ECFI: 80 Million Euros to be awarded to SMEs and Startups

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Aug 252014

In September 2014, while Munich is getting ready for the Oktoberfest, the city will also hold an event that will help hundreds of entrepreneurs create their businesses. The European Commission, in collaboration with FIWARE, has allocated a total budget of 100 million euros (80 million of which are fully destined to SMEs and startups) to foster innovation and business growth. The 16 FIWARE accelerators will not only be present at the event, but will also be open to proposals and available for those who want to talk personally to them. The European Conference on Future Internet (ECFI) is destined to be the main meeting point for developers, accelerators, politicians and entrepreneurs in terms of Future Internet.

If, according to Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, “the Internet is an amazing opportunity for any kind of innovator”, innovators are now called to attend an event where workshops and real success stories are a true value, thus grasping each and every one of the opportunities that the Internet of the Future has to offer. And of course it is not all about funding, FIWARE accelerators will also offer mentoring and advice to the selected projects. Again in the words of Neelie Kroes, “if you are a startup or small business with a bright idea for a new app or service, ECFI is a great way to make your digital dream come true.”

ECFI will definitely be an opportunity that SMEs and entrepreneurs can‘t miss; so, if you are one of them, do not hesitate to register at and attend the event where the latest FI technologies will be discussed, as well as their use in strategic sectors of the European economy such as health, transport, education, energy, agriculture or smart cities. Do not allow yourself to be out of the Future!

Neelie Kroes: “FI-WARE is ‘open’ for business! €80 million on offer for startups and small business”

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Jul 152014
FI-WARE is open for business.

SourceNeelie Kroes Blog

Are you a startup or small business with a bright idea for a new app or service? Want to get your hands on the tools to make that a reality – or the chance for a share of €80 million to get you started? If so, we have a great opportunity for you!

Whether it's smart cities or the internet of things – there are many great innovative ideas and apps out there. But many of them rely on the same "generic" enablers, basic building blocks from which you can create great things.

And this is where we can help. FI-WARE is a "toolbox" making all those building blocks available to use and innovate with, open, fast, interoperable, reusable, and reliable. Without the risk of getting "locked in" or dependent on one supplier. So you don't have to worry about fixing basic problems that others have already solved, but can focus on developing the specifics of your bright idea.

And you can try them all out at the FI-Lab. (All part of our Public-Private Partnership on the Future Internet—and of our commitment to helping EU entrepreneurs startup in Europe, and stay in Europe).

Many apps have already been built using these tools – from warning about earthquakes to helping taxi drivers. Below you can see the CEO of FoodLoop talk about how he used FI-WARE building blocks to support his own work:

But I know the building blocks are not enough – you need the resources to help you see your idea through. FI-WARE also offers business support, mentoring and the chance to network and share with your peers. And from September there will be €80 million of EU money available for around 1300 small businesses and web entrepreneurs using those FI-WARE tools. That money won't come direct from the EU: but via those best able to understand and support startup needs – accelerators. The full list of the 16 accelerators is here — with each able to have a different focus.

If you're interested in then try out some of our tools at the FI-Lab portal – and keep an eye out here for your chance to grab a share of €80 million!

Want to build tomorrow’s Internet? – Neelie Kroes speech at FIA Athens 2014

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Mar 202014
Neelie KroesHello to you all.  And welcome to this conference on the potential of tomorrow's Internet.  Here in Greece, a country that has seen the real, human consequences of the crisis. A country that stands to gain so much if we become a connected, competitive continent. Last time I was here I saw such a vibrant startup scene. I saw so many entrepreneurs with energy and enthusiasm. Using digital tools to create, innovate, and make a difference. 

Today's Internet has already transformed so much of our world. And it is developing fast.  Yet already, you can look ahead to some of tomorrow's changes – the shape of the Future internet (…)  Stepping onto the scene are four main characters. The Cloud, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and fast networking. The John, Paul, George and Ringo of a new online paradigm

They are not just developing fast. They are converging, supporting and reinforcing one another.  And benefiting our economy: cloud computing alone could be almost one trillion euros by 2020. And indeed, later this week we will publish a vision for a Trusted Cloud for Europe.

Further in the future, we could have more innovations. Like advanced networking, or 5G.  Because even as we roll out today's networks, we should be looking to the next step. Not as an alternative to investing in 4G – but a way to make that investment repay far into the future.  And we should work together as Europe, and with other parts of the world too, on a common approach and for a common scope.  All around you today, you can see some of the great innovations on offer. I hope you've been exploring, and will do later too!

All together that could mean a world that is fully connected. Seamless networks, merging fixed and mobile. Virtual networks defined by software. Connected devices that talk directly to each other. Constant connectivity for every European, everyone able to stay informed and empowered instantly, anytime, anywhere. Downloading and uploading from their locker in the cloud.  Never forget what this change can mean for our economy. Never forget what this change can mean for the people of Europe – for every European. And what's the most important ingredient for our future internet? It isn't the gadgets and tools you see out there in the exhibition hall.  It's you – right here in this room. 

We, and our whole Future Internet programme, are here to support you. With the three P's. With partnerships. Our public private partnership on the Future internet is already up and running. With a lab offering building blocks for you to use.  

The entrepreneurs and startups, businesses and researchers, engineers and academics. You are the ones who can identify the problems we face, design the solutions to meet them, test and validate them, and ensure they become a viable reality. We, and our whole Future Internet programme, are here to support you. With the three P's. With partnerships. Our public private partnership on the Future internet is already up and running. With a lab offering building blocks for you to use.  And we've set up a new partnership for 5G, too. 700 million euros in EU funding, complemented by private funding —all together worth 3 billion. 

With platforms. Places to safely experiment and try out new ideas. Giving you important resources: like access to the spectrum you need to test out innovations like cognitive radio. And with prizes. For the best ideas that use our building blocks. We've already had contests in the areas of smart cities, smart businesses, smart society, and other excellent ideas.  All together a prize fund worth over €800,000, as part of our Future Internet PPP. 

You can see how they're helping improve our world. Like the FI-Guardian app, to warn people if a natural disaster is about to strike. A great idea: it took first prize in the Smart Cities category, last month at Campus Party Brazil.  Now we are moving into the next phase of that Future Internet Public-Private Partnership. We are putting 100 million euros on the table — to help around 1000 small businesses and startups develop apps and services. 

And we've picked 16 consortia to act as "accelerators" for that. Including FRACTALS – focusing on small agriculture businesses in the Balkan region – including right here in Greece. So if you have ideas for how to use this technology: then send in your ideas, find new partners, and build a better internet.  But most of all, I want this Future internet to have the right conditions. The market and the networks that lets innovations thrive.  Ideas like cloud computing or big data need economies of scale: a market big enough to make innovations worthwhile. Borders online don't make sense; even less so for the Future Internet. And your mobile needs to be mobile, not permanently switched off whenever you travel. It's time all these things benefited from the single market boost. 

How can you profit from the cloud or big data if they're stuck in one country? Condemned by national rules and constrained to national borders? How can Europeans enjoy constant connectivity, if weak investment means half of homes do not have fast broadband coverage?  How can you have a genuinely seamless network – if quality, secure connections cannot cross borders?  

Why oblige and constrain operators to work nationally, and suffer the inefficiencies and border checkpoints that result? For a future where software defined networking and virtualisation could make that totally redundant and unnecessary? How can Europeans enjoy the innovations of the amazing open Internet, as long as operators can decide to block or throttle services? 

There are new connected devices on the horizon – like vehicles that talk to each other and warn about road conditions. Will those devices really have to cope with 28 different spectrum systems? And will they really have to pay roaming charges? 

The fact is, we cannot support tomorrow's Internet with yesterday's framework. There is no excuse for those borders online. That no longer makes sense, not today, certainly not tomorrow. 

You're probably all tired of visiting conferences where the whole room struggles and squabbles to share the same weak WiFi. Where everyone is terrified of switching to mobile data – in case your roaming bill ends up costing more than your flight.  Time that changed. Time to face the 21st century. 

Today, MEPs voted to ensure that. And I welcome that big step forward. If you agree with me — that we must ensure a better Internet, built on a framework fit for the future — then make sure your national government and your elected representatives are on board.  So I hope you all make the most of your stay here in Athens. And remember: in parallel to this conference is the Future Internet Exhibition. EU-funded projects on the Future Internet are showcasing their achievements and their impact.

Future Internet Assembly

So take a look. Get inspired. Talk to our experts. Enjoy, explore, experiment. Take the building blocks you see here, combine them, add to them, and create new innovations for a new Europe. Figure out problems and come up with solutions. And together – help us create a better Internet, for our connected continent. 

Thank you. 

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda 

Future Internet Assembly. Athens, 18 March 2014

Source: Europa Press Release Database

Entrepreneurs and developers: unite for a better future through digital innovation!

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Sep 272013

Developers & Entrepreneurs: unite for a better future through innovation

Private companies and the European Union are joining forces to help startups, entrepreneurs, developers, public administrations and European citizens in general to create a better future through digital innovation. This is the reason why FI-WARE exists and why people such as Neelie Kroes (Vice President of the European Commission) and Carlos Domingo (CEO of Telefonica R&D) are two of our best advocates. 

Recently they presented FI-WARE and it's open innovation lab, FI-Lab, in this context. Their bet is for a pan-european platform that makes innovation for Future Internet applications easier for everybody: an "Operating System" of the internet that is open, royalty free, easy to use. Their speeches inspired us to keep on working towards this common good and we hope they also spark this inspiration in you. 

As Carlos Domingo said, we cannot dwell in the past, we have to look at the future and act quickly: 

"It's time to stop looking at the past and start looking at the future, and start looking at what are the next opportunities  (…) and this is what this presentation is about, this is what this project is about , this is why it's called the Future of Internet, because it's about looking at the future and how Europe can regain the leadership it had in the past in the new revolution that the internet is bringing among us

"We are doing this in a different way than other companies are doing things. And there are two main things that are very different: this is a Public-Private partnership. Private companies, with comercial interests, getting together with the Public Goverment and the European Union"

On the other hand, Neelie Kroes offers the European Union's full support and encourages us to make the best of it with the tools we will have: 

"You have the desire to make a difference, and we will back you. We badly need you. The generation that is not risky-avoiding, the generation that has this dream (…)  I want to give you the resources you need to do that. And today we are presenting some new tools, new building blocks so to say, that you can use for the innovations of the future. The future of Europe" 

"Let's stop with being modest in Europe. We can make it. We really can. Once we have found consortia to act as intermediaries, "Calls" will be open to all. And that means you. You'll have the chance to submit your ideas and opportunities; and find new partners to work with, new cities or new sectors. We expect that around 1000 startups will benefit from grants to develop apps and other digital services around FI-WARE. I think this will play a part – not just in boosting innovation – but in shaping the whole underlying fabric of the European web community"

Want to know more? Join us in our future events, follow us through our social networks and be up to date on our plans for the next months. There are very exciting things to come!