BoostUp! RIS by EIT Manufacturing is a European business competition for innovative projects, startups, scaleups, and SMEs in the manufacturing sector with a geographical focus on RIS countries. The competition nurtures young entrepreneurial talent within the manufacturing sector and supports thriving teams and companies in different stages of development.
Kaitlin McGovern (Senior Program Manager, Business Creation), Jasmina Popovska (Business Creation Manager, CoLocation Center East), and Gianluca Grifi (Business Creation Manager, CoLocation Center South) of the Business Creation pillar of EIT Manufacturing explain why your manufacturing company should join BoostUp! and what’s in it for you:
BoostUp! RIS is organized by the Business Creation pillar of EIT Manufacturing which is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). What is the mission of EIT Manufacturing and what is Business Creation about?
Kaitlin McGovern: EIT Manufacturing is an innovation community within EIT that connects the leading manufacturing actors in Europe. Our vision is to develop innovative products and services, foster new business, encourage growth, and nurture young entrepreneurial talent within the manufacturing sector.
The vision of the Business Creation pillar is to empower high-growth, profitable, and socially impactful companies. We do this primarily by supporting companies with a range of business development services as well as access to finance. Our Pan-European presence, the ecosystem of key players in the manufacturing sector that we’re able to convene, our collaboration with other EU institutions, and our commitment to being a long-term strategic investor provide a unique value proposition for the companies we work with.
To especially support young and promising companies in their development and growth process, we developed BoostUp! – a competition for innovators, startups, scaleups, and SMEs to provide them with support and guidance to tackle their business challenges.
What is BoostUp! RIS about?
Kaitlin McGovern: BoostUp! is all about cutting-edge European manufacturing innovation and technology. This year’s BoostUp! RIS event is the second edition of the event series which started in 2020 and is dedicated to the RIS eligible countries in Europe with the aim to specifically foster innovation there.
As part of the event, finalists in the BoostUp! RIS pitching competition will present their ideas and solutions. Our goal for this competition is to increase the visibility, access to markets, expertise, and finance for teams and companies involved. Plus, there are some great prizes for the top winners.
Applications for the BoostUp! RIS competition will close on 26th April. So, if you have innovative solutions in the area of manufacturing technologies, make sure to check out our website!
BoostUp! has 3 categories for companies to apply in: CREATE, ACCELERATE, TRANSFORM – can you explain them?
Jasmina Popovska: As our goal is to support thriving teams and companies in different stages of development, we have designed the BoostUp! competition to address the needs of each target group. Therefore, we created the 3 different categories Create, Accelerate, and Transform.
In our CREATE category, we are targeting the growth of entrepreneurial teams into companies and innovative projects into innovations that address critical manufacturing pain points, while in ACCELERATE, we are looking for startups and scaleups that have already gained traction and are ready to expand to new markets or customer segments. Here we mainly focus on providing business development and growth support for scaling internationally. The TRANSFORM category is intended to assist established SMEs in their transformation challenges related to new technologies or new business models, which would ultimately help them become more competitive.
What are some of the specific business challenges and technologies startups can address through the BoostUp! competition?
Jasmina Popovska: The applicants for BoostUp! RIS should have innovative solutions and technologies that fit in one of the EIT Manufacturing flagship areas. We are looking for new business ideas that contribute to increasing the flexibility in product design and production; minimizing the use of resources, energy, and material in production systems; creating new and highly efficient value-chains through collaboration and business on digital platforms and value networks; or enabling great workplaces, flexible production, and sustainable human work through smart use of automation and robots.
This year’s priority technology domains for BoostUp! RIS are: Simulation & Advanced Engineering Tools, Industrial VR/AR, Industrial Robotics, Logistics Tech, Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), Predictive Maintenance, Advanced Sensors, Advanced Detection (IR/Noise/etc.), Industrial Cybersecurity, Connectivity and IoT Infrastructure, Data Analytics/AI, Digital Twins.
You have already supported many startups during BoostUp! 2020 and continue to work with them. What are the key achievements of those collaborations?
Gianluca Grifi: During 2020, we connected with over 200 startups all across Europe, mainly through our BoostUp! competition events. Each of our 25 regional winners received up to six months of dedicated support provided by our Business Creation team, of which a large portion is still ongoing. We have experienced noteworthy milestones, especially in the areas of business development, IP management, access to finance, access to market, and internationalization strategies. For us, however, BoostUp! is only the first step towards connecting the participating startups with our EIT Manufacturing ecosystem.
What is in it for the winners of the competition? How many winners will there be?
Gianluca Grifi: The winners will receive “growth packages” of Business Creation support services, financial prizes of up to € 10.000 to be spent on specific R&D and go-to-market activities,in addition to visibility and international publicity through our EIT Manufacturing communication channels. In the BoostUp! RIS edition, we will award the best eight teams.
Can you share any tips for startups planning to apply?
Gianluca Grifi: Paraphrasing Reid Hoffman (*), “click on the APPLY button and build your plane on the way down!”
Take a look at the BoostUp Grand Final 2020 below and make sure to apply for the BoostUp 2021 edition by 26 April!
(*) “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down” – quote from Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author, and co-founder of LinkedIn.
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