400 participants gathered for another successful EBN Congress
Over 270 delegates, 25 start-ups and 100 speakers from over 34 countries, converged in Brussels for the 24th EBN Congress from 28 to 30 October at the Albert Hall.
Entitled New Frontiers for Innovative Entrepreneurs, the event provided the delegates with insight on the latest trends in business and innovation support, while showcasing opportunities for the client companies of EBN member's to grow their businesses global, through the network.
Much valued networking moments were added to 17 content sessions that counted on the speeches from top experts including Microsoft, SAP, Altran, World Economic Forum, Euronext, Deloitte, Continental, Umicore, Amway, StarCube Accelerator, EIB Institute, ESA and Congress sponsors EUREKA Network, AWEX Agency, among others. Four parallel Special Interest Groups (SIG) meetings were organised for Internationalisation, Acceleration & Funding, Bioeconomy and Green Economy grouping over 50 EBN Members to discuss future joint opportunities and projects in these areas.
Moreover, on the 28th October in the afternoon, the participants had the opportunity to sit in to the EU-Brazil CONNECT Final Conference. This was the final showcase of the CONNECT project that has been exchanging innovative entrepreneurs between Europe and Brazil, in the last two years. The European Commission, SPI, the Brazilian Representation to the EU and six entrepreneurs presented the results of this initiative.
Among the Congress delegates from 34 countries around Europe and the world, there were two main delegations from China and Taiwan, as well as representatives from Brazil, USA, Canada, India, Russia, Lebanon, Colombia, Morocco, Indonesia and South Korea. The audience consisted of many EBN certified EU|BICs - incubators, accelerators, clusters – project partners, researchers, local and regional authorities, other European associations and many officials from the European Commission including Cabinet members and Directors from DG Grow, DG Connect, DG Regio, DG Research & Innovation, the JRC and the Executive Agency for SMEs.
EBN’s CEO, Philippe Vanrie, commenting on this audience stated: “the solid presence and support of the European Commission confirms our belief that local and regional actors should take up the EU|BIC model if they indeed want to cross new frontiers for - their - innovative entrepreneurs. We hope the EBN Congress will continue to serve as a platform for international partnerships that allow our entrepreneurs to grow global, guarantying the best quality of support.”
This year's traditional Welcome Cocktail took place at the Brussels Region Parliament and counted on welcoming speeches from EBN President Álvaro Simon de Blas and Jan-Mikolaj Dzieciolowski, Cabinet Member of the European Commissioner for Regional Policy. The Gala Dinner was hosted at the Brussels Comic Strip Museum where the newly certified EU|BICs were handed out their certificates.
Finally, two awards were given out during the Congress: the CommBeBiz award bridging bioeconomy to business with eight life changing research projects; and theACE award, presenting the Most Investor Ready, Best Living Lab Experience and Most Impressive International Growth, to three finalists of the over 120 ICT start-ups supported by the project.
Next year’s EBN Congress, the 25th of its kind, was officially announced to take place in Guimarães, Portugal on 28-30th of September 2016.
The event also sparked interested from the local media, with the presence of 15 journalists and over 1000 interactions on Twitter, making the #EBNCongress hashtag a trending topic in Belgium. Read some of the feedback from our participants at https://twitter.com/hashtag/ebncongress.
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