to help SMEs to commercialize their innovations as first clients of public-sector innovation procurers, take advantage of public procurement opportunities and better understand how the procurement market.
- Integration of data and insights from the Innovation Radar initiative about EU–funded innovators and innovations, including financial, investment, patents and altmetrics data and analytics.
These business acceleration services also help bring to life one of the primary aims of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, which is to refocus Horizon 2020 – the €77bn EU research and innovation programme (2014 – 2020) – to ensure that Europe becomes ‘the place to be’ for innovative companies, helping them to navigate regulatory barriers and compete across the single market.
The EIC community platform was built on Drupal technology and based on the accomplishments and key learnings from the knowledge sharing platform Amplexor developed last year for the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). It applies a collaborative, community-based approach toward knowledge-sharing and skills development to the start-up ecosystem. The whole platform is running on Microsoft Azure infrastructure, for which Amplexor designed the Drupal application architecture and delivers managed hosting support services.
“With a long-standing relationship with EU institutions, we are proud to have been once more elected as partners in this project. We believe our expertise in digital experience and collaboration has contributed to an overall atmosphere of entrepreneurship and creativity that helps innovative SMEs to start up and scale up their businesses in the EU”, stated Bart Thumas, Project Manager at Amplexor.
Around two thirds of the economic increase recorded in Europe in recent decades have been the result of innovation, and both EASME and the EIC pilot expect this digital community is going to facilitate the creation of new knowledge and generate a positive impact on growth, trade and investment in the EU.
About the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) has been set-up by the European Commission to manage on its behalf several EU programmes, such as the SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), which are part of the well-known EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020). EASME’s mission is to help create a more competitive and resource-efficient European economy based on knowledge and innovation.
About the EIC Innovators’ Summit
EIC Innovators’ Summit is a two-day, invitation-only event, primarily designed for selected participants of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot programmes (SME Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation and FET-Open, EIC Horizon Prizes). It attracts more than 600 top innovators (small companies, start-ups and researchers) to meet potential partners, investors, clients and around 200 big corporate players.