On Thursday 2nd March, the event 'European Funding for Innovation & Entrepreneurship' took place. It was organised by the National Documentation Centre (EKT) in co-operation with the General Secretariat for Industry as part of the multi conference Hellenic Innovation Forum 2017. The event presented the European financial tools for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in addition to related services which EKT provides. The General Secretariat for Industry also presented the European Programme COSME for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), as well as the Mapping of the business needs of Greek start-ups. Indicative of the level of interest shown in the event by the research and business communities was the fact that it was held in a packed hall and a great number of questions were asked on the subject of funding opportunities the European programmes offer.
Georgia Tzenou (EKT and co-ordinator of Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas) gave a presentation of the Horizon 2020 programme, the EU funding programme for Research and Innovation for the 2014-2020 period, as well as funding opportunities and the tools provided for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.
EKT, as National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 and Co-ordinator of Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas, the largest Greek network supporting enterprises, provides services for Greek innovative enterprises at a European level such as technology transfer, access to new markets and funding, information about European policies and innovation management. Funding of enterprises may be in the form of equity investments, grants, loans/guarantees, awards, crowdfunding and indirect funding. This funding is through a number of programmes: Horizon 2020, COSME, INTERREG EUS AIR, CREATIVE EUROPE MEDIA, ERASMUS+, INNOSUPP VOUCHERS, NCP and Enterprise Europe Network.
With its long experience, infrastructures, know-how and excellent networking within the national ecosystem, the National Documentation Centre, as co-ordinator of Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas, can direct enterprises with particular needs to similar institutions and over 600 organisations from 60 countries in the European network or to services which will guarantee the expected outcome. Georgia Tzenou used the success story of the Intale company as a typical example of the capacity for support EKT and Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas have. As a result of being funded through the SME instrument, Intale, is now recognised as one of the most prominent companies in Europe and has expanded its activities into foreign markets.
Following this, the national representatives of the COSMOS programme, Timos Rekkas and Evangelia Solomou, from the General Secretariat for Industry, presented the European programme COSME for Competitiveness in Business and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, which has a budget of 2.3 million euro and works to improve access to funding (Guarantees & Venture Capital), European and global markets and the regulatory framework for the improvement of competitiveness. In addition, it aims to strengthen the business environment and promote entrepreneurship and business culture. The main priorities of the COSME programme are support for start-ups / scale-ups and the digitalization and modernization of European Industry.
The event’s final presentation, given by Yiannis Plemmenos and Aphroditi Theodorakakou ( General Secretariat for Industry, Directorate for the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises, Department of Policy and Support Structures– Managed by StartUpGreece), focused on the Mapping of the business needs of Greek start-ups, which was recently completed by the Directorate for the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises of the General Secretariat for Industry of the Ministry of Economy and Development.
StartupGreece is the digital platform for information, networking and co-operation set up by the Ministry of Economy and Development, which represents and manages the Directorate for the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises of the General Secretariat for Industry. It aims to promote entrepreneurship, support the business ecosystem of Greece, produce targeted information and an online environment for networking and developing co-operation.
The Mapping of business needs of Greek start-ups first investigated business needs of existing start-ups and those under development in Greece or Greek interests, through StartUpGreece. The survey lasted from 21/10/2016 to 25/11/2016, resulted in 128 completed questionnaires from 65 existing businesses and 63 businesses at various stages of development. The results, some of which were given in the presentation, are indicative and useful for further investigation, targeting and specialisation, and will be integrated into the National Observatory for Small and Medium Enterprises of the General Secretariat for Industry.
All the presentations and videos are available on the event webpage.
The EKT event was part of the Hellenic Innovation Forum 2017 (1-2 March) in which more than 1,200 people, representing businesses, public bodies, scientific and research institutions participated.