The Commission announced the partners in a pan-European network who will implement a €20 million European Innovation Council (EIC) action supporting Ukraine’s innovation community. The winning consortium is called “Seeds of Bravery”.
This ambitious action aims to provide a much-needed lifeline to Ukrainian start-ups and help them grow and integrate within the European innovation ecosystem, so that they can become key economic drivers behind Ukraine’s economic recovery.
The initiative will support at least 200 Ukrainian deep tech start-ups with up to €60 000 each to further develop their innovation and business activities. In addition, the companies will also receive non-financial support, such as business advisory services, coaching, mentoring and matchmaking.
The action will increase the capacity of Ukrainian innovators to identify European market needs and comply with the EU regulatory framework, enter new markets and interconnect with key innovation stakeholders and networks. The initiative also aims to better prepare Ukrainian start-ups to compete for future EIC and other EU funding opportunities. Specific focus is given to support for innovative solutions for rebuilding Ukraine.
The €20 million support will be provided through a pan-European network of start-up associations, enterprise support centres, incubators and accelerators. The network, selected following a competitive call, is coordinated by FundingBox Accelerator in Warsaw, Poland. The consortium is made up of 22 organisations and start-up associations, including 6 Ukrainian partners, as well as partners in 13 other countries.
This support is complementary to the ongoing ‘European Research Area for Ukraine’ (ERA4Ukraine), Horizon4Ukraine and ERC for Ukraine initiatives, as well as the dedicated fellowship scheme of €25 million under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) for displaced researchers of Ukraine.
The grant agreement is now being prepared. The project will run for two years, and the first start-ups are expected receive funding already in 2023.
Launched in March 2021 as a major novelty under the Horizon Europe programme, the EIC has an overall budget of over €10 billion between 2021 and 2027. In February 2022, the Commission adopted the annual work programme of the EIC, opening funding opportunities worth over €1.7 billion in 2022.
To mobilise all possible resources and provide support that can help Ukraine in these difficult times, the EIC work programme has been amended to launch an additional call for proposals targeting Ukraine’s deep-tech community, which has a strong potential for creating breakthrough innovations. In the past years, the Ukrainian start-up scene has been growing steadily and increasing its contribution to the Ukrainian economic growth. This action should strengthen the Ukrainian tech innovators and ecosystems, supporting innovative solutions for rebuilding the Ukrainian economy and infrastructure after the war.
Relations between the EU and Ukraine in the field of research and innovation date back to 2002 when the European Community and Ukraine signed an Agreement on cooperation in Science and Technology. In 2015, Ukraine became fully associated to Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme (2014-2020), with 170 Ukrainian entities receiving close to €46 million in EU funding and showing innovation leadership and excellence in researchers’ mobility, as well as in transport and energy. In 2016, Ukraine and the EU also concluded an agreement on the association of the country to the Euratom Research and Training Programme. The Euratom Research and Training Programme aims at improving the levels of nuclear safety and radiation protection. On 10 May 2022, the Commission announced the launch of the new MSCA4Ukraine scheme, part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. With a total budget of €25 million, the new scheme enables scientists from Ukraine to continue their work in Europe and countries associated to Horizon Europe, helping to safeguard Ukraine’s research and innovation system, and the freedom of scientific research at large.
Source: European Innovation Council | News (https://bit.ly/3MrnWed)