In conversation with EYIF President, Nicholas ZylberglajtJan 15, 2020
Founded in July 2010, the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) is the leading organisation for youth innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe, reaching 500,000 people cross continent and hosting yearly projects aimed at targeting key issues in the startup and innovation ecosystem; such as the Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow (WER), launching in March 2019. As well as supporting a number of EU-Partner Projects, in our role as Startup Europe Ambassadors i.e. MY-GATEWAY Consortium and Started Project.
As we move closer to our tenth year of operation, we caught up with EYIF President, Nicholas Zyberglajt to take a nostalgic look back into how the organisation has transformed over the past decade, and also at what’s in store for the future:
“In order to continue to perform well, we need to continue engaging at the European level and connecting the local ecosystems to the European level, this has always been the power of EYIF.” – Nicholas Zylberglajt, President of EYIF
What are the top three ways in which EYIF has transformed over the years?
EYIF started as an organisation deeply embedded in the Brussels bubble, but over the years we have proven to be the perfect link between European level and local/regional levels. Adding to this, the European tech ecosystem has dramatically changed in the last 10 years.
Previously, basic elements of an ecosystem had to be established: role models and success stories, early financing, strong universities and top talent – all working together and creating synergies. However, today the focus has moved more into the realm of access to finance and funding for companies, and for European innovation to be competitive on a global scale, within and beyond Europe.
What are milestones/achievements are you most proud of?
In July, we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of EYIF, and to be one of the pioneers in the European Tech and Startup ecosystem makes us extremely proud. We were the first to go to places like Cluj, Cracow, Lisbon, and we were at the beginning of the Berlin explosion as a global tech hub. Now, with WER, we are reaching another milestone and personal priority, which is promoting a more diverse European Tech ecosystem.
What do you think has been the biggest challenge/obstacle for EYIF over the past decade?
We have always had more ideas, than we have had available funding, so we have had to make sometimes difficult choices.
For example, we wanted to setup the Euromentors association but due to a lack of funding we had to stop the project. This would have been an impactful and powerful project, in order to raise the level of mentoring in the EU. We have also had small obstacles in our daily work, but EYIF has always proven to be extremely resilient and has always won new partnerships and maintained strategic relations like the European Commission, European Parliament and the US State Department.
How will EYIF continue to perform well in the current innovation and tech environment?
Renewal and continuity are two sides of the same coin if you want to have an impact. We are a mission-driven organisation and our mission will continue to be as strong, as we started. In order to continue to perform well, we need to continue engaging at the European level and connecting the local ecosystems to the European level, this has always been the power of EYIF. We also need to have a strong thought leadership in particular on Deep Tech and the influence that AI will have in our modern societies. The Tech for Good idea is something that has always been at the forefront of what we do at EYIF.
What are you most excited about, in 2020?
Expanding our Women in Entrepreneurship programme and launching a new set of policy talks on our core issues.
To keep up-to-date with the latest from EYIF visit the website page here: https://younginnovator.eu
More information on our Women in Entrepreneurship project can also be found here: https://euwomenroadshow.eu/