Eureka World of Innovation

Governments obviously provide support to the riskier R&D phase of a company’s product development cycle, putting their trust in the private sector to provide further investment. One of the biggest challenges facing early-stage companies and even more mature enterprises, however, is how to best get their products and services to the market.

At the same time, taxpayers’ money that is invested in R&D support schemes does not always translate into economic return; the success of many SMEs and start-ups remains largely limited to the R&D stage.

Even with substantial support provided to companies through the EUREKA Network, it can still be very expensive and time-consuming for companies to find the extra financing needed to finalize product development and effectively reach the relevant markets.

It is with these critical needs in mind that the Israeli EUREKA Chairmanship has prioritized the development of new financing instruments. Such instruments are designed to expand the access of EUREKA portfolio companies to complementary financing beyond that provided by the existing support schemes of governments that participate in EUREKA.

The idea is to develop new complementary funding instruments for the “R&D Phase” as well as for the follow-on, “go-to-market” phase. The “how” of this challenging objective relies on several activities being planned for this chairmanship year:

* Creating a new “Search& Match” web machine hosted by the EUREKA website, which will expose investors to EUREKA portfolio companies, increasing awareness and transparency and assisting in matchmaking.

* Initiating an annual “Eureka Investment Shop,” where private financing and knowledge‐based companies market to each other. The first investor’s event is planned for June 2011 and will be hosted by the Israeli chair during the annual High-Tech Industry Association (HTIA) Conference in Jerusalem.

* Addressing market failure in the go-to-market phase: The EUREKA Secretariat and the Israeli Chairmanship are working together with the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to create a new public‐private fund to invest in EUREKA portfolio companies, and/or provide loans with favorable conditions to EUREKA portfolio companies.

Since its establishment 25 years ago, EUREKA has focused on stimulating and supporting innovation as a means for business growth. Hence, EUREKA wants to see the innovative and cutting-edge technologies it supports during their R&D phase reach the market. Through such initiatives, the support of the European Commission, and the already participating national funding schemes, EUREKA is working to become an even stronger enabler for innovation in Europe.

Israel Shamay is the Chairman of the EUREKA National Project Coordinators forum and heads the Israeli EUREKA Chairmanship Program.

Contact: eureka-chair@matimop .org.il (please just remove the space)

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