24 January 2017

From Growing Global in a Post Brexit World to meeting the Women Innovators for EU Prize: Day 2 | Unconvention

If you missed the second day of Unconvention, read this article to learn more about each session.

  • Policy Session: Growing Global in a Post Brexit World

The British exit from the European Union has been one of the main political events of 2016. Uncertainty is the only characteristic when thinking about a Post Brexit Europe. We’ve invited senior experts and thought leaders on the matter in order to find out what they think are the possible consequences of Brexit would be, especially for startups.

MEP Eva Paunova, out host at the EP, commenced by saying that drafting legislation for startups can be challenging because, by the time the legislation is ready, the issues might be already outdated. Regarding Brexit, she thinks Brexit is a wake-up call for politicians to get things done faster and more swiftly.

On the effects of Brexit on startups, Nicholas Zylberglajt from EYIF said that because of Brexit, it will be difficult for the UK to attract talent from Europe as easily as it was pre-Brexit. At the same time, Nicholas said that it remains uncertain if investment funds will move from the UK; he predicts that some of them will do, especially from the fintech, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands might be more attractive to them.

Simon Schaefer from Factory thinks that innovation will slow down in the post-Brexit UK, more than in the rest of the EU. Simon mentioned that we need to gather more data on why 9 out of 10 startups fail, because ‘we only record data on the ones that succeed’ He also said that no one can ‘manage innovation’ but what we can do is to create the framework for innovation to take place. And Isidro Laso from the European Commission is doing just that.

Isidro said that Startup Europe will be reinforced in 2017 focusing on branding, a new method of work (looking for concrete solutions, e.g. connect startup ecosystems, talent, etc), internationalisation and data mapping. At the same time, he fully agrees with Eva Paunova, saying that the Commission needs to find ways to act quickly

  • Living in an Autonomous Machines World

Autonomous Machines are surely going to affect all citizen’s lives in the future, and not many aspects are going to stay untouched.

In this context, our speakers of the last session agreed, that Intelligent Transport System (ITS) are going to increase the safety and efficiency of transport networks, no matter if being private or commercial. Thomas Birr, Innogy’s Senior Vice President for Innovation & Business Transformation, is sure: “Something changed in the world”. He is trying to build up a global ecosystem with Innogy, Germany’s most valuable energy company and biggest European Startup.

Philippe Duvivier, representing Parrot, another partner of this year’s Unconvention, presented one great innovation on stage today and underlined: “Parrots does drones, but drones don’t matter. What matters are the sensors inside the drones”. During his live demonstration, he stressed the importance of precise location (indoor & outdoor), without GPS but impressively comparable to the human eye, based on ultrasound and stereovision.

Finally, the main benefits of the digitisation of transport, according to Nikolaus von Peter from the European Commission, are efficiency, safety and sustainability. With companies like Innogy, Parrot and numerous startups, the advantages of living in an Autonomous Machines world will be made available for everyone.

  • InnoPitch: Emerald De Leeuw wins the European Young Innovator of the Year Award

This year, our 6 finalists at the InnoPitch competition presented their ideas with determination, truly believing that their ideas and startups will succeed. The judges, Bart Becks from angel.me, Carol Lee from PwC UK and Wauter Remaut from Co.Station, certainly had a very difficult job in choosing between them.

The winner of the 2016 European Young Innovator of the Year is Emerald De Leeuw, with her startup, Eurocomply, a software that implements and understands the mandatory changes of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  • Meet the 12 finalists of the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017

The finalists of the Horizon 2020-funded EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017 are announced today by the European Commission. The shortlist contains twelve outstanding women entrepreneurs who have brought their breakthrough ideas to the market. For the first time, this year’s contest includes three finalists in a new category, the Rising Innovator, to recognise excellence in female entrepreneurs aged 30 years or under. All of the finalists have founded or co-founded a successful company based on their innovative ideas. Read the press release here.

  • Closing Plenary

Jyrki Katainen, the Vice President of the European Commission addressed to the young innovators a message of strong support from the Commission and concrete actions that they are taking in order to enable startups and entrepreneurship to thrive in Europe.
Dirk Ahlborn from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) coming from Toulouse to Brussels just for Unconvention. It was just announced that day that HTT signed with local officials and other stakeholders, the construction of a major R&D center in Toulouse. He then has shown to the public a fantastic presentation on the future of transportation and more specifically, the hyperloop, a method strongly and actively supported by Elon Musk. It’s clear that this super fast, feasible, safe, clean method of transportation; the good news is that we possess the technology for this and already a pilot project has already started in Quay Valley in California, to be finished in 2018. We can’t wait!