EIT Digital expands ARISE Europe programme to Poland and Czech Republic

HardGamma Ventures and JIC

EIT Digital announces HardGamma Ventures and JIC as the latest innovation centres to join its growing ARISE Europe programme - expanding its reach to Poland and the Czech Republic.

ARISE Europe, EIT Digital’s implementation of the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS), is designed to stimulate regional growth in EU countries where EIT Digital is not present with one of its Node or Associate Partners. Its objective is to connect local and regional innovation centres and their ecosystems to EIT Digital's innovation and education ecosystem. The ARISE programme now includes innovation centres from Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia.

By collaborating with EIT Digital, HardGamma Ventures (Warsaw) and JIC (Brno) are connected to a network of 130 partners representing global companies, leading research centres and top ranked universities. This cooperation promotes regional and national growth by linking local ecosystems to EIT Digital’s Innovation Activities, Business Communities, and Access to Market and Access to Finance Services; and it fosters entrepreneurial skill development by connecting local talents and educators to the EIT Digital Academy.

"We look forward working with these new innovation centres to extend the reach of our pan European programme of leading digital entrepreneurship, innovation and education activities. The CEE region is a particularly interesting focus for our expansion; Poland for example, has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, a large student population and like the Czech Republic, an increasingly vibrant ecosystem of innovators and investors in the digital space." Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital.

"As a result of the ARISE Europe open calls and selection process in July the two most promising organizations were asked to join our programme. We are very happy to welcome HardGamma and JIC to ARISE Europe; both have great track records, and valuable experience and understanding of their local innovation and education ecosystems." explains Fabio Pianesi, Research Director of EIT Digital. "HardGamma is the first venture ARISE Europe is cooperating with and a major player in Polish innovation landscape. JIC, in turn, is a hotbed for innovation leveraging a strong regional industrial base and superb IT talent base. Working with them will allow us to identify the most promising digital startups in the regions and introduce them to a wider, pan European range of investment and market opportunities."

"We welcome this agreement with EIT Digital as it recognises HardGamma Ventures as a leader of local innovation in the Polish digital industry." said Paweł Ciesielski, Managing Partner at HardGamma Ventures, on signing the agreement.

"We hope that EIT Digital’s expansion eastward will help HardGamma Ventures in delivering greater added-value to the startup and scale-up communities in the CEE region." Ciesielski added.

"This is another step for Polish startups ecosystem towards strengthening our European and global recognition not only as a source of talented digital specialists but also companies aiming at disrupting international markets," said Tomasz Kowalczyk, Growth and Innovation Designer at HardGamma Ventures, who will be leading the project in Poland.

"In recent years South Moravia has been attracting global technology companies which started to build their capacity and R&D centers here. Now it´s time for local promising SMEs to make a step abroad. With a help of EIT Digital, entering European market will be much easier for them," added Jiří Hudeček, CEO of JIC.

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