Grants for Future Internet SMEs and Entrepreneurs (New!)

EMC2 would like to invite you to a special funding and mentoring event for Web Entrepreneurs and SMEs, providing the opportunity to access new technologies, expertise and collaborate on cutting edge research.

£3.5m (€4.2m) of grants to be given out in the next 6 months to web entrepreneurs and tech SMEs. Destined to support the building of new internet based solutions, and enhancing existing ones.

Funding of up to €90k for individual entrepreneurs and up to €150k for SME to build the Future of Internet Technologies on:

  • Learning and Training
  • Social Integration
  • Wellbeing and Health

This event is hosted by Digital Shoreditch & EMC2 to enable you to gain crucial insights from key individuals and experts running the FI-ADOPT project and also find out more about the wider FI-PPP programme.

Where and when
Event location: Digital Shoreditch HQ (Playgen), 42-46 Princelet, London, E1 5LP, http://goo.gl/FP0eRH
Date and time: Thursday, Jan 15th from 5:30-6:30 pm
Followed by Digital Shoreditch January Meetup  6:30-9:30pm

Event agenda
17:30 -18:30 FI-ADOPT Presentation with Q&A
18:30-21:30 Digital Shoreditch January Meetup, with FI-ADOPT drop-in info desk
Please register to attend here: https://ds15-january.eventbrite.co.uk

More about FI-ADOPT
FI-ADOPT is a project accelerator, supported by the EU. The second FI-ADOPT call is now Open, and Closes on 30th January 2015.

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Grants for Future Internet SMEs and Entrepreneurs

EMC2 would like to invite you to a special funding and mentoring event for Web Entrepreneurs and SMEs, providing the opportunity to access new technologies, expertise and collaborate on cutting edge research.

£3.5m (€4.2m) of grants to be given out in the next 8 months to web entrepreneurs and tech SMEs. Destined to support the building of new internet based solutions, and enhancing existing ones.

Funding of up to €90k for individual entrepreneurs and up to €150k for SME to build the Future of Internet Technologies on:

  • Social Integration
  • Wellbeing and Health
  • Learning and Training

Come and find out more at the FI-ADOPT free event hosted by EMC2 and Playgen! As the only FI-ADOPT funding event being held in the UK before the first call deadline, you'll be able to gain a crucial insight from key individuals and experts running the FI-ADOPT project and also find out more about the wider FI-PPP programme.

Where and when
The event will take place in the elegant Octagon, Grade II listed Queen's Building at Queen Mary, University of London
Event location: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/about/howtofindus/mileend/
Date and time: Monday, Sept 29th from 3-6pm

Event agenda
15:00 Registration and general information
16:00 Presentation on the Grants, followed by a Q&A and networking
18:00 Close
Please register to attend here: http://fiadopt-grants-for-future-internet.eventbrite.co.uk/

More about FI-ADOPT
FI-ADOPT is a project accelerator, supported by the EU, and the first call is now open, and closes Oct 30th!

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Join Us in Vilnius for ICT 2013!

ICT 2013, "Digital Agenda for Europe", will be held in the historic city of Vilnius, Lithuania from 6th to 8th November. Comprising a conference, exhibition, networking sessions and investment forum, ICT 2013 will be attended by over 4,000 researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, industry representatives and politicians from across Europe, providing a unique opportunity to meet leaders of digital innovation and enterprise, and to help shape future developments in a field of critical importance to European economies.

The central focus of the event will be Horizon 2020, the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for 2014-2020.

EMC2 Networking Session

EMC2 will be running a special networking session entitled "Towards More Agile and Responsive Support for Innovation". We will be asking tough but necessary questions about EU support for research and enterprise, and hopefully stimulating new and constructive ideas for improving European technology research cooperation and industry support.

Questions to be addressed include:

• What are the main concerns of industry with regard to EU-funded innovation support?

• How can we reduce bureaucracy, duplication and waste?

• How can we make the EU funding monolith agile and responsive to industry needs?

• Should projects be shorter, smaller and more focused?

If you wish to attend the EMC2 networking session, please register for the event below. This will help us with the planning and organisation.

Eventbrite - Towards More Agile and Responsive Support for Innovation

If you are using Twitter, you may use the dedicated twitter hashtag #ICT2013emc2 for this event.

An Open Invitation

If you are attending ICT 2013 in Vilnius and have a view on any of these (or related) questions, we would be delighted for you to come and give a short (5-10 minute) presentation in the EMC2 networking session, which is scheduled for Friday 8th November, 11:50-12:35. Please contact: george.whale@emc-square.org

If you're not attending Vilnius but would like to tell us your views on the above, please contact us also.

ICT 2013 will be opened by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, and Vice President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes.

Photo: Backyard of the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, by Lestat (Jan Mehlich).

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Submit Your Business Idea to .ItCup in Pisa!

Do you have an idea for turning research into business?

.itCup is a business competition taking place at the Internet Festival of Pisa, Italy, in October 2013. It is organized by Registro.it in partnership with Polo Tecnologico.

The competition organisers are seeking seed-stage projects that have a business plan or a draft for development. Up to 8 entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in .ItCup, where they will receive free coaching and an opportunity to present their start-up pitches to a group of leading investors.

The event will consist of 4 phases:

1) Selection
You can register here. Ideas will be evaluated on originality, innovation and market potential.

2) Training and personal coaching
The 8 selected seed-stage projects will participate in a training course and personal coaching session to improve their marketing pitch and business plan.

3) .ItCup day
The selected projects will be presented to investors.

4) Follow-up
Winners will receive a report with proposals and guidelines as a starting point for business development.

.itCup is open to everyone: students, graduates, researchers, professors, freelancers, individually or in teams.

To submit your business idea go to www.itcupregistro.it, complete the application forms and send them to segreteria@itcupregistro.it by 7th September 2013.

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EMC2 offers a unique opportunity for technology startups!

A unique opportunity for technology startups!

Are you a technology entrepreneur? Would your startup team like to participate FOR FREE in the bitspiration 2013 Demo Day contest in Poland? Then read on ...

bitspiration (23-25 June 2013, Krakow, Poland, http://bitspiration.com/) is a premier event for creative technology entrepreneurs, one of the biggest technology/ Internet Festivals in Central and Eastern Europe.

The bitspiration Demo Day is a startup contest. With EMC2's recommendation you could gain automatic entry to the semi-final stage – as well as free access to the rest of the festival – for two of your team members.

To be considered for this unique opportunity, please send a one-paragraph resume describing your startup venture to: george.whale@emc-square.org.

Find out more information about the: Demo Day and Demo Day Rules.

Finally, in case you are interested in helping, bitspiration is raising money to fund a prize for the startup contest.

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Successful presence of EMC2 at the GIE 2013

EMC2 had a successful presence at the exciting international exhibition 'Greek Innovation Expo 2013' that was held from 16 to 19 May at the Helexpo Palace exhibition center in Athens, Greece.

The EMC2 team presented more than twenty innovative applications based on the research conducted by the centre's research partners, of which more than ten innovative ideas belong to our Greek research partner: the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas / Information Technologies Institute (CERTH/ITI). The EMC2 team also conducted several one-to-one business meetings with Greek and international companies that laid the groundwork for future collaborations; we sure hope that those collaborations will lead to the transformation of our partners' research achievements to successful innovative products.

Mr L. Gymnopoulos presenting EMC^2

Dozens of professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs, representatives of companies, researchers and other stakeholders visited the EMC2 stand. Finally, at the invitation of the organizers the centre's Secretary, Mr Lazaros Gymnopoulos, presented EMC2 and the Greek research partner (CERTH/ITI) in a special workshop on the final day of the event.

For a full report on the outcome of the Greek Innovation Expo 2013 please download the GIE 2013 Organizers' Press Release (en) (21).

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Research to Entrepreneurship: Workshop Report

Research to Entrepreneurship: Report of One-Day Workshop for Technology Researchers

On Friday 7th September 2012, 19 researchers from the UK, Ireland, Greece, Lithuania and elsewhere – all of them working in fields of media computing and communications – met with top-flight entrepreneurs for a first-of-a-kind event in Tech City, London’s thriving hub of technology innovation.

Lazaros Gymnopoulos (EMC2 and Informatics and Telematics Institute, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Workshop Aim

Organised by George Whale and Lazaros Gymnopoulos of EMC2 and Paul Massey of mentorwell.com, and hosted by UK Trade and Investment at Hackney House (UKTI’s ‘pop-up’ showcase venue on Shoreditch High Street), the goal of the “Research to Entrepreneurship” workshop was to inspire technology researchers (both doctoral and post-doc) to develop commercially viable products or services alongside their research.

Paul Massey of mentorwell.com explains how mentoring works

Providing the inspiration, the ‘Tech City Mentors’ – a dozen entrepreneurs, investors and professionals with extensive collective experience of technology business, and exceptionally well placed to help workshop participants navigate paths to entrepreneurship via commercialisation of research.

Participants brought with them a range of commercialisation proposals in various stages of formation – some quite detailed, some still sketchy. They included proposals for:

• data summarization services for wearable-camera-based market research;

• anti-counterfeiting technology for online shopping;

• shape analysis products for medical diagnosis;

• holistic solutions for photo trading;

• indoor digital antenna systems;

• gesture mapping engines for mobile devices;

• novel technologies for image classification and search.

Lean Startup Methodology

Conceptually the workshop was built around Lean Startup Methodology, a methodology that encourages product development and business success by working smarter but not harder. The methodology sees every startup* as an experiment that attempts to answer a question. The question is not "Can this product be built?" Instead, the questions are "Should this product be built?" and "Can we build a sustainable business around this set of products and services?" This is achieved with a rapid product development, testing, measurement and iteration cycle aimed at reaching a minimum viable product (MVP) which people will use and buy. It is important for the entrepreneur to identify flaws in a product and change them, or accept a business failure quickly (for example, due to lack of demand) and then pivot towards a new product.

A core element of Lean Startup Methodology is the ‘build-measure-learn’ feedback loop. The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a MVP to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible. Once the MVP is established, a startup identifies quantitative and qualitative metrics to determine the viability of the product, for example the number of users. A cause and effect loop is established, allowing products to be refined towards customer needs. Failure should not be feared but – as in Silicon Valley – an ethos of Failing Often, but Failing Early should be respected as part of the entrepreneur’s learning cycle.

(*Mark Babbitt, YouTern Founder and CEO defined a startup as “an entrepreneurial-driven organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model".)

Parallels Between Research and Entrepreneurship

Starting off the workshop with a presentation entitled “Researcher as Entrepreneur”, Dr Kevin Byron of Queen Mary, University of London explored parallels between research and enterprise, and compellingly demonstrated them by mapping the ‘Enquiry Wheel’ onto ‘The Enterprise Cycle’.

“Researcher as Entrepreneur”: Dr Kevin Byron (Queen Mary, University of London) shows parallels between research and entrepreneurship

Kevin enumerated the skills needed by entrepreneurs, and showed that many of the researchers’ existing core skills are directly transferable to the business domain. He spoke of demographics, lifestyle and new scientific knowledge as drivers of innovation, and finally pointed to important sources of expert knowledge for would-be technology entrepreneurs, including university business units. (Download Kevin Byron: (151).)

“I founded a technology company – so can you!” Dr Victor Henning, mendeley.com

An interesting presentation...

Next, in a talk entitled “I founded a technology company – so can you!” Victor Henning of mendeley.com spoke about his personal journey from PhD research to successfully running a company. (Victor’s product Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network for researchers that supports organisation of sources, online collaboration, and discovery of new research.) He showed the many obstacles facing technology startups and spoke of the huge sense of achievement that is gained in overcoming them.

Workshop Sessions

In the first workshop session – "Tomorrow’s Products From Today’s Research" – Tech City Mentors guided participants through the first stages of generating a business model from their initial concepts using the The Business Model Canvas.

The Business Model Canvas, described as a ‘visual brainstorming tool’, includes nine interrelated business building blocks. In face-to-face sessions with mentors, researchers worked individually or in small groups to evolve startup ideas and populate the Canvas by identifying Customer Segments, Revenue Streams, Key Activities and other building blocks, and then reshaping the initial startup proposition in light of these discoveries.

As became apparent to participants during this iterative process, no element of the Canvas works in isolation and the initial business idea is not implemented in a vacuum.

Mentor Peter Rosen (left) helps researchers develop a viable business model using The Business Model Canvas

Mentor Jacqui Taylor (centre) guides another group of researchers

The Canvas helped participants to understand whether their business proposition derived from their own research activities or was driven by customer demand. The process helped them to uncover the Value Proposition to be provided to customers, i.e. the problem solved or the need satisfied.

In the second workshop session – "Presentation Masterclass" – Annette Kramer showed participants how to make a ‘killer’ pitch to potential backers and investors by communicating the business concept quickly, clearly and assuredly. Three brave participants were put through their paces, rapidly improving their pitching techniques under Annette’s skilled guidance.

Workshop session 2: Presentation Masterclass led by Annette Kramer (right)

Elements of the pitch

Steven Bourke of Dublin City University makes his pitch

Next up: Sheffield University’s Dr Deepayan Bhowmik

In the third and final workshop session – "Speed Mentoring" – each participant faced Tech City mentors one after another in a fun, frenetic mentoring session designed to promote rapid pitching, critical questioning and goal-defining feedback.

Speed mentoring encourages concise presentation, critical questioning and goal-defining feedback

Conclusion

Rounding off the day, Ricardo Parro inspired participants with his personal account of entrepreneurial success – the establishment of printi.com.br, a startup that set out to ‘disrupt‘ the online printing industry in Brazil. Ricardo elaborated his ‘Top Ten Findings’ on the path from research to entrepreneurship, which included:

#1 Fail. Learn. Improve. Fail again.

#3 Stay Positive.

#5 Always look for problems to solve.

#6 Find your business partners.

#10 It is not only about a startup. It is about what you become when you are in a startup!

(Download Ricardo Parro: (109).)

Final presentation of the day: “From Research to Entrepreneurship” by Ricardo Parro, CTO of printi.com.br

There followed a group feedback session in which researcher-participants shared their main lessons of the day.

Finally, Paul Massey invited participants to follow up the day’s work via continued contact with mentors using the online collaboration tools at mentorwell.com.

------

EMC2 may organise further workshops of this kind. If you are interested in attending one of them, please contact us.

Presentations

Research to Entrepreneurship Programme (136)
Kevin Byron: (151)
Victor Henning: I founded a technology company – so can you! [To follow]
Ricardo Parro: (109)

Videos

[To follow]

Further Information

Hackney House: www.hackneyhouse.org
Mentorwell: mentorwell.com
UK Trade and Investment: www.ukti.gov.uk
The Lean Startup: theleanstartup.com

Contacts

George Whale at EMC2: george.whale@emc-square.org
Paul Massey at mentorwell: paul.massey@mentorwell.com

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Royal Academy of Eng. Entrepreneurs Award 2013

For early career researchers and academics -- £40,000 prize for the winner!

As the UK's national academy for engineering, the Royal Academy of Engineering brings together the most successful and talented practitioners from across the engineering sectors for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

The ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs Award has been established to identify entrepreneurial researchers, working in UK universities in the field of electrotechnology, who are at an early stage in their career. The award will be presented to an individual or team demonstrating considerable entrepreneurial promise and the potential to benefit the UK's future prosperity.

The winner will receive a personal prize of £10,000 together with a further £30,000 to invest in the development of the winning idea. In addition to the first prize, two additional cash prizes of £2,000 will be presented to runners-up.

For further information please visit the Royal Academy of Engineering website or view the ERAF Award Leaflet 2013 (62).

There is no limit to the number of applications a university or institution may submit.

Applications must be received by Monday 22 October 2012.

If you have any questions please contact Sylvia Hampartumian at the Academy.

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‘From Research to Entrepreneurship’, One-Day Workshop

Eventbrite - "From Research to Entrepreneurship", One-Day Mentoring Workshop

• Are you a doctoral or postdoctoral researcher working in the field of media computing and communication?

• Have you thought about going into business?

• Would you like to receive mentoring from top entrepreneurs in London's Tech City?

• Do you want to learn how to commercialize your research?

EMC2 in collaboration with MentorWell and UK Trade and Investment, is organising a one-day workshop, “From Research to Entrepreneurship”, on Friday 7th September 2012 at the Hackney House in London. It’s specially designed for technology researchers like you, who’d like to know how to go about turning research into marketable products and services.

The FREE* workshop programme includes:

• Pathways from research to entrepreneurship
• Pitching ideas to potential backers
• ‘Speed mentoring’ with Tech City entrepreneurs
• Introduction to essential skills for technology business
• Inspirational talk from a successful entrepreneur
• Follow-up support, including access to online mentoring.

If you’d like to participate in the workshop, please email George Whale of EMC2 (george.whale@emc-square.org) attaching a half-page résumé and a half-page proposal outlining your initial ideas for commercialising a specific piece of technology research. This could be your own research or some other current research in your own field. The proposal should include: a brief description of the research, the product/ service that could emerge from it and the likely market for the product/ service (who will buy it and why?). All we're looking for at this stage is a brief outline of your ideas.

Applicants will be selected on the quality of their proposal.

Download the Research to Entrepreneurship Programme (136).

Apply now – only ten places available!

*Workshop includes free tea/coffee and lunch, but participants will be expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

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EMC2 Hosts First EC Meeting of European Accelerators

An accelerator is a private or public organisation that speeds and supports the development of entrepreneurial businesses by providing needed resources and services, such as funding and mentoring.

Last Friday 29th June, EMC2 hosted the European Commission’s first meeting of European accelerators. Chaired by Isidro Laso Ballesteros, representing the Commission, the meeting at Queen Mary, University of London provided a forum for exchanging ideas and experiences on supporting web-based innovation across Europe.

Participants in this initiative include Tech All Stars, springboard, f6s, PwC’s Accelerator, Startup Weekend Europe, Accelerator Academy, seedcamp, Startup Bootcamp, White Horse Capital, Bethnal Green Ventures, Microsoft BizSpark, Social Innovation Camp and Wayra -- among them some of the largest technology startup accelerators in the European Union.

The meeting began with a presentation by Isidro Laso about the Commission’s prioritisation of web entrepreneurship (Isidro Laso: (112)). Entrepreneurs, he explained, are crucial to Europe’s economy because they create the most jobs, and web-based businesses have the additional benefits of comparatively small start-up costs and potential for rapid growth.

Emphasising the need to act at EU level, Mr Laso outlined the EC’s comprehensive strategy and actions for encouraging and supporting web entrepreneurship in Europe. The actions include developing local entrepreneurial hubs, increasing the visibility of public and private resources for new companies, providing tax incentives for investors and entrepreneurs, fostering ‘crowdfunding’, opening up public data to web startups, improving technology education and culturally reinforcing the entrepreneurial ‘mind-set’.

He outlined new EU support for technology entrepreneurs, including funding for those seeking to apply Future Internet technologies developed within EU programmes, support for network building (mentors, entrepreneurs, investors, students) and finance for web innovation in areas of public interest.

A wide-ranging brainstorming session ensued, during which participants discussed specific ideas for encouraging and supporting web start-ups and enumerated current barriers to web entrepreneurship in Europe. These include a lack of role models at EU level, the need for skills development, under-involvement of large corporations in the startup ‘ecosystem’, and inflexibility of employment and immigration laws. The group considered ways in which the Commission might work with accelerators to strengthen the environment for web entrepreneurs.

Participants with experience of both US and European contexts were able to make interesting comparisons between the two. It was said, for example, that whilst Europe has “great technology”, the US is “way ahead” in management, investment, sales and marketing. The lack of a common, Europe-wide legal/ business framework was also cited as a significant barrier to investment, growth and cooperation.

Some argued a need for much more support activity for would-be entrepreneurs -- startup weekends, innovation camps, also social networking events connecting entrepreneurs with potential mentors and backers. Another highlighted need was for stronger linkage between technology industry and academia.

The meeting was very well received by participants, who broadly agreed that this could be the basis of a permanent forum for sharing ideas and experiences, for identifying the needs of European accelerators and web entrepreneurs, and for establishing clear channels of communication between accelerators and the Commission.

Mr Laso suggested that, as a first step, each participant submit a 2-page outline of thoughts and suggestions, considering especially the needs of web entrepreneurs in Europe and how the Commission might best address them.

A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for October 2012.

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