EIT Digital newest resident of The Beacon

EIT Digital is opening a co-location satellite office at The Beacon. The grand opening will take place after the summer. The European Innovation-Institute aims to stimulate higher education, innovation and entrepreneurship, and scaleup acceleration within focus areas like Digital Cities, Digital Industry and Digital Wellbeing.  

Focussing on a digitally strong Europe

EIT Digital is a ‘Knowledge and Innovation Community’ for education, innovation and scaleup acceleration of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Their goal is to boost economic growth and quality of life in Europe by investing in deep tech innovation and education. To accomplish this, they integrate education, research and entrepreneurship in a pan-European collaboration among 280 European organisations.

Within a European network of leading technological universities, EIT Digital prepares technical talents to become the innovators, entrepreneurs and industrial leaders of tomorrow. They invest and innovate in strategic focus areas and support scaleups in Europe by providing access to new markets and investors.  

EIT Digital Academy invests in education

The new office at The Beacon will serve as the foundation for the EIT Digital Academy in Belgium. The Academy, a European network of the top tech universities, offers a Master, Doctoral, Professional and Summer School.

Professor Silvia Lenaerts vicerector Valorisation & Development, of the University of Antwerp: “The University of Antwerp wants to take up a leading role in EIT Digital’s vibrant innovation ecosystem at The Beacon. Such a wealth of resources comes with an imposing responsibility. Only through joint projects which connect students, researchers, entrepreneurs and policy makers, can we really make a difference and build a more sustainable city, industry and society for all.

Connecting Antwerp to the European market and companies

The connection to European markets and companies is another important asset and ambition of EIT Digital. That connection can be established through the EIT Digital Accelerator. “The new location allows Belgian scaleups to have access to needed support for expansion in Europe and the U.S. from our Accelerator,” says Patrick Essers, managing director EIT Digital Benelux.

Another way to connect the Belgian network is through EIT Digital2021. This is a call for proposals for new products, or startups and educational programmes to build a strong digital Europe. The call is open until 7 May 2020.

For The Beacon, the innovation centre of Antwerp, the addition of EIT Digital offers a great deal of opportunities. Wim de Waele, Executive Chairman at The Beacon: “This is the first milestone in our strategy to connect our local digital community to European and worldwide networks and markets. We are seeing a lot of interesting collaborative innovation initiatives and ventures emerge as a result of the digital transformation of the city and the port and many of those have international potential. The link to EIT Digital will be a great help in making that happen.

Antwerp as ‘ecosystem builder’

Antwerp wants to become the point of reference for Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Europe. The city is characterised as a crucial and reliable partner in a business network, and focusses on the strength of digital networks, and the development of an ecosystem for digital innovation.

As ‘ecosystem builder’, Antwerp attracts national and international companies who want to develop, test and commercialise digital products and services.  The city is convinced that the cross-fertilisation between large and small companies, start-ups and scale-ups, researchers and capital providers offers the classical industry and logistics sector – in which Antwerp already holds a strong position – the potential for sustainable innovation.