Insights from Hello Tomorrow Global Summit

The EIT Community brings together entrepreneurs, industry and academia to make innovation happen. With a focus on Deep Tech, the community attended the buzzing Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris. Here are some highlights for anybody who was not able to attend.

“Boosting deep tech in Europe – staying on top with EIT” drew a crowd, with people even standing in the aisles.

Session: “Boosting deep tech in Europe – staying on top with EIT”

As the leader of the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative (DTTI), Natalie Cernecka from EIT Manufacturing moderated a session on “Boosting deep tech in Europe”. DTTI has the goal of training 1,000,000 people in deep tech until 2025 and has already done so with almost 150,000. It was launched by the EU and the EIT to unite corporates and academia in the effort to upskill people.

Listening to different perspectives: Michał Dżoga, Lena Weirauch, Mark Boris Andrijanič and Natalie Cernecka (from left to right).

Training needed

In the panel, Michał Dżoga from Intel brought in the perspective of the semiconductor industry. 30 years ago, he said, the EU and US together produced 80% of the semiconductors worldwide, twenty years later, this has dwindled to a mere 20%. To bring this into balance, training is needed. As part of the Deep Tech Talent Initiative, Intel will thus offer its Intel Digital Readiness Programs to train Europeans in AI.

Regulators challenged

Mark Boris Andrijanič, Member of the EIT Governing Board and the VP or Kumo.AI, compared the EIT as the largest European innovation ecosystem to Silicon Valley. He advocated fuelling Europe with talent and pointed out that in China, the number of STEM graduates was twice that of the US and Europe combined. Generating own talent in Europe was as important as opening Europe to talent from all over the world. He also challenged regulators to change the European attitude towards equity, to enable startups to offer attractive stock options to their employees.

AI as a tool for development

As a CEO, Lena Weirauch in principle finds herself in a good position to hire talent for her startup, which is located in Hamburg, a location people like to live in. She is currently looking for a Head of AI and sees that ai-omatic solutions GmbH competes with corporates, which can be an issue in which company culture sometimes does not beat salary. On AI, she said that startups should think creatively on how artificial intelligence could support them – she called it a must for startups to seek opportunities to develop their companies.

Patricia Paulina Karrer welcoming the audience

Side event “Boosting deep tech in Europe”

In a side event dedicated to “Boosting deep tech in Europe”, Patricia Paulina Karrer welcomed guests who shared their take on skills, requirements and the appeal of deep tech startups to investors.

“Empowering tech entrepreneurs: industry driven skills for success”

In his keynote, Mathias Kaldenhoff from SAP said, the basis of any technological innovation was communication. Any progress, he explained, requires that we express ourselves, what we perceive, do, feel. Our skills in technology rested on four columns, he continued, the world around us, the world within us, the world before us, referring to the future, and ourselves in the world.

"A problem is a solution standing on its head" - Mathias Kaldenhoff took a step back and refelcted on skills as such.

As everything, skills could only be perceived when they are communicated. After all, he said, you could only be famous for something if you had visibility.

From his perspective, the EIT approach combined technological abilities with skill requirements and makes people visible in both areas: Through their commitment to entrepreneurship, they helped people show their innovations and communicate with people who are outside their bubble.

Thus, EIT and innovation hubs bridged the gap between research and technology to somebody who would use the material, product or service. Connections to the EIT ecosystem had given him insights he’s never had – in sustainability, decarbonisation, recycling and many more.

Bridging the gap: Matching talent with deep tech requirements

“With our initiatives, we turn theory into practice, practice into outcome and outcome into impact.” Patricia Paulina Karrer from EIT Manufacturing knows from her experience with the EIT community initiative acted as a host of the session and moderated the panel on empowering deep tech talent at Hello Tomorrow Global Summit. Here are some thoughts from her guests.

Hard skills are not enough

To support deep tech talent, said Mateusz Molasy, Assistant Professor with Wrocław University of Science and Technology, universities taught students hard skills, such as physics and maths, soft skills, such as how to work in a team, cooperate and collaborate, also in intercultural environments as well as an interdisciplinary approach to be able to connect people from various disciplines and hands-on learning.

Universities need to step up

Wrocław University of Science and Technology, in addition to that, helped them get visibility and offered individual support, organised networking events with international speakers in which they meet with industry representative. The university also developed online innovation training, takes part in innovation projects with EIT Raw Materials and EIT Manufacturing and has created a solutions database for open innovations.

EIT Community initiatives as opportunity

Vera Martinho, Chief Impact Officer from JA Europe, described the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative as a good opportunity to bring deep tech closer to a younger generation. As the largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes with solid connections to educational systems, they train young people from primary to high school in entrepreneurship to make them ready for the job market.

She said, we could not ask people for qualifications in deep tech when they enter universities if they have never been taught them before. Beyond this, JA Europe also collaborates with EIT Girls Go Circular, EIT Health, EIT Food and EIT Manufacturing to foster innovation in their sectors.

Best practice: EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative

Ilaria Tagliavini, Head of Operations at EIT, explained how EIT bridges the gap with the DTTI, in which companies and universities commit to training people in deep tech. Launched last year, more than 130 organisations have committed to training more than 800,000 people and have already completed training more than 130,000. She encouraged attendants to look out for the DTTI Call for proposals through which the creation of training programmes can be funded.

Embrace AI

As one of the most prominent deep technologies, Mathias Kaldenhoff pointed out that artificial intelligence is interesting not only for industry and our nations, but also for the EU community. He is convinced we have to be on top or we will lose, but is positive, because AI will be used in any process – and “in Europe, we are good in processes”. If we change human thinking to AI-influenced human thinking, we will succeed.


“Cracking the code: VC insights into deep tech investment criteria”

Last, but not least, Patricia Paulina Karrer explored a venture capitalist’s view on investment into deep tech in a conversation with Tobias Weissgerber.

Have a USP

He said, the first thing he looked at in a startup, when evaluating whether it’s worth investing, is a technical USP that really sets the company apart. The stage the companies are in as well as the market factored as well. “Do they have machines? Did they already manage to secure funding? Do they have customers already that they talk to?” would be questions to ask. If people he talked to were rooted in technology, he also evaluated how well they could communicate their solution and make it understood to sell it.

Be able to sell

From his point of view, current hot topics attracting investment are applications and solutions in the life sciences, new energy such as fusion or solar and everything to do with e-mobility and e-charging such as batteries, cell production or recycling interesting. All of these, he predicts, will be interesting in the next five to ten years. His advice to entrepreneurs is to obtain financial skills.

Representing the EIT Community at Hello Tomorrw – and looking forward to Greentech Festival!

The EIT Community’s INNOVEIT will next be at Greentech Festival in Berlin from 15 to 17 May. For more information go to the INNOVEIT website!