The EuroTech Universities call for more funding and more flexible models for financing high-tech spin-outs at the EU Presidency’s First Innovative Enterprise Week on 16 June in Riga. Indicators of success should be built into financing programmes for early-stage investment.
In her keynote speech, Marianne Thellersen - Senior Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), stated that appropriate funding is a core enabler and therefore risk-willing financing is needed in order to realize the full commercial potential of university spin-outs. The past ten years of experience in running risk financing programmes, typically based on national or university grants, have shown that there are more promising projects in the pipeline than risk finance available. Beyond the need for more financing, the EuroTech Universities also call for alternative models of financing at EU level, including establishing grants and co-funding on a case-by-case basis to be more in line with the approach taken by local investors.
Speaking at the Plenary Session on Investment Readiness, Ewit Roos, Director of BrightMove, a company that funds start-up in the high tech region of Eindhoven, claimed to have attracted €20 million in external investment over the past four years. Indicators have been set up and are being monitored to measure the success of the investment programme, including its capacity to attract fresh investment. The EuroTech Universities would be willing to share their experience on developing indicators of success for the new investment programmes in early-stage high-risk projects.
The EuroTech Universities have a solid track record in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, as discussed at their High Level Event organized on 29 June in Brussels. During the High Level Event, the Alliance launched a policy paper on the topic of “Nurturing the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow.” Through their activities across four fields (entrepreneurship education and training; promoting entrepreneurship culture and careers; supporting internationalization; and facilitating access to finance), the EuroTech Universities play a strategic role in addressing Europe’s well-known deficit of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial mind-sets.
The EuroTech Universities created more than 300 start-ups between the four of them in the period 2012-2014. Four examples of start-ups created within the EuroTech Universities are presented in a jointly produced video.