Perfect connections at European level

Pôle MecaTech, a Belgian competitiveness cluster from the Walloon region, strives to increase their members’ innovation, production and service capacities to raise their profiles on the European and world market. EIT Manufacturing and Pôle MecaTech will collaborate more intensely in the future, just having agreed on a network partnership.

Rooted in a region with amazing innovation potential, Pôle MecaTech will gain access to a wider European network while EIT Manufacturing will deepen their ties with a well-connected cluster in the Walloon region.

The first talks were triggered after a meeting at Global Industry fair in Lyon in 2021. Thibaud van Rooden, International Affairs Executive at Pôle MecaTech, and Amardeep Banerjee, Innovation Manager at EIT Manufacturing soon discovered that there are obvious synergies between the ecosystems, especially in the support activities that Pôle MecaTech and EIT Manufacturing offers to SMEs.

“EIT Manufacturing develops support tools for companies and entrepreneurs at European level, Pôle MecaTech has a strong reach among its regional ecosystem,” explains Thibaud van Rooden. “EIT Manufacturing can open doors to reference players in manufacturing – whether they are leading companies or well-renowned research entities, of which there are several in the EIT Manufacturing community.”

“When it comes to turning innovation into a marketable product or service, there are two key points: funding and the right partners”, says Amardeep Banerjee. “The composition of a consortium can decide whether an innovation will live or die, and the funding is necessary to minimise risks for the parties involved. For Walloon players interested in collaborative innovation projects the EIT Manufacturing calls offer an additional entry point beside the Pôle MecaTech funding opportunities.”

The collaboration started to intensify from January 2022 with joint communication and articles in January 2022 and developed gradually into proper collaboration agreement. Pôle MecaTech members were presented the EIT Manufacturing Call for Proposal 2023 and both networks scouted partners for consortia in construction actively, so that some collaborations are already ongoing between the ecosystems. As a result of the collaboration agreement, these ties will become stronger and exchange more active.

Both organisations will jointly participate in the BEPA battery meeting in Brussels, Belgium 13 September, World Manufacturing Forum Franciacorta, Italy 24-25 November, and the Circular Wallonia days in Belgium 16-18 November. They will also collaborate in the second EIT Manufacturing Call for Proposals 2023.