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02 Oct 2015
GREAT SUCCESS AT THE “INNOVATION INVESTMENT FORUM”, 24-25 September 2015, Corfù (Greece)
Event organized by E.R.F.C. and ATLANTIS Consulting SA

On 24-25 September 2015 SMART INNO project aroused great success thanks to the Adriatic Ionian Macroregion “Innovation Investment Forum” event, organized by E.R.F.C. (European Regional Framework for Cooperation http://erfc.gr/) and ATLANTIS Consulting SA (http://www.atlantisresearch.gr/index.php) at the Port Authority Hall of Corfù (Greece).

The initiative aimed to raise awareness between different stakeholders of the Adriatic Ionian area on the possibilities to invest in Innovation and on the characteristics of the Innovation Ecosystem in the area. Many actors are already involved in different manners to support Innovation and they had the opportunity to present their tools and initiatives and sharing information for cross-fertilization.

On the 1st day (24 September 2015) there was the welcome speech by the Vice Governor of the Ionian Islands Region (Mr. Ioanis Fontanas), then the floor was given to a wide parterre of representatives of the “Institutional sector”:

  • EC- DG Research & Innovation – Greek National Documentation Center on H2020 programme;
  • INTERREG ADRION Programme on its rationale and main priorities (in cooperation with the other EU macroregional strategies);
  • Greek Managing Authority of EU Territorial Cooperation Programmes, responsible on INTERREG programmes;
  • European Investment Fund (EIF) on the measures for financing Innovation (its platform..);

It was then the chance to hearing the state of the art of the “Private sector”:

  • European Business Angels Network (EBAN) depicted the state-of-the-art of Business Angels networks in Europe and in the world and he provided very useful suggestions and recommendations what to focus on with the creation/set up of an Adriatic Ioanian Business Angels Network (AI BAN), as one of the main objectives of the SMART INNO project;
  • European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) described Crowdfunding platforms and Early stage investment industry in Europe;
  • World Bank (WB) focused its intervention on the “Investment Readiness Programme”, a WB initiative developed in the Adriatic-Ioanian region to support innovative start-ups & SMEs.

A first Round Table with representatives of “Alternative Financing Instruments” (Venture Capitalists, Crowdfunding, Ethical Funds, Regional and National Innovation Funds) exchanged their views on the pros and cons/barriers and opportunities on their daily activity in supporting entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas in different sectors and several EU Countries.

A second Round Table was organized by involving 9 Business Angels from 6 EU and non-EU Countries. The discussion gave to the wide public the picture of a quite homogeneous context of operativity, despite typical differences depending on the country of origin.

The last Round Table was focused on the intermediary organizations, which pave the way and support the entrepreneurs from the idea to the real business inside the Innovation ecosystem of the Adriatic Ionian area.

The morning of the second day (25 September 2015) was devoted to discuss abou the creation of an Adriatic Ioanian Business Angels Network (AI BAN). The first seeds were thrown and further exchanges between Business Angels, their networks, intermediary institutions (expecially facilitator of Innovation processes, Incubators, represnetatives of innovative SMEs..) and European Commission and International Funding Organizations (EIF, EIB, etc.) are now needed in order to draft a successful strategy of AI BAN.

Closing of the “Innovation Investment Forum”

Mr. Nikolas Petropoulos, representative of E.R.F.C. organization, expressed his thanks for the interest and efforts, the pannellists and the SMART INNO project partners have made within the initiative. He recalled fruitful discussions, exchanges of knowledge and experiences beyond the Forum in order to set up the Adriatic Ioanian Business Angels Network (AI BAN).