Joint PHEMAC and NEX-LABS Innovation Week outcomes: strategies and solutions to pave the way towards entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean
From 17 to 20 January 2022, the joint EU-funded NEX-LABS and PHEMAC Innovation Week brought together Euro-Mediterranean researchers, policy makers, investors, Industry players, Academia, Technology Transfer Offices, SMEs, startups and Entrepreneurs.
The vibrant event provided participants with unique opportunities to know more about Water, Energy and Food (WEF) NEXUS status and realities in Tunisia and the Euro-Mediterranean Region and to forge strategic partnerships across Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The Innovation Week was particularly intense and rich with insights for the audience. Attended by over 1000 participants from the Mediterranean countries, the event was the occasion to showcase innovative products, services and ideas through the virtual exhibition.
The Opening ceremony was chaired by the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Center in addition to the project coordinators, European funding programs representatives (PRIMA and ENI CBC MED) and Mr. Mahmoud Elyes Hamza, Tunisian Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.
The opening session highlighted the main objectives for the organization of the Water, Energy, Food Innovation Week and set the scene for the following sessions:
- to identify the WEF NEXUS results better suited to be considered in innovation actions;
- to identify the WEF NEXUS innovative solutions towards implementing Sustainable Development Goals;
- to raise social awareness of the inherent value of WEF NEXUS research and innovation;
- to promote the uptake of the WEF NEXUS project results by the private sector to ensure that the more relevant previous outputs can be incorporated into the innovation system;
- to gather policy recommendations to ensure long-term sustainability and maintenance of EU MPC society through implementation of innovative WEF NEXUS solutions.
The keynote focused on The Nexus approach applied to water, energy, and food security in the MENA region while the WEF NEXUS panel through 3 conferences on Water-Energy/Energy-Food/Water-Food defined the typical problems for the successful implementation, acceptance of technological solutions and provide the floor to identify and discuss which problems prevent the replication of acceptance within the different WEF NEXUS interphases.
The 4 day program was very dense with high level panels and dynamic matchmaking and brokerage sessions.
The Focus group sessions gathered Incubation & Acceleration Managers, Research Valorization Representatives, Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs), Intellectual Property Rights Experts and discussed about the PHEMAC NEXUS iHUB’s Key Performance Indicators; the magnitude of transforming NEXUS-hubs into the active ecosystem, measuring the success of nexus-hubs beyond quantitative indicators, drawing insights from NEXUS–hubs for assessment on one hand and the gathered experience of various funded projects and platforms while addressing existing WEF NEXUS challenges and opportunities.
The main focus of day 3 gathered Crowdfunding specialists, Founders of crowdfunding platforms, Euro-Mediterranean and Tunisian innovators, investors & Startups for a round table discussion focused on revealing the rationale behind the crowdfunding guideline and rules, why such guidelines were implemented and a general advisory on how to employ crowdfunding to support the replication of WEF NEXUS technologies or solutions
The closing day was designed to bring together Researchers, Innovators, TTO Managers, Investors, Industrials, Startups, SMEs, Entrepreneurs to discuss about the constraints & barriers faced by TTOs in the EU MPC region addressing WEF NEXUS challenges, WEF technology protection and readiness, WEF technology assessment and commercialization and the open living labs as a solution to face WEF NEXUS challenges.
During the Entrepreneurs’ corner space, the main theme of the discussion was to present inspiring concrete solutions to the problem of scale-up and market entry for entrepreneurs who are at the stage of prototyping/market testing. The accent was put on how to overcome hurdles through partnerships and cooperation. Representatives of the investment world also discussed the role of the business angel to help the entrepreneur overcome difficulties such as administration, access to network and market, strategic thinking etc. so that the researcher can focus on its technology development.
The Brokerage event gathered around 200 academics, researchers, water, energy, food experts, funding agencies, startups and SMEs in one to one meetings and networking.
For those who missed it, or those who want to relive some of the panels, visit the virtual booths, event recordings and virtual exhibitions are freely available on the event website upon registration : https://www.innovweek.com/
The virtual exhibition included 32 exhibitors in the SMEs area and 37 exhibitors in the WEF NEXUS Innovation Fair space.
You can visit the virtual booths of SMEs exhibition here: https://innovweek.eventoo.io/myspace/liste-des-stands
While virtual booths of the WEF Innovation Fair can be visited here: https://innovweek.eventoo.io/myspace/liste-des-fairs