European Commission - Press release
Start-ups compete for EIT Entrepreneurship Awards
Brussels, 20 February 2012 – Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the first 'EIT Entrepreneurship Awards' in Brussels on 21 February. The winners will be chosen from among nine start-up companies created as part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology's (EIT) knowledge and innovation communities (KICs). The short-listed companies are based in Spain (2 finalists), the Netherlands (2 finalists), Germany, France, UK, Finland and Sweden (see below for details).
"In recognising these promising new ventures, we are seeking to promote an entrepreneurial culture in Europe and, at the same time, to inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. I am convinced that the EIT can make a major contribution to how Europe addresses the economic, social and environmental challenges it faces. Through its focus on entrepreneurship, the EIT equips small businesses, students and researchers with the knowledge and skills they need to turn innovative ideas into commercial opportunities," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
The nine finalists were selected in collaboration with the three KICs, which focus on information and communication technologies (ICT), sustainable energy and climate change. They were given the opportunity to attend a training course on how to successfully present their businesses. The winners will meet leading entrepreneurs to provide them with guidance on how to prepare their business for expansion.
The Commission and the EIT plan to establish six new KICs by the end of the decade.
The finalists by sector are:
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
Trifense (Germany): specialises in protecting computer networks against cyber threats;
Smart Signs (The Netherlands): provides personal 'way finding' information for visitors so that they reach their destination quicker and without difficulty;
Blaast (Finland): a cloud-based platform for mobile phone applications.
Noem (Spain): construction using sustainable wooden materials;
ParkGreen (Spain): solar-powered car charging station;
HelioCaminus (Sweden): specialist in solar thermal technology.
Ennesys (France): company supplies industrial-scale environmental energy systems based on biofuels;
Sunuru (The Netherlands): created a lightweight solar power solution for car parks that boosts solar panel generation by up to 50%;
Naked Energy (UK): Design and innovation company developing solar technology that generates electricity and heat.
The EIT Entrepreneurship Awards will be announced during the European Entrepreneurship Summit, which takes place at the Royal Academy of Science in Brussels on 21 February.
The award ceremony (18:00) will be hosted by Pat Cox, President of the European Movement and former President of the European Parliament (2002-04).
The event will be followed by a press corner (19:00) with Commissioner Vassiliou, Alexander von Gabain, chair of the EIT Governing Board, and Benoît Cerexhe, Minister, Brussels Region.
The awards are organised in collaboration with the Science|Business Innovation Board AISBL, a Belgian not-for-profit association which also manages the Academic Enterprise Awards (ACES), which recognise enterprise in universities and research institutes.
To register for the conference or awards ceremony, email
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
The core mission of the EIT, which was established in 2008 as an autonomous EU body, is to promote the competitiveness of Member States by bringing together excellent higher education institutions, research centres and businesses to focus on major societal challenges. It aims to achieve its objective through the KICs, a pioneering concept of cross-border public-private-partnerships. One of the main objectives of the KICs is to foster new business creation within existing companies and by creating new ones.
The European Commission has allocated a budget of €2.8 billion1 in the next financial framework to consolidate the development of its existing KICs and to establish six new ones covering areas such as healthy living and active ageing, raw materials, added value manufacturing and urban mobility (see IP/11/ 1479).
Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)
€3.2 billion taking account of estimated inflation in 2014-2020