Being an SME, especially one in the field of biotech, is about much more than just making a product and selling it. SMEs are an integral part of a massive, thriving ecosystem of universities, corporations, commissions, investors, policymakers and more! Sharing knowledge and resources within this ecosystem is an integral part of growing as an SME.
Many of the players involved in this ecosystem have been converging lately at events held by the European Commission. The CEO of Cellix, Vivienne Williams, has been making the absolute most of these opportunities.
Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology - Lecce, Italy
The first of these events occurred after Cellix received an invitation to collaborate with The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre back in October 2018. The goal was to write a report on Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology to be used as scientific support to European Policymaking.
Here Vivienne attended and provided the viewpoint of SMEs in Europe. She showed, through Cellix’s successful business model, how vital a strong Intellectual Property strategy is to technology transfer for SMEs. The report has recently been published here and we are excited to see how it will help shape the future of European policymaking in the area.
Empowering Women Innovators - Brussels, Belgium
Next up, Vivienne was selected to pitch at the Empowering Women Innovators event in Brussels in April 2019. With less than 10% of European Innovation Council (EIC) funded companies being led by women, the event addressed the issue of access to finance for women in tech. A problem that is much further reaching than the European Union.
Many exciting developments came from the discussions including the creation of networks and a specific EIC fund for women-led companies. Another integral part of the event was to promote female role models as a positive influence for future generations. To go about this, 12 companies were selected to share ideas on the issue and then to further pitch their businesses.
If you weren’t already aware, we were delighted to see Vivienne win the award for the best pitch! Aside from such spectacular validation, the event was an excellent experience to network with fellow SMEs and investors alike.
Funding Opportunities for Breakthrough Innovation - Dublin, Ireland
The following week Vivienne attended a talk on Funding Opportunities for Breakthrough Innovation by the European Innovation Council (EIC) in Dublin. The event discussed €2bn of funding to be offered by the EIC to finance disruptive, market-creating innovations and the next wave of programs that will facilitate this.
This event was particularly close to Cellix as we have long been collaborating with the European Commission in their funding programs and we have had multiple parts to play in the most recent Horizon 2020 funding scheme. One project we were involved in under H2020, won the award for Most Innovative Project from the EC and a write-up has just been released of our latest Inish Mini-Bar project which can be read here.
After such a successful past with the European Commission, it was very exciting to be present at a discussion of the next wave of funding.
The Financing Journey - Paris, France
Before we knew it, Vivienne was off again, this time to Paris, to take part in The Financing Journey. Another event organized by the European Commission designed to teach small companies about the road towards an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Further to the interactive educational session, there was also another pitching session at this event.
Of the roughly 40 companies that applied, Cellix was one of 12 chosen to pitch their business and guess what... we won the award for best pitch again!
Some of the investors present at this pitching event actually had investments in lab-on-a-chip technology. Given this, it was particularly encouraging to know that Vivienne won the award of best pitch amongst judges who understood and saw the value in what Cellix does.
All in all
Our involvement in these events, which incorporate important aspects of the wider biotech ecosystem, is far from over. In fact, Vivienne has made it a personal objective to get out and continue expanding Cellix’s reach into the business world. One can only hail to how well connected the tech world is. It was not long before new faces became familiar ones at later events.
Outreach has shown us how incredibly supportive of SMEs the European Commission and individual Venture Capitalists themselves are. A conversation with a VC always leads to further ideas, opportunities and networking, even if they aren’t in your field.
These last months have opened many doors and broadened the horizons for technology and financing in Cellix.
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