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The EIT Community Info Day provided information on the numerous programmes of the EIT communities to help startups and innovation actors

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will be presented for the first time in the Basque Country together with its nine communities dedicated to promoting innovation in areas such as climate, agrifood, health, energy, culture, digitalisation, industry, raw materials and urban mobility.

11 Sep 2023
EIT Food South

The event, called EIT Community Info Day, was held yesterday at the B Accelerator Tower (BAT), the entrepreneurship and innovation centre located in the Bizkaia Tower in Bilbao. On this occasion, the event revolved around the EIT itself, and its nine communities: EIT Climate-Kic, EIT Culture & Creativity, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT Health, EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Manufacturing, EIT RawMaterials and EIT Urban Mobility. It served as a letter of introduction to these communities and invited attendees to establish new connections with the EIT community.

At the event, key players in the innovation sector shared their knowledge and experiences with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation among the representatives of companies and startups present at the event.

Begoña Pérez Villarreal, EIT Food South Director, welcomed the audience and stressed the importance of innovation in a sector that feeds a growing population, highlighting the resilience and sustainability of the agrifood sector as key points for the future.

The next speaker was Guglielmo di Cola, member of the European Commission, who presented the New European Agenda for Innovation, adopted on 5 July 2022. This initiative aims to position Europe at the forefront of the new wave of deep technological innovation and startups.

This was followed by Xabier Otxandiano, Councillor for Economic Development, Commerce and Employment of Bilbao City Council. In his presentation he spoke about the role of European cities in sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship, and gave examples of these areas that have been worked on in the Biscay's capital, for example the Zorrozaurre project or Innolab Bilbao. He also highlighted Bilbao's contribution to the Basque Country's innovation strategy, and stated that the city is fully aligned with these strategies, working in its role as a city.

The next talk revolved around the vision and mission of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its regional innovation plan (RIS), presented by Teresa Thiebaut, head of innovation projects at the EIT. The representative highlighted the many opportunities that EIT innovation projects offer to all types of actors: entrepreneurs, citizens, local governments...

Leire Bilbao then took the floor to talk about the entity she presides, Innobasque, the Basque Innovation Agency. Bilbao highlighted the fact that the Basque Country is the leading region in Europe in terms of collaboration with partners, with more than 900 collaborations. He also presented two successful programmes promoted by the agency, Hazinnova focused on innovation and BIND 4.0 focused on internationalisation.

Just after, and before a short break, the history of EIT Jumpstarter was reviewed by Piotr Boulange (EIT Health). This programme seeks to generate an ecosystem that is ideal for creative and innovative ideas to become businesses. Seven of the EIT communities participate in this initiative. It has been running since 2017 and has trained more than 750 start-up teams.

Attracting local talent

The highlight of the day was the EIT KICKS talk, where the nine EIT communities presented their work to those present, with a focus on attracting local talent. Elvira Domingo, from EIT Food, remarked that this initiative, from its headquarters for Southern Europe in Bilbao, seeks to accelerate innovation in the agri-food sector by developing processes to create healthy and sustainable food. He also highlighted the different programmes developed by EIT Food, such as EWA, which focuses on rural women's entrepreneurship, and Water Scarcity, which aims to combat water scarcity.

EIT Urban Mobility was presented by Bence Huba. This community invests in European mobility companies to help them grow in a sustainable way. EIT Health, by Mónika Tóth, seeks to create an environment where the brightest minds in healthcare can work and research medical solutions. EIT InnoEnergy, presented by Piotr Pawelec, aims to accelerate sustainable energy innovations to achieve decarbonisation in Europe by 2050.

Continuing with the other communities, it was the turn of EIT Climate-KIC, led by Alberto Minguela. This climate-focused community works with 15 cities across Europe to accelerate their transitions towards CO2 neutrality and climate resilience. It is considered the largest climate innovation agency in Europe.

Veronica Rodriguez, from EIT Manufacturing, stressed that her agency seeks to bring European manufacturers together, through training and innovation. From 2019 it aims to foster a more competitive and sustainable manufacturing sector.

Imre Gombköto, from EIT Raw Materials, explained that this community seeks to foster the sustainable competitiveness of the European minerals, metals and materials sector. It is considered the world's largest innovation community in the raw materials sector.

EIT Culture & Creativity, led by Bruno Silva, is a knowledge and innovation community designed to strengthen and transform Europe's cultural and creative sectors and industries (CCSI) by connecting creatives and organisations.

And finally, EIT Digital, presented by Tuan Trinh, is a large digital innovation ecosystem that seeks to develop digital skills and competences to better exploit the potential of digital transformation.

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Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty
Zero Hunger
Good Health and Well-being
Quality Education
Gender Equality
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable and Clean Energy
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Reducing Inequality
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Responsible Consumption and Production
Climate Action
Life Below Water
Life On Land
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Partnerships for the Goals

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