From Tuesday to Thursday, Brno hosted the most important European meeting of incubators, innovation centres, accelerators, science parks and innovation drivers under the European Business and Innovation Center Networks (EBN) banner. The congress was attended by over 300 people from 27 countries, including Taiwan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to panel discussions, the event’s main objective was to share experiences across European organizations. Representatives of innovation centres from Ukraine were also given space.
“It was a unique opportunity for us to show why the region is one of the leaders in innovation support not only in Central Europe,” says Petr Chládek, CEO of the innovation agency JIC, which organized the event. For the participants from Europe and several representatives from other continents, the organizers prepared a meeting in the Open Gardens on the eve of the congress. The two-day congress itself, from Wednesday 14 to 15 June, offered, for example, a lecture by the primary guest of the congress – the author of the book – Uncertainty Mindset – Vaughn Tan, among others, a doctorate holder from Harvard University. and a Professor of Strategy at University College of London. Individual panels and round tables were then devoted, for example, to different models of support for startups, regional specifics of innovation ecosystems or international cooperation. “We wanted to intersperse our priorities into the programme, which is why we included, for example, so-called deep tech startups. That is, companies from technologically demanding fields,” describes Chládek, who also welcomed the participants directly at the JIC. In addition to the JIC, visitors could also get to know the FabLab University mobile digital workshop or the KUMST creative hub.
The theme of the congress reflected the position of innovation at a time when humanity was facing several global challenges and, more recently, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. That is why the organizers also invited representatives from Ukrainian regions where innovation plays an important role – from Zhytomyr, Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk. “It was an absolute honour to host the 2023 EBN Congress to Brno and work alongside such talented and dedicated professionals of JIC. The EU|BIC community is deeply committed to fostering a thriving environment for entrepreneurship and innovation across Europe, this connects us. And, as we heard during congress, it’s ready to embrace uncertainty to rapidly adapt its offer to better support the pan- european innovation ecosystem we operate in and drive economic development,” emphasizes the CEO of the European Business and Innovation Centre Network Laura Lecci. The Congress was supported by the Governor of the Region, Jan Grolich, who attended the Congress in person, as well as other partners, such as other innovation agencies from the Ynovate network, ESA BIC or the national agency CzechInvest. “On behalf of CzechInvest, we presented at the event activities related to supporting innovative solutions, particularly the Technology Incubation project. I am glad that among the startups that presented at EBN, there were also several supported by CzechInvest, including Nebesys, which recently won the world final of the Creative Business Cup competition,” says Petr Očko, in charge of the