The EC (European Commission) had shared some great news recently with regards to the economy and new businesses. It launched its brand new FIWARE Accelerator Programme, with the aim of fighting the current economic crisis with invention through investment.
Over 80 million euros are destined to be given to various entrepreneurs and businesses to give them a head start, but the interesting thing is not how much money is going to be given to these new start-ups; it’s the way the money is being managed.
16 so-called ‘accelerators’ have been chosen to develop and participate in this ambitious and innovative project. These accelerators will not only decide where the money should be invested, but will also provide invaluable support and mentoring to the different entrepreneurs and SMEs who receive the funding. The goal is to support and promote 1,300 SMEs and start-ups, hopefully resulting in roughly 300 brand new and blossoming start-ups.
There are obviously certain stipulations that candidates for the programme should take on board. Firstly, it is up to them, to choose to submit to the accelerator that would be the best match for their business plans. The 16 accelerators all work within and specialise in specific digital economic domains including Social and Learning, Manufacturing and Logistics, Media and Content, Agrifood, Energy and Environment, Transport, eHealth and Smart Cities.
This gives the candidates the chance to specifically pitch their business models and plans to the individuals and organisations that will be best able to support them and help them grow. I think this is a really ingenious idea, as often an SME or entrepreneur will just have to find investment wherever they can, regardless of what the investors experience in business is and regardless of which sector they were successful in.
The other stipulation set by the EC for the FIWARE Accelerator Programme is that they must make some use of FIWARE technologies. FIRWARE is a new and quickly expanding cloud based public and completely royalty free infrastructure used to for the design and production of inexpensive and efficient internet programs and services.
As remarkable as it sounds, I think the scheme is actually very sensible. By taking the knowledge and experience of already successful businesses and giving them the power to invest money in young Europeans with European funding, in my opinion, there can only be a positive outcome.
Not only does it sound very challenging, which in itself can be a great way to motivate a new business to achieve the best it can; but it just sounds to me as a very effective and clever way of getting the right support, advice and investment to those businesses that are going to use it best.
Everything nowadays seems to have a digital counterpart, so it makes sense that the programme should promote and encourage the use of technology to grow start-ups and small businesses.