Europe is strong in many areas crucial to our ability to succeed in this emerging future: world class science an guindance or talent and ideas, openness and diversity, strong industrial capabilities and a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to research, development and innovation.
But too few innovative firms in Europe succeed in scaling up to become major employers and market leaders.Many startups don't make it bevono the critical first few years, can't get the finance to scale up into global busineess, or they try their luck in a third country.
Our €77 billion Horizon 2020 programme is making impressive strides in coupling excellent research with innovation. But I believe there is still more we can do to generate greater impact from taxpayers' investment. We need to make reforms so that we support our top innovators who have the ambition, resilience and capability to create and capture new markets. Unis is where the European Innovation Council (EIC) comes in, as a means of streamlining EU level funding with a clear focus on supporting breakthrough, market-creating innovation and boosting the effectiveness of the innovation ecosystem.
The €2.7 billion first phase of the EIC which we have just launched, focuses on support for innovative firms and entrepreneurs with the potential to scale up their businesses rapidly at the European and global levels. A main feature is a fully bottom-up SME instrument allowing applicants freedom from thematic restrictions, a proposal evaluation system that introduces for the first time face to face interviews with a jury of innovation and finance experts and enhanced coaching and mentoring support. Blended finance (grants combined with loans) will also be trialled.
I am confident that the EIC will provide an excellent opportunity for all the startups that are participating in the EU Top 50 startups competition and that it will become a game-changer for our game-changers. I'm sure this year's European Innovation Summit will again contribute to the on-going discussions that shape our European research and innovation landscape.