[Article by IMT Starter]
“EU sets its course further on the startups and scaleups scene in Europe through initiatives with a goal of connected Digital Single Market.”
A Startup Europe initiative funded by the European commission’s H2020 research & innovation program, Soft-Landing project helped startups and scaleups with multiple discovery missions. The project is designed to connect startups, investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs, corporate network, universities and other key experts of the European market, India and the US through market discovery missions for startups and ecosystem builders as well as supporting speaker and mentor exchanges across the consortium hubs.
The speaker-mentor exchange program of Soft-Landing helped in the transfer of knowledge, the know-how of the local ecosystems and developing the international outreach. The program has facilitated 50 exchanges of key ecosystem representatives, business leaders and academics in the past two years where speakers and mentors travelled to other ecosystems and shared the expertise of their local ecosystem.
Incubator IMT Starter facilitated 9 speakers-mentors exchange programs in Paris in 2018 and 2019 reaching 700 plus participants from different backgrounds. The speakers and mentors came from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Croatia providing their expert advice through workshops, mentoring and training programs. Not only they shared their expertise but the program also enabled exchanges between entrepreneurs from different countries.
The participants of IMT Starter are mostly its incubated startups and young entrepreneurs from the Paris region who are developing their startups and innovative projects. Thanks to the speaker-exchange program, they are exposed to international entrepreneurs and leaders at their early stage of development. In each program, participants exchanged their experience and project and received in-depth advice from experts in creative public speaking, performance, investment, business strategy and global entrepreneurship.
- French tech & global entrepreneurship — Apoorv Bamba, Ingenious Faces, Belgium
- Challenge Project Enterprise — Katrine Damgaard Foster, University of Southern Denmark and Arno Meerman, University-Industry Innovation Network, Denmark
- Talk Like Ted, Secrets to creating strong and powerful pitches — Adam Montandon, TEDxOdense International Event, Denmark
- #perform -The Unsexy Truth of Startup Success — Stoyan Yankov, Samodiva Masterminds, Denmark
- How to Build Purposeful companies? Start with Lean Canvas! — Farid Singh, Startup Wise Guys, Spain
- Commencement workshop: Entrepreneurship readiness & Importance of Strategic Focus — Marta Patricia, Keymon Ventures, Spain and Rodrigo Olmedo, uGlobally, The Netherlands
German tech hosted 13 speakers and mentors in Berlin and reached more than 600 people. The speakers, mentors and experts were invited from Belgium, Poland, Italy, Israel and the USA who brought valuable insights from their ecosystem and shared to the participants. The initiative assisted in building and fostering community relations.
The speakers brought their international experience and expertise which provided a unique platform to access different topics and people that usually do not get to meet in their local ecosystem. The program also provided a platform for discussion on challenges and opportunities faced by industries like cybersecurity, market adoption strategies and community meetups. The key takeaway of the program was the importance to explore, ask questions and create a European community.
- Cyber Security in Israel and Germany: Challenges and Opportunities — Nir Donitza, Deutsche Telekom, Israel; Liron Barak, BitDam, Israel; Adam Wolman, CyberX; Israel
- Meetup for the community — Saul Orbach, beachheadgroup, Israel
- Spotlight speaker at Soft-Landing delegation — Olivier Van Duuren, thedualarity.com, Belgium
- Go to market strategy — Rita Hairwood and Anna Tutak, u2i, Belgium
- Career path meetup — Tal Tochner, Pico Venture, Israel; Omer Kalderon, Selina, USA
- EU Grant Workshop — Louis Papaemmanuel, myeuconsulting, Belgium
- Innovare — The Innovation Meet up- Special Proptech edition — Zachi Flatto and Oded Caspi, contech, Israel
The goal of the program was not only to share the know-how but also to create meaningful connections with the international startup scene. The program facilitated approximately 1500 participants through 15 speaker-mentor exchanges where invited speakers shared their insights during panel discussions, workshops and presentations on the overview of differences in regulation across the globe. The topics covered featured regulatory issues relating to blockchain products, sales and marketing techniques in Europe, validation and experimentation when starting a business. The program created access to the speakers with expertise which is lacking in Lithuania. The program also connected the international leaders of the blockchain and crypto experts creating discussions with the local ecosystem representatives while sharing their knowledge on how businesses work in other cultures.
- Launch of SEB accelerator for fast growth — Jeff Burton, Woodside Creek, Germany
- SEB accelerator: training for companies — Ricardo Marvao and Marta Baptista, Beta-i, Portugal; Jeff Burton, Woodside Creek, Germany, Startup WiseGuys, Czech Republic; Björn Ühss, 22tribes, UK; Damjan Raic, DR Facilitation and Programs, Germany; Darius Moeini, NUMA, Germany; Todd Davey, IMT Starter, France; Dan Toma, DNB, Germany, Startup WiseGuys, Serbia
- Crafting a strong value proposition — M. Wallace Green, Startup WiseGuys, Czech Republic
- Sales Lead Generation — Mario Krivokapic, Startup WiseGuys, Serbia
- Startup Europe Blockchain Forum — Jeff Burton, Woodside Creek, Germany; Christopher Snook, World Tokenomic Forum, USA
- Attracting VC Funding — Cristobal Alonso, Startup WiseGuys, Spain
Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
The project partner Crosspring brought entrepreneurs and experts together in the form of workshops and lectures enabling exchange between entrepreneurs and experts coming from Germany, Lithuania and Spain. Crosspring invited three mentors, together reaching about 70 people during their talks. The audience consisted of both participants of the Soft-Landing missions (Ecosystem builders and Startups, FinTech oriented). Also, there were a few people present from our community that were interested in meeting the group and the speaker we brought for the occasion.
The important take away of the programs were awareness of the international market nevertheless the maturity and the support of local players for partnerships in fostering the growth of startups.
- Managing remote teams — Anuj Sehgal, HokoCloud, Germany
- PR strategies for startups — Craig Corbertt, Publicize, Spain
- Neo Finance’s road to success — Evaldas Remeikis, Neo Finance, Lithuania
On October Soft-Landing hosted a conference “Scaling-up in Europe — Masterclass” with its sister project Startup Lighthouse to share its insights on European ecosystem and global markets. The event brought together more than 400 participants along with alumni of Soft-landing missions. While bringing startups and ecosystem builders together, Soft-Landing mentors and ecosystem leaders facilitated 10 workshops focused on scaling challenges.
- Growing fast without breaking (too many) things — Robin Weninger, shaping work Academy, Germany
- Sell while you sleep — Aurelija Petrauskyte, Trafi, Lithuania
- How to fail at building a team? — Olla Jongerius, TCC Tribe, Germany
- The steps to building brand love — Richard Versluis, Rosterbuster, The Netherlands
- How to get your first check from an angel — Marta-Patricia Aparicio, Keymon Angels, Croatia
- How experiments helped me fail fast and succeed! — Farid Singh, Startup Wise Guys, Estonia
- His rise and fall (and rise again) — Jeroen Bontje, Symbid, Estonia
- Scaling without failing — 10 things you need to know — Julien Coulon, Cedexis, France
- Open panel discussion — Anu Oaks, EstBan, Estonia; Rodolfo Lissia, Mind the Bridge, Spain
The speakers connected ecosystems as well as disseminated the know-how of their local ecosystem in exchanges programs. This has enabled multiple partnerships with accelerators, universities and ecosystem leaders in EU, India and the US. Now the project partners are already planning such collaborations in future which indeed has added value in accompanying startups and further development of the ecosystem.
We would like to thank all our participants and mentors for supporting Soft-Landing and its programs. You can connect with them via our Soft-Landing ALUMNI community.
Niraj Karmacharya and the Soft-Landing team.