A delegation of European business leaders and business support providers arrived in Newcastle recently to see and hear about the latest innovation happening in the North East and to discuss a three-year European-wide innovation project in which the North East is a test-bed region.
The delegation were all members of the Open Innovation 2.0 Lab (OI2.0LAB) working group and as part of their two-day visit, attended VentureFest, a cross-sector event that gives regional businesses the chance to network with leading North East companies as well as local start-ups.
The OI2.0LAB is an exciting three-year Horizon 2020 project. It enables entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Europe to tackle business and social challenges through open innovation collaborations that span beyond their organisational and national borders. It helps SMEs to innovate by providing access to expertise and helping to establish partnerships across European countries.
The OI2.0LAB working group met to review the pilot activities which have been taking place in the two test-bed regions of the North East in the UK and Stuttgart in Germany over the last year they also discussed ways of sharing the project’s ground-breaking work internationally.
One of the group, Alison Machin, Innovation Manager for the Innovation SuperNetwork said: “This visit was about showcasing the pioneering work that is happening in the North East and highlighting that the region is open to international working, international markets and working with partners from across the world.”
Following the meeting, the group moved onto Venturefest where they had the opportunity to meet over 800 start-ups, local businesses and leading regional companies.
Another member of the delegation, Patrick Ferran – Co-President and Chief Sales Officer of Belgian company Ninesigma, gave a keynote presentation at the event, sharing his thoughts on open innovation and how it can help business growth.
The group included 15 members in total, representing 10 organisations from eight European countries. These included Q-plan International and Ethniko Kentro Erevnas Kai Technologikis Anaptyxis from Greece, Steinbeis Innovation and Wirtschaftsfoerderung Region Stuttgart Gmbh from Germany, Tech Tour Global from Bulgaria, Europe Unlimited SA and Ninesigma from Belgium, Intrasoft International from Luxembourg, and RTC North and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership from the UK.