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Laura Lecci on the latest EBN report 'Shaping the Future of Incubation'

Taking stock of our position amid the ongoing coronavirus-pandemic, it becomes clear that our way of life and doing business have been radically transformed, with impacts on every step of our daily routines. With history as our teacher, we take this moment to look ahead with trust in our and society’s capacities to recover. Every crisis brings new opportunities. 
We already see both sides of the coin. We have to acknowledge those who have been extraordinarily impacted together with those who seem to thrive under the current situation. From the EU|BIC community and in the wider European innovation ecosystem, startups and SMEs operating in the B2B/B2C e-commerce, education tech, and medical equipment sectors rapidly expand as they exploit digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic. At the same time, we see businesses in the creative, cultural and tourism sectors being hard hit. Above all, the pandemic has taught us important lessons about resilience and the need to operate with greater agility.
Driving regional economic development and recovery, and providing the highest-quality business support stand at the core of the EU|BIC community’s mission commitments. As such, I am grateful that EBN in partnership with the CAST network, and the contributing partners such as the UNWTO can reflect and contribute to this crucial topic: the future of business incubation. 
The study gives us the insights we need to further our work and better support innovation leaders throughout Europe and beyond. It builds on the many EU|BICs around the world who took the time to share valuable lessons. Many of these reflections find their way in the case studies highlighted in this publication. 
We learn that digitalisation takes an essential part in our framework for the future. If used properly, it allows for EU|BICs to enter new markets and stimulate internationalisation. Remarkably, we notice how it drives inclusivity. Underrepresented groups and geographic areas are now able to join the services offered, from entrepreneurship stimulation to incubation programmes. Yet, by being distant, we also became more aware of the importance of being close to each other. 
Many EU|BICs have managed to swiftly adapt to the “new normal”. In the EBN Secretariat, as we notice what is happening all across the EU|BIC community, our teams become closer to each other than ever. From collecting and sharing critical information on regulations and (non) financial support measures, to harvesting best-practices, testimonials, and individual stories putting forward solutions and new approaches to the challenges brought by the crisis.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic puts a spotlight on our human condition. We are becoming even more aware of our “normal ” way of living and realise its impact on the environment and society. Indeed, the desire to be more impact-driven in our business activities keeps increasing, as does the ambition to be the change needed for a more just and sustainable society. 
EU|BICs demonstrate the ability to listen, understand and react quickly to the needs of innovators and entrepreneurs who are seeking to find more sustainable solutions with their businesses and in connection with their social environment. From the exchanges in the 2020 EBN Congress, we see the success stories of how new methodologies are first tested and applied internally by EU|BICs to be then shared with their client companies and entrepreneurs. As such, we uphold the highest quality of service delivery, learn from each other, improve and set out the roadmap for shaping our changing innovation ecosystems. 
Adapting will remain a challenge for the coming months, even years. Our strong connectedness among regions and the connections we build count more than ever. Being part of the same family of innovation leaders, the network is reassuring and fosters trust. Trust in the qualified support provided by EBN EU|BICs and their partner organisations. Trust in belonging to the same international community sharing the same values.

In the Technical Note below, we collect stories, data insights and take the opportunity to reflect on how Covid-19 is transforming business incubation and how we can take an active part in shaping it to be fit for the future. We hope to inspire you and share our confidence in the commitments that continue to drive the EU|BIC community.

Click Here to download a pdf version, or read the full document below
Published on 05-01-2021 00:00 by Joao Carvalho. 1912 page views

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