Can Romania foster the birth of the next European digital mobility unicorn?
As we approach the mid-year mark of 2023, the third year in the 2021-2027 programming period, many industry leaders have have joyfully embraced the focus on innovation as a condition for accessing public funding. For many, the governmental push in this direction wasn’t even necessary, they were well aware that it is the only way forward for creating competitive businesses in the cut-throat world market. However, actually managing such goals in practice proved more difficult than previously estimated.
The European Commission has answered this barrier with the establishment of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its specialised Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), such as EIT Manufacturing, EIT Digital, EIT Food or EIT Urban Mobility. With a particular focus on the Urban Mobility leg, it suffices to say that its mission’s difficulty is doubled by the specific architecture of our old, historical cities which have for centuries followed the outlines of the nearby landscapes and preserve evidence of our treasured past.
In Romania, we are experience an unprecedented wave of interest in terms of implementing smart solutions and digital technologies to solve issues that our cities are facing, with the mobility of citizens, goods, services, information and waste being at their forefront. While our country has had limited experience – and success – in making the most out of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) allocated for innovation, technology transfer or smart city transformations, we have managed to establish a fruitful working relationship with EIT Urban Mobility through the expertise of IcebergPlus, one of the leading companies in innovation consulting, Spherik Accelerator and the Federation of Metropolitan Areas and Urban Agglomerations, three organisations who manage the EIT Urban Mobility RIS Hub Romania.
In the last two years, the EIT Urban Mobility RIS Hub Romania has helped tens of StartUps grow and pitch their ideas, has facilitated practical demonstrations of how their solutions work and has helped finance the processes of making them marketable. A number of leading urban communities interested in perfecting their efforts to achieve truly sustainable mobility with the help of state-of-the-art technologies have also joined the Romanian Hub. For both these types of beneficiaries, EIT Urban Mobility can act as a mentor and consultant, as well as an alternative source of financing, under more flexible and accessible conditions than ESIF grants.
As a result, it is clear that on the Romanian market, we have the challenges to be transformed into opportunities, the technical and financial support of the EIT Urban Mobility KIC as well as the living, urban laboratories to test ideas and solutions. All of these are ingredients to create the next universally transferable and marketable urban mobility solutions that can be accelerated under the expert eye of EIT Urban Mobility to become national, European and global unicorns.
Want to find out more about EIT Urban Mobility, its services, its technology providers or its funding calls? Reach out to Alexandra Hîncu, RIS Hub Romania manager at email@example.com.