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Brussels, 21 February 2000

European Commission supports training to help scientists launch biotechnology companies


Growth and job creation in new sectors such as biotechnology are driven essentially through the setting-up and development of new companies. As researchers are seldom acquainted with management and finance, the European Commission is supporting a series of workshops across Europe, to help entrepreneurs launch their start-ups, by preparing viable business plans1.

Increasing chances of success through training

Scientists seeking to exploit their discoveries, by setting up a biotechnology company, are often faced with a dilemma - lack of management and finance skills. As they rarely can afford the time and cost of a professional training or the advice from consultants, Biobiz® provides another option.

This intensive three-day training workshop operates with a hands-on approach with a dedicated software package. It provides the basic tools and know-how needed by scientists to understand the business planning that is required for starting-up a company and forces them to consider all aspects of such a venture.

"Biobiz® has been developed to meet the specific business planning needs of biotechnology entrepreneurs", says programme director Michel Lepers of EuroBiobiz. "The aim of this initiative is to provide scientists with the skills and knowledge needed to be able to put coherent business plans together which will enable them to attract real interest from venture capitalists."

Biobiz® has obtained a EURO 100,000 grant from this EC and is also supported by the firm Arthur Andersen and Eurobiobiz, which promotes and facilitates the development of small and medium-sized biotech companies.

Providing a nurturing environment for bio-entrepreneurs

This initiative is in line with the orientations of EU research policy, through the scientific and technological objectives of the Fifth Framework programme which aim to contribute to European social goals such as fostering growth and employment.

By training researchers in this domain, the European Commission aims to foster further entrepreneurial initiatives and promote small research-based biotech firms in Europe, leading to job-creation and growth. The main challenge is to link the ability to discover with the capacity to produce - a central tenet of the Cell Factory key action of the "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources" programme - in short, to set up a nurturing environment for bio-entrepreneurs to start up and flourish.

Pursuing a successful initiative

An earlier Biobiz initiative enabled 71 potential entrepreneurs to follow the course in various European locations in 1998 and 1999. Some have since started their companies such as Newron (Italy) or Biotechnology Inflection Point .BIP. (France)

Who can apply?

The workshops are specifically designed for (potential) entrepreneurs in the biotech sector. Applicants should be researchers from Member and Associated states with a clear start-up project.

Applicants should have at least a basic understanding of what is involved in starting and running a business. For the course a working knowledge of spreadsheet software such as Excel® is expected. Candidates will be selected preferentially on the basis of the maturity of their start-up plans.

The EC's Quality of Life programme, together with Arthur Andersen and Eurobiobiz, provide a subsidy of EURO 1400 for citizens of Member and Associated states wishing to attend a Biobiz training course, the cost of which is €2200, thus reducing the cost to EURO 800 only.

Biobiz workshops (one more to be announced):

- Paris (FR) 22-24 Feb. 2000

- Cambridge (UK) 21-23 March 2000

- Frankfurt (DE) 4-6 April 2000

- Milan (IT) 26-28 April 2000

- Strasbourg (FR) 3-5 May 2000

- Madrid (ES) 16-18 May 2000

- Stockholm (SE) 6-8 June 2000

- Dublin (IRL) 20-22 June 2000

- London (UK) 4-6 July 2000

- Berlin (DE) 18-20 July 2000

- Tel Aviv (IL) 5-7 Sep. 2000

- Eindhoven (NL) 19-21 Sept. 2000

- Lyon (FR) 3-5 October 2000

- Lisbon (PT) 17-19 Oct. 2000

See the workshop programme at this website

To register, contact: Michel Lepers, EuroBiobiz, Tel: +33-4-73.64.43.36 Fax:+33-4-73.64.43.37 - e-mail: michel_lepers@compuserve.com

For further information, please contact:

Stéphane Hogan, Quality of Life programme, Research DG, Fax: +32.2.299.1860, E-mail : Research Contact

Michel Claessens, Communication Unit, Research DG,

Fax: +32.2.295.8220, E-mail: michel.claessens@ec.europa.eu


1. This initiative is organised within the key action 'Cell factory' of the 'Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources' programme, which is one of the 4 thematic programmes in the EU's 5th Framework Programme (1998-2002) with a budget of €2413 million. It is characterised by a problem-solving approach embodied by 6 key actions, underpinned by generic research activities and support to research infrastructure.

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PRESS RELEASES | 23.02.2000