Selected four years ago as one of the three flagship “Knowledge and Innovation Communities” by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the European company KIC InnoEnergy now has approximately 150 partners from business, universities, research institutes and business schools throughout Europe. KIC InnoEnergy drives innovation in the energy sector and is promoting a sustainable energy system for Europe. The Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) is involved as a partner and hereby particularly supports medium-sized companies in accessing financial resources, entering new markets and new achievements through technology transfer.
KIC InnoEnergy aims at identifying market-ready technologies for the sustainable supply of energy and to foster the continuing professional education and training of people who develop these technologies. Therefor, KIC InnoEnergy brings together businesses, research and education institutions in a project consortium and supports these through investments. The company is organized into six regional co-location centers (Benelux, Germany, Spain, France, Poland and Sweden), each coordinates a different thematic field for the overall consortium. The SEZ in turn offers support by evaluating project ideas, to the assembly project consortia, and to the submissions of project proposals. During innovation projects, the SEZ is providing project management, as well as carrying out market and feasibility studies. It is also an active promoter of more participation of women from science, education and business in the energy sector.
KIC InnoEnergy’s activities are arranged within the knowledge triangle education, technology, business development and start-ups. In the area of education, KIC InnoEnergy promotes business-oriented professional development and training. For example, the academic partners offer master programmes that combine basic engineering education with entrepreneurial thinking and actions. Within the PhD school, students are additionally offered courses related to the field of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, KIC InnoEnergy develops together with its education partners on a concept for “lifelong learning”. These allow businesses to create targeted professional development programs for their own personnel in research and development departments and gives young executives the opportunity for an occupational master degree in “Energy Engineering and Management”.
KIC InnoEnergy also invests in innovation projects with medium to high technological readiness level, which are conducted as European consortia and the participation of industry. As partner in innovation projects, the SEZ carries out market studies in the thematic field “energy from chemical fuels” and subsequently develops exploitation approaches. Along the project duration, the market analyses are being extended towards business opportunities and appropriate exploitation strategies are being worked out. At the same time, KIC InnoEnergy shares the costs for development and financial risks associated with the project, with the expectation of a return on investment. Business start-ups in the energy sector are supported through the “KIC InnoEnergy Highway.” By joining forces with entrepreneurs, KIC InnoEnergy is working on four key factors which are the most important components of successful start-ups: technology, market, people and financing. Following an initial due diligence check, the entrepreneur is matched with his personal business coach and together they select services for each of the four key factors. The KIC InnoEnergy Highway complements the traditional offers of venture capital and conveys initial customers for the start-up. In order to open up the Swedish energy market to German companies and to foster German-Swedish collaboration in innovation in the sector “intelligent energy networks” and “electrical energy storage”, the SEZ organised a company mission with German entrepreneurs to the co-location center Sweden. The German participants learned about innovation projects and business activities in Sweden, presented their products and got to meet potential Swedish project partners. All of these services are made available to enterprises through this partner network. KIC InnoEnergy provides support by investing in such services and in return receives equity participation in the future start-up. In the future, KIC InnoEnergy will also support SMEs with successful business development.
Women4Energy, the European Network of Women for Innovative Energy Solutions, was established in December 2012 in the framework of KIC InnoEnergy as a networking platform for women in the field of energy. The SEZ initiated the founding process and is inviting women from science and industry to an international conference. The conference will focus on new developments and future challenges facing the energy market as well as innovative long-term solutions, new business models and concepts.
KIC InnoEnergy Germany GmbH was established in October 2012 in order to strengthen the operational power of the InnoEnergy site in Germany. Founding members include the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the University of Stuttgart, EnBW and the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum. The LBBW and Fraunhofer ISI are also partners.
This conference offers technology providers and end consumers the ideal opportunity to network in the sector of sustainable energy. European entrepreneurs, research institutes and start-ups meet with key players from industry and research, as well as investors from all over Germany. The conference’s interactive approach gives participants the chance to present their products, services and innovative business ideas to trade professionals and investors through pitches and booths on the marketplace.