The young professionals, entrepreneurs and students presented ideas for business opportunities in areas ranging from healthcare to energy production and market information. The EIT Foundation young leaders' programme aims to discover a new generation of talented entrepreneurs who can drive the development of sustainable innovation in the EU.
The Annual Innovation Forum was opened by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, who is responsible for the EIT. She said: "For too long policies were based on the idea that investment in research would lead to innovation. This may be a pre-requisite, but it is not enough. High quality education is key to unlocking the talent which is at the heart of innovation. I congratulate these young leaders: they are proof that Europe has talent in abundance, in the academic, institutional, research and business sectors; in social sciences, law, engineering, chemical, physics and the IT sectors. We can and must drive innovation through support for entrepreneurial, collaborative and multi-disciplinary education."
Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President responsible for the Digital Agenda, who also attended the event, added: "We need to listen to our young people. They have the drive and talent to turn Europe around and deliver a better future. I am so pleased that the EIT Foundation is providing platforms for these excellent people and their ideas."
The main theme of the Annual Innovation Forum is on how 'data-driven innovation' can benefit society and the economy. In a nutshell, more data is generated today than ever before, but Europe needs to harness the full potential of this information to address the economic, environmental and societal challenges of our time. From better delivery of public services to more efficient energy use, data-driven innovation is seen as crucial for economic growth.
The young leaders, who are selected by the EIT Foundation, are following an innovation and entrepreneurship training programme which has included seminars in the UK and Belgium, as well as online sessions, with academic content provided by Imperial College London. Later this year the Foundation will also launch a programme offering internships within its founding organisations to help young people develop entrepreneurial and innovation skills.
Read the full press release "EIT Foundation: Young leaders present innovative solutions for Europe's future" (IP/13/280)