A new project called Data Pitch launched with European Union funding is aiming to create links between startups and enterprises, sharing information in order to drive innovation.
A coalition of European data research groups is seeking to establish ‘data sharing alliances’, allowing small businesses to learn strategies for utilising business data. The program has been backed by EU Horizon 2020, an €80bn R&D funding pot for European SMEs.
Invitations to the new data accelerator open on 1st July 2017, with the first group of successful applicants joining the scheme in December. The first group will benefit from the service for six months before the next wave of admissions.
Enterprises will be encouraged to form lasting partnerships with SMEs, sharing best practices in the field of data science. This knowledge will assist them in applying data analysis to create innovative new services, potentially helping to solve societal issues.
Project director and University of Southampton professor Elena Simperl believes this can be a mutual learning process, helping big businesses find creative solutions to the demands of ‘big data’.
“In the digital age, every organisation, public or private, big or small, generates and owns substantial data assets. Not all them have the opportunity to use this data effectively.
“With Data Pitch, we take an established open innovation model and apply it at European scale – we pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries and help them to solve data challenges that matter – for the economy, for the environment, for science and for society as a whole.”
Businesses participating in the scheme will be encouraged to become mentors, as well as offering up opportunities for investment. Alongside this invaluable experience, around 50 SMEs are expected to receive a share of €4.8m in additional funding to help develop their ideas.
Fittingly, Data Pitch is the result of a collaboration between several organisations of different scales all across Europe. These include the University of Southampton; The Open Data Institute in London; startup advisors Beta-I in Lisbon; and data marketplace supplier Dawex in Lyon.
The project is designed to emulate a similar programme, 2015’s Open Data Incubator Europe (Odine). Where that project provided €650,000 to a number of businesses in order to support open data initiatives, Data Pitch seeks to combine the resources of enterprise with the agility and innovation of startups.