Today CERN and the business incubator Technopolis Thessaloniki Incubator S.A. announced the launch of a new Business Incubation Centre (BIC) for CERN technologies in Greece. The agreement follows the establishment of BICs in three other CERN Member States: the UK, Netherlands and, last month, Norway.
More than 30 companies have passed through Technopolis since its formation in 2007. Following discussions between the company and CERN’s Knowledge Transfer (KT) group, CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer signed an agreement with its President, A.Tzikas.
"This agreement provides a catalyst to build an ecosystem that nurtures the efforts of local entrepreneurs and helps them to develop opportunities into tangible goods and services," says Nick Ziogas of the CERN Knowledge Transfer group, who worked on the agreement.
CERN’s KT group uses BICs, among other tools, to disseminate CERN technologies. They aim to nurture innovative ideas based on technologies developed at CERN. Technopolis will provide local support, while successful applicants will also receive 40 hours of free consultancy from CERN experts with the support of the KT Group. The company will also provide infrastructure and facilities management, business development support and advice and a valuable grant for a period of up to two years.
KT is actively involved in the selection of companies applying to the BIC and acts as a filter to ensure that only serious proposals compatible with CERN work and values go through. CERN experts invest their time and knowledge to make this a valuable offering to companies.
"The main objective is to support start-up companies from the beginning and accompany them in their development as well as offering researchers from Greece the vision to convert their research ideas and results into sustainable business ventures," says Ziogas. "This helps to bridge the gap between the academic and business communities."
Even if the start-up companies do not use a CERN technology, but are active in an area where CERN has expertise, they can benefit from this expertise by collaborating with scientists who have faced similar challenges.
The new incubator in Thessaloniki provides an exciting opportunity to Greek start-up companies or researchers that want to pursue their innovative ideas.
This agreement underlines CERN's commitment to make new technologies stemming from basic research in particle physics available and constitutes yet another way to increase the return to the member states.