Bright minds to help dealing with huge societal challenges
EU Top 50 Start-up convention kicked off at the 9th European Innovation Summit
Maria Koleva, Brussels
1 December, 2017
After just 30 years, there will be nine billion people living on this planet, and agriculture must double food production to sustain the global population with fewer resources and reduced environmental impact. It is expected over 90% of population growth to be heaped up in the ‘sun-belt region’. Solho, a start-up from the Netherlands, has developed an innovative system that uses the sun and sea water to generate all the streams required to operate a greenhouse facility. The system is completely off-grid, operates 24/7, and allows to dramatically decrease the operational costs by 90%.
CodeBerry, a young start-up from Hungary, directs its endeavours to find solution of the pressing issue that by 2020 the EU will face a shortage of 800,000 IT workers. There is a huge demand for developers in Europe, yet most IT education is solely available in English, and with 24 official languages in the EU, non-native English speakers prefer to learn in their own language. CodeBerry is building the largest non-English speaking programming school in the world. The platform offers hands-on education in web development technologies in the students’ mother tongue and simultaneously serves as a recruitment platform to land them new IT jobs.
Fotokite from Switzerland has developed the first ever unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to be approved by aviation authorities for commercial use in cities and above crowds of people. Imagine a 100m camera crane that packs up into the size of your carry-on luggage, the company explains. Fotokite creates self-flying aerial robotics tools for public safety, broadcast, and sports markets that provide real-time video for over 24 hours of continuous flight. Firefighters and public safety teams can use the system for immediate aerial situational awareness. Fotokite has a patented technology that is a major step ahead of traditional drones.
Indeed, the drone-kite made a round trip over the EP hemicycle in Brussels on 28 November, where the EU Top 50 Start-up convention for the first time gathered next generation of millennial founders, who are building disruptive solutions. On demand homework assistance app, a portable blood test machine, charging mobile phone by plant were also pitched.
This inspiring event manifested 50 brilliant innovative ideas ‘Made in Europe’ and was part of the wide agenda of the 9th European Innovation Summit that took place from 27 November to 1 December in Brussels at the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions. More than 800 entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and corporate representatives witnessed the pitches of the young entrepreneurs.
“These bright minds will help us to deal with the societal challenges in Europe,” Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP and Chair of the Knowledge4Innovation Forum Governing Board, pointed out. He recalled that the K4I forum started 10 years ago, as the road of top science and the road of innovation are rather disconnected, and this has to be changed.
Reflecting on how to make better use of available knowledge and resources, during the week, the participants discussed also robotics, blockchain, quantum technologies. Of course, the issue of financing was also in the centre of the debate, as the preparations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework are ongoing, part of which is the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.