As per the government’s yesterday’s decision, the CzechInvest agency will launch its long-prepared Technological Incubation project later this year. Its creation by CzechInvest and the Ministry of Industry and Trade was inspired by the ESA BIC cosmic incubator which will soon celebrate its fifth anniversary in the Czech Republic. Through the Technological Incubation project, CzechInvest will support over 300 startups from 7 key areas of technology. Each startup will be eligible for a maximum support of EUR 192 thousand (CZK 5 million). While the project mainly aims at supporting technological startups, it will also offer a broad range of activities and opportunities for other key players on the Czech business scene.
“Supporting the innovation potential is one of the key instruments for boosting Czech Republic’s competitiveness. We have been long investing in science, research, and innovation – this year for a total amount more than EUR 1,4 billion (CZK 38 billion). In accordance with the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic, we want to be not only a country with a high level of expert knowledge and advanced technologies, but also one that attracts the world’s leading scientific experts,” says Karel Havlíček, the Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade. He adds: “In this regard, the Technological Incubation project is an investment in the future of Czech industry, and I expect many businesses will sign up with interesting and well-prepared projects”.
The Technological Incubation project will be financed from the program “The Country for the Future” which falls within the scope of the Innovation strategy of the Czech Republic 2019-2030. The budget more than EUR 38 million (CZK 1 billion) has been pre-allocated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2019. This week, the government has approved a key part of the program – direct financial support for innovative startups through an incubation program run by the CzechInvest agency. Within the Technological Incubation project’s 7-year framework, its goal is to support more than 300 innovative businesses across the Czech Republic in the first stage of their existence. CzechInvest also plans to intensify its collaboration with regional innovation and technology centers in order to foster synergies of the various support services.
The applicants will be admitted into the Technological Incubation project on the merits of their business plan and innovative idea and will receive financial support of up to EUR 192 thousand (CZK 5 million). The assistance will, however, not be purely financial: the startups will receive a complex package of services which will include broader aid to the company for a period of 2 years. A team of experts will support the startups and provide them with assistance when dealing with business decisions, legal issues, marketing, finance and, most importantly, specific technologies. The whole effort will be managed and coordinated by CzechInvest.
“I am very happy that we were able to support the creation of this project, the goal of which is broader than simply handing out financial support. Newly created businesses face many hurdles, which may concern their very creation, the drawing of a strong business plan or access to expert consulting, which young companies usually lack. In this regard, incubation is what can help them enter the market in collaboration with many external experts. The planned innovation hubs target the strategic areas of Czech economy – from mobility to artificial intelligence and strategic security,” says Petr Očko, the Deputy Minister for Digitisation and Innovation at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The Technological Incubation project will focus on seven key areas of technology which are highly promising in terms of further economic development and competitiveness of the Czech Republic. CzechInvest believes that high value added no longer lies in the various fields of industry, but rather in technologies which can be used across several fields. Namely in:
- Future mobility
- Artificial intelligence and IT
- Creative industries
- Sustainability and eco-innovation
- Cosmic technologies
- Nuclear and particle physics
- Smart solutions to fight crises
The whole project was inspired by the ESA BIC (European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre), which was launched 5 years ago and whose operator is CzechInvest. The ESA BIC business incubator focuses on the incubation and development of technologically progressive startups which employ cosmic technologies or systems within their commercial products and services (for instance the Festka bicycles, BigTerra, Spacemanic, Dronetag etc.).
The core idea of the Technological Incubation project is to create a space where the state, academic and private sector can come together. The resulting synergy will maximize the value added for the participating startups. An example of such cooperation can be found in the first of the seven hubs, the Mobility Innovation Hub (MIH). As a flagship of the Technological Incubation project, this hub will specialize in innovations from the field of the so-called future mobility. Its creation was suggested by the Czech Automotive Industry Association and it was devised in extensive collaboration with many of the Czech industry’s leading companies and experts.
“Thanks to the Technological Incubation project, CzechInvest will bridge the power of the state, the expertise and knowledge of academia and the strength of the Czech business base. Whether for big companies or startups, this means a perfect synergy. Within the long-term project, we will be able to support the development of more than 300 companies, startups and, most importantly, innovative ideas. Their success will help promote Czech Republic abroad,” says CzechInvest’s CEO, Patrik Reichl. He continues: “The Technological Incubation project is a geared towards the future and it is only right that the state – through CzechInvest – plays an activation role in the areas of innovation, development and support to Czech excellency. We have already witnessed a strong positive reaction towards the Mobility Innovation Hub, the first of seven hubs which will be launched as part of the Technological Incubation project. The project is based on our experience with ESA BIC. By launching the project, we also wish to become an inspiration for the rest of Europe – similarly to what Estonia represents in the area of digitalization.”
The inclusion of partners from both the private and academic sector will allow the incubated businesses to access advanced technological infrastructure and consult their proposed solutions with experienced experts. Be it in relation to specific technologies or their commercial application within the business model at hand. At the same time, the project will create opportunities for the private sector. Based on demand by private businesses, support will be provided to specific products which are unavailable on the market. The project aims to strengthen the continuity between science and research and the deployment of the newly created solutions by their commercial partners (and non-partners).
The cross-sector character of the Technological Incubation project also promises to simplify the communication of the private sector’s needs to the public administration. Whether they may concern the effectiveness of state subsidies, or the legislative changes necessary for the market introduction of innovations.
CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of supporting business and investments in its comprehensive form. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of services and the ability to connect global trends with regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s main objectives is transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. Established in 1992, CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. More information is available on www.czechinvest.org or via CzechInvest’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
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