The European Young Innovators Forum, co-founded by Kumardev Chatterjee, Nicholas Zlyberglajt and others was officially launched by European Commissioner for Digital Agenda (2010 – 2014) Neelie Kroes, in July 2010 at the first InnovationAxess2010 events, part of the non-profit EU Innovation 2020 series; a set of coordinated, coherent and multi-stakeholder oriented events intended to drive the take-up of full lifecycle EU innovation.
Over the decade, this international and collective ethos has been an integral part of our brand identity as seen through our past projects and events, starting in 2012, which marked EYIF’s first formed activity as we broke into the start-up and innovation ecosystem as a rejuvenating entity, an solution to the recent economic recession, surmised under the heading of ‘InnoTour Year’.
This early year activity saw EYIF defined by four key innovation driven campaigns that aimed to build the conversation around youth innovation in Europe in response to the global economic recession including;
- InnoCoffee, a programme centred around making innovation experts more accessible to young people;
- Innovation Roundtable, aimed at engaging European policy makers and Members of European Parliament (MEPs) directly with the needs of youth innovation;
- Unconvention, an annual conference that brought together innovative young Europeans and policymakers, investors, and corporate personalities to discuss and create more innovation driven enterprise in the EU;
- InnoTour that promoted EU youth innovation abroad
Expanding into the e-skills sphere during 2013, which established EYIF as a strong supporter of youth enterprise across the continent marked by the InnoApps Competition, alongside Chinese technology company Huawei, which teamed up young people from Europe and China to jointly create innovative mobile apps to create smart solution for cities, which ran between 2013 – 2017.
Taking on a pro-innovation standing in 2014, EYIF continued to build partnerships within the public and private sector, participating in the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, for their European Entrepreneurship initiative that advocated the idea of fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship in Europe.
As well as embarking on the InnoTourUSA 2014, to obtain first hand insights from the tech hub of Silicon Valley, as well as key innovators in Washington DC and New York, as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) run by the US Government. Also running a series of ‘role model’ workshops with the European Commission in Poznan, Poland; Paris, France; Berlin, German; Olomouc, Czech Republic; Athens, Greece; London, England; Madrid, Spain; Bucharest, Romania; Lisbon, Portugal and Budapest, Hungary.
In 2015, EYIF continued to collaborate further with leading public and private sector bodies including the European Commission, Deloitte, LEWIS PR, Slush, EBN and DIGITALEUROPE. This ultimately led to the publication and pledge of the commemorative EU Startup Act 2020 in 2016; a detailed policy proposal aiming to help build a framework in which European entrepreneurship and innovation can realise its full potential. Focused on:
- Accessible Finance for Entrepreneurs;
- Simple Startup Creation;
- Competition Policy for the Digital Age;
- Entrepreneurial Exchange;
- E-Skills for All;
With Industry 4.0 the following year, in 2017, across Europe propelling EYIF into the next stage of activity as a fully formed, and ever developing, organisation, seen through the now annual continuation of InnoPitch and the Unconvention conference; which also hosted the EU’s 1st Drone Awards, to celebrate companies, innovators and entrepreneurs who are creating value in Europe and pave the way for the future success of the drone economy in Europe, boosting jobs, innovation and new business models.
In 2018, EYIF reached another milestone moment, as the organisation was officially recognised as Startup Europe Ambassadors by the European Commission. A title which we still uphold today, through our collaboration with EU projects, such as the aforementioned STARTED Project, and also the My-GATEWAY Consortium. An initiative under the Horizon 2020 framework that aimed to strengthen the capacities of high-tech start-ups and innovative SMEs in the Central and Eastern European region run in consortium with 14 pan-European organisations.
“In 10 years, the European tech ecosystem has emerged into what is truly needed to succeed in the global competition; to have a vibrant and mature ecosystem where the weakest link is as important as the strongest link. EYIF has played a key role in making this a reality and our projects, initiatives and results demonstrate that. The next decade will hopefully deliver an European Union that will be leading the race in diversity, deep tech and tech for good. Showing the European way to have a sustainable and positive impact the world to come.” –Nicholas Zylberglajt, EYIF President
“EYIF was started to help young Europeans and European society to overcome traditional risk-aversion /move out of comfort zone/embrace challenges including failure, the mission inscribed in our motto of ‘Think, Do, Change’. In these 10 years we have helped many achieve just that as well as European society to be much more accepting of innovators and entrepreneurs. It has been an fantastic journey of a decade and looking forward to the decade ahead.”Kumardev Chatterjee, Chairman, EYIF