European Innovation Academy 2015

by Jörgen Eriksson on July 6, 2015

“No program has been more impactful on our students than the EIA Summer Abroad… We have transformed the career paths of some of Berkeley’s best undergraduates and EIA has quickly become one of the cornerstones of Berkeley’s venerable entrepreneurship pedagogy.”
– Ken Singer, MD of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley

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This morning I attended the European Innovation Academy´s (EIA) opening event in Nice, France. I wrote about the event already in April this year and now for three weeks in July it is happening.

It is the largest start-up and innovation summer school I have heard of, gathering more than 500 people from 75 nationalities, and it brings together bright minds from all over the world to team up and bring innovative products and services to the market. For students who are attending, the program gives them academic credits.

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I was surprised how young most people were at the event. I think they on average were half my own age. Everyone I spoke with was smart, assertive and enthusiastic, even though most people were quite inexperienced. Yet, successful internet entrepreneurs today are often very young, launching ideas and products without inhibitions, and given talent and the law of large numbers, many succeed.

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Program Structure

The methodology of EIA is developed in collaboration between the Academy and University of California in Berkeley, Stanford University, and Google. In particular, EIA draws from entrepreneurial education at the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley. Through fast-paced, collaborative prototyping, EIA immerses participants in the lean start-up lifestyle.

Week One

2015-07-06 09.37.13The main goals of the first week are the formation of teams, ideation, and the first phase of prototyping. As soon as all 500 participants arrive, each is asked to sell his/her skills, experiences, and ideas to others.

Within two days, teams of five members are established. Each team is required to have proficiency in design, software engineering, and business and the participants are introduced to the Lean Start-up methodology.

Week Two

Teams then dive into the bulk of their work. Software engineers and designers hack together their product while business people engage real customers. A key aim of the second week is to find a product/market fit that makes sense to both the team and to investors. Teams are expected to deliver their respective minimum viable products.

Lectures during this week are geared towards the acquisition and development of customers. During afternoons, mentoring is separated into technical sessions and non-technical sessions. Each team has a dedicated chief mentor.

Week Three

Having practiced their pitches and polished their prototypes, the teams make final preparations for the Venture Capital Investment Competition. EIA hosts a panel of investors from various firms in Europe and Silicon Valley where each team pitches to the panel and are judged for their work at EIA. Judging is based on team composition, business model, technical achievement, and pitch.

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The opening event was introduced by the EIA founder and President, Alar Kolk, and I filmed his introduction speech.

Introduction to European Innovation Academy 2015

Then there was a session where the main panel of the event was introduced, which is in the video below. Panel members are Pascal Xelot from IBM, Ken Singer from University of California in Berkeley, Jean-Christophe Martin from University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Landry Holi from Amadeus, Sylvain Theveniaud from Alllianz, Andre germinet from Credit Agricole and Vanessa Marcie from the regional development agency Team Cote d´Azur.

Introduction of panel members


To know more about the event, here is the official promotion video, and a link to the Academy website.

Intro to European Innovation Academy

About Jörgen Eriksson :

Jörgen Eriksson is the founder of Bearing and is the Chairman of the firm since it was created. He has successfully expanded Bearing into covering projects on four continents. He is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management at the International University of Monaco and at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and he is an active member of the Founders Alliance organisation.

Working with consulting engagements across Bearings practices, he has over the past fifteen years participated in and supervised a large number of client projects, from innovation system development and place development and branding, to merger and acquisition assignments and leading edge research and business development activities for key clients.

His new book, Branding for Hooligans, will be published in 2015. It is about how innovation and branding are key survival factors in our modern times of hyper competitive markets.

Prior to Bearing, he was Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Trema Treasury Management, a technology and consulting services provider, supplying financial software solutions for the global financial industry, Clients included The European Central Bank, Citibank, SEB, South African reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as well as many other large financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Early in his career Eriksson was educated at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he studied economics, financial economics and philosophy. He then worked in Scandinavian investment banks and also for the Swedish Institute of National Defense Research.

You can contact Jörgen on e-mail, connect on LinkedIn onörgen-eriksson/0/38/8a0/ and follow him on twitter on joreri508.

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