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“My entrepreneurial role model is Bill Rutters, founder of Chiron, who after having become a renowned senior scientists then grew into an outstanding entrepreneur with a strong smell for markets and commercial opportunities,” explained Alexander von Gabain, Chairman of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Governing Board during the presentation of the conference Youth and Entrepreneurship-Drivers of Innovation in Krakow (Poland).

This conference organized by the EIT, held 19 to 21 October 2011, brought together entrepreneurial students, representing the EIT community and the KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities), academia, businesses and policy makers to interact in an open, creative and inspirational way.

Biocat, as the organization that is driving and coordinating the bid for a future EIT knowledge and innovation community in health in Catalonia, assisted in the workshops focusing on important fields for future businesspeople like developing ideas, transforming them into business and access to funding.

Over the three days, European students had the opportunity to identify and begin to think like businesspeople in their respective areas of expertise. They were also able to contribute to the future entrepreneurial and educational agenda of the EIT.

Europe needs a strong focus on entrepreneurship

It is in the public’s best interest that Europe deal with numerous social challenges. Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit are key to facing these changes. Although we have great assets like universities and research bodies of excellence, as well as strong industries, ideas often don’t reach the market. This problem isn’t new and the European Union’s EU2020 strategy has a clear message in this regard: Europe must devote significant additional efforts to becoming a knowledge and innovation economy.

The EIT’s mission is precisely to support entrepreneurship and training. For this reason, they work through the KICs, which foster innovation in terms of new products and services, either by creating new companies or in existing ones, and watch over business talent. This way, the KICs not only help generate knowledge and new jobs, but also take action regarding the challenges facing society in Europe and the world, like climate change, sustainable energy and the future of ICT.

At the conference in Krakow, the first EIT awards for entrepreneurs were announced, which will be given out in 2012. 

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