ENRICH in the USA Roadshow in Europe

News item

From the 17th to the 21st of February 2020, ENRICH in the USA held its first Roadshow in Europe with an 11-member US delegation that included representatives of ENRICH in the USA Centres, reputed investors, angels, Institutional Venture Capital & Corporate funding, universities and professional firms. The five-day event entailed a rich programme of visits of 11 business support organisations (accelerators, incubators, universities, and other organisations) and government agencies in 5 European cities: Brussels, Luxembourg, Budapest, Lisbon and Barcelona.

The roadshow provided a unique opportunity for EU tech start-ups, SMEs, entrepreneurs and other actors interested in internationalising to the US to pitch their venture to and take part in pre-organised bilateral discussions and networking opportunities with US experts without having to travel to the US! The US experts came from various backgrounds (e.g. investor/angel/university/corporation) and as such were looking to support EU start-ups in different ways, including: recruiting and investing in talents, searching for potential partnerships and collaboration opportunities, discussing possible PoCs/Pilots and Co-development opportunities, etc.

The first day started with the visit of Hub.Brussels - Brussels Agency for Business and Support, at Start It @KBCwhere start-ups enrolled in the Hub’s programmes pitched and networked with the delegation and met with a representative of the European Commission’s DG Grow – who explained to the delegation the support that the EC provides to European start-ups and SMEs. The day continued with a trip to Luxembourg, where the delegation visited the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology to learn about the Luxembourg tech and startup ecosystem (Chamber of Commerce, Luxinnovation, etc) and from start-ups in the Fintech sector, and discuss collaboration opportunities, and University of Luxembourg’s (Belval) incubator, where the delegation met some of the university’s most innovative start-ups through a well-organized networking event that ended up late in the evening.

On the second day of the trip the delegation travelled to Budapest and visited Startup Campus to meet and listen to the pitches of Hungarian innovative businesses. The delegation continued its trip in Budapest with the visit of the US Embassy in Budapest and Central European University’s (CEU) InnovationsLab - which was voted Hungary's best incubator - where about a dozen start-ups pitched, and then engaged in pre-arranged “speed dating sessions” with the members of the US delegation.

The fourth day took place in Lisbon where the delegation visited some of the most important and reputed business support organisations in Lisbon: Beta-i, Startup Lisboa incubator and Lispolis, during which overall more than 25 organisations pitched and discussed collaboration opportunities with the US representatives.

The final day took place in Barcelona where the delegation visited ACCIÓ – the Catalan Agency for business competitiveness, where over 15 start-ups and entrepreneurs presented their ventures. Following, a tour of Barcelona Tech City took place, where the delegation could see the wor-space of many innovative start-ups in Barcelona, as well as meet with the Mobile World Capital team (responsible for the GSMA Mobile World Capital Show).

Overall, the US delegation was highly impressed by the innovative ideas of the European start-ups, as well as the delivery of their presentation. Through the numerous exchanges that took place, the US experts did succeed in finding the type of start-ups that were matching their profile and interests, and as such there is a high likelihood that the created relationships will result in investments and collaborations in addition to the networking and initial support provided during the tour.