Following the 2021 physically-held Cluster Missions in Milan, Valencia, and Regensburg, the Block.IS project held its last Cluster Mission on the 25th of November in Brussels, Belgium gathering clusters and SMEs from eleven countries.
Block.IS Cluster Missions aim to bring clusters and blockchain SMEs together, to inspire them to learn more about Block.IS ecosystem and to understand better how they can benefit from EU funding, business and technical support. Welcoming all of the participants, Sebastiano Toffaletti and Déborah Goll from the European Digital SME Alliance have provided a roundup of the work done and importance to keep the pathways for collaboration and innovation open.
In parallel, a separate session dedicated to SMEs of the second and third acceleration programmes (of the 2nd and 3rd Block.IS Open Calls) was held in order to prepare the startups to pitch before investors. Find out more about the Top innovators here!
MEET THE STARTUPS & CLUSTERS
Kicking off the pitching session, Tomi Pikuli introduced ANRD, Albania Network for Rural Development, a civil society initiative for the improved well-being of rural communities. Next was Valentina Beg Deljanin representing ICT Cortex, a Montenegrin cluster dedicated to Information Technologies, Innovation, Education, Design and Technology Development. Tackling the other side of Blockchain (coin), Meike Krautscheid has presented the work of Bitcoin Association and Smart Ledger, a company dedicated to implementing customized strategies using ground-breaking blockchain technologies.
The Cluj IT Cluster Romania was presented by Paula Comansecu (Sipos), introducing the work they do providers of software services and solutions, contact with universities and research institutes, public bodies and other catalyst organizations. Viktorija Drangovska, CEO & Co-founder of Codeit Solution, is building one of the first open-source content management systems based on Java that lets organizations create engaging websites and digital experiences around their existing IT infrastructure and is part of the digital transformation in North Macedonia. Another member of the ICT Cortex Montenegro focused on the development, implementation and maintenance of software products was Data Design presented by Branimir Bukilic. Aivars Lipentis has introduced the work of ENRIGA and how they help innovative companies scale internationally. Innovation, Education and Science – IES Technology Albania were presented by Endri Pikuli and was followed by the Montenegrin IT cluster that dedicates to the internalization of the local IT industry. It was introduced by Armin Kardovic.
Work of OpenIntents, a community effort to promote and discuss the use of Android intents, Blockstack data sharing and similar concepts of modern mobile platforms was brought by Friedger Müffke. OpenSky Data Systems, a quality-oriented and dedicated IT and consultancy solutions company from Ireland was presented by Tudor Pitulac and next in line was Fiona Delaney introducing another Irish company dedicated to blockchain – the Origin Chain Network and Blockchain Ireland. Emiliyan Enev shed light on the work of ReCheck, a Dutch startup that helps businesses reach their sustainability and profitability goals by providing decentralised solutions. Coming from the ICT Cluster of Central Serbia, Branimir Dzenopoljac presented to the audience how the cluster cooperates with the republic and local authorities, companies and other organizations in the country and with international organizations and foreign partners in this field.
The session was concluded by Smilja Krajinović, representative of the Block.IS partner Vojvodina ICT Cluster recapitulating on the biggest successes and work done behind the Cluster Missions as well as pathways for future collaboration.
Following the pitches and opening the conversation on the future prospects and engagements, the audience had the chance to participate in two online presentations.
“Backing visionary entrepreneurs – The role of the EIC (Accelerator) in nurturing Europe’s innovators” – brought by Pierre Roubaud, EIC (European Innovation Council) Accelerator, EISMEA.
In order to better connect startups, clusters and other attendees, and introduce them to possibilities beyond the Block.IS project, a special session with Mr Roubaud from the EIC Accelerator, EISMEA, took place. Presenting the accelerator, the main instruments and characteristics as well as the focus on breakthrough, market-creating and deep tech Mr Roubaud highlighted their work, goals and structure in order to emphasize what is a good match for them. EIC Board itself is a group of leading innovators (entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and other deep-tech ecosystem stakeholders) and they have engaged in creating a programme for SMEs looking for scaling up high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets. Tailored-made services for all beneficiaries provide a base towards the vision of enabling and supporting innovations through a longer timeframe.
Mr Robaud also highlighted the ways in which startups can further engage and get support, introducing to the participants the Horizon Europe programme and services they provide to support their direct participation within a project consortium.
Closing the Cluster Mission and directly from the DG CONNECT, Mr Pierre Marro introduced the EU Policy Initiatives and policies for blockchain, ways of uniting and creating a common vision for further application of blockchain across the EU. Joint political vision, connecting global and European expertise, Public-Private partnerships, Investing in EU research, Innovation, Deployment, startups and skills as well as promoting and enabling legal framework are the main pillars of the EU policy initiatives.