The European Commission's 'Investment Forum' initiative, designed to introduce IT entrepreneurs to investors and business developers, is seeking to expand around the EU.
European research and development has a strong and recognised track record of producing new, world class technology. Bringing this to the fast changing ICT market is one of the major challenges facing European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
"More needs to be done in Europe to accelerate this process. The Commission supports the R&D efforts of SMEs through its programmes but it cannot intervene directly in subsequent market approaches and business development processes," said Rosalie Zobel, head of the EC unit in charge of the Investment Forum.
"We will concentrate on building new bridges between dynamic entrepreneurs and the community of investors. It is this partnership that will transform SMEs into global market leaders," she said.
The EC said it is planning to develop the forum system around the EU, to give the many thousands of companies in EU R&D programmes a chance to meet investors. In addition, it will look at helping large companies that have small spin-off businesses.
"We must not just look at R&D projects, but at projects which look at technology transfer. With research, we need to be the best in the world in Europe. The Investment Forum and innovation is part of this," said Zobel.
The Investment Forum initiative was launched last year, with 28 companies seeking investment. Five of them found investors which, compared to national figures, is a high rate, said Thomas Heimer, co-organiser of the Forum.
"This year, out of a list of over 200 companies, we chose 50 of Europe's most promising ICT companies seeking capital, compared to 28 last year. They came from all EU member states and associated countries, except for Portugal," he said.
"The company there could not submit its plans in time. We evaluate the Forum at the end to give direction to those companies which fail to find investors," he said.
The forum attracted over 100 of Europe's leading venture capital investors and is hoping to help more companies secure investors year by year.
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