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the Pilot Action of Excellence on Innovative Start-ups
Europe Media Information Newsletter
Last update : 27/03/2006
  What is PAXIS

Managed by the Commission"s Enterprise Directorate-General under the 6th Framework Programme, Research &Innovation Programme, PAXIS promotes the setting-up and development of innovative companies across Europe – a driving force for employment and economic growth.

The PAXIS programme has two major objectives :
  • To boost the transfer of local and regional excellence in innovation
  • To have an instrument for the co-operation and the exchange of tacit knowledge and learning among local innovation stakeholders, profiting from each other"s experieLast update : 27/03/2006nce
PAXIS was launched in 1999 with three working areas: Thematic Networks, Projects and Accompanying Measures.

The Thematic Networks consist of 22 European cities and regions which have an outstanding track record in supporting the creation and growth of innovative start-ups. The ‘Award of Excellence for Innovative Regions" was awarded for the first time in 2002 to 15 European regions and cities. In 2002, seven new regions joined the club and 22 regions were awarded in Stockholm. The ‘excellent" regions are evaluated by the European Commission following a strict set of economic and innovation indicators that classify them among the most successfully performing regions in Europe.

The Projects aim to develop, validate and disseminate concepts to encourage innovative start-up creation. In the period 2000-2002 several smaller projects have been co-financed by the European Commission. These projects cover many different aspects:
  • The organization of successful incubators
  • Financing schemes
  • Entrepreneurship training, etc.
Currently six large projects have been selected, with the following objectives :
  • The transfer of existing successful know-how and start-up creation to associated candidate countries
  • The development of new concepts
Accompanying measures are designed to analyse and disseminate PAXIS results and good practices to all interested parties across Europe. The first two Accompanying Measures will facilitate the dissemination of activities, asses the results of PAXIS and shape policy lessons, by using experts with hands-on knowledge on start-up creation.
The new third AM will create two European networks consisting of start-up representatives and service providers.

The history of PAXIS

The idea for the pilot action grew out of the First European Forum for Innovative Companies held in Vienna in 1998 which drew up some proposals to encourage innovation and to support the creation of start-up companies. They fall within the Fifth Framework Programmes horizontal programme for the promotion of innovation and encouragement of the participation of SMEs. The pilot action is designed to look at mechanisms to facilitate the setting up and development of innovative companies. It has two main objectives: to identify and network economic areas which have created ideal environments for start-up and spin-off companies and to support projects which validate and promote novel strategies for the encouragement of the creation of innovative firms.

Fifteen regions were then selected to take part, grouped into four networks according to their thematic priorities and previous links. Initially they would work to describe their methodologies and then look at ways of sharing their experience with others.
A second action under the Fifth Framework Programme was launched in April 2001 and the results from the selection will be highlighted at the Third Forum For Innovative Enterprises organised by the European Commission in Stockholm on 8 and 9 April 2002.
In 2001, 22 economic areas were nominated, 15 of which were already introduced at Lyon. The seven new regions are: Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Hamburg, Veneto Region and Vienna Region.

Beyond the pilot action, this regional benchmarking initiative has developed the basis for benchmarking the innovation performance of European regions. As mentioned by Commissioner Liikanen during the press conference to announce the results of the 2001 European Innovation Scoreboard (1 October 2001), the PAXIS pilot action has become the basis for extending the Scoreboard to the regions.
  PAXIS – Results and Policy recommendations

Download | English |
  The PAXIS pilot action

The European Commission developed PAXIS so as to take example from the experience of the Regions of Excellence and learn from the sophisticated policies that support their networking activities. This facilitates better documentation of policy decisions and the elaboration of solid measures, which enable regions to be more innovative and competitive, simultaneously transferring their expertise to other regions. Creation of new innovative enterprises, support of spin-off companies and development of start-ups are some of the main policy objectives in both the EU and worldwide. The rich European scientific base needs to be further explored and promoted so as to include European citizens" welfare, developing new ideas for implementation. PAXIS aspires to gather all these ideas and recommendations and through advanced networking and collaboration, make them prolific and accessible.
  Documents to download :

Final Report PAXIS I | English |
Annexes Report PAXIS I | English |
Proceedings Report | English |
  Titles Projects

Knowledge Needs of Investment and Finance for Enterprise (KNIFE)
On line Innovation: Virtual European Network of Technology Parks for Innovative services (ONLI)
3StartUp to Europe
Successful model for innovative start-up companies transferring a unique model from the Netherlands to Portugal and Spain (Smart Tulip)
Validation of Mechanism for stimulating the establishment of Innovative firms at Regional Level (INNO-TENDER)
Best practice mechanisms for co-operation between universities, research bodies and industry (BESTCOIN)
Most appropriate set of tools to allow technological advisers to better support TBF project holder in their seeking of private financial backing (PRO-BACK)
New methodology to stimulate Academic Researchers to create SPIN-OFFS and to contribute to INNOVATION by technology transfer (SPINNOVA)
Creation of a cross-border university system to accompany business creators (Euro-entrepreneurship)
Innovative start-up support in trilateral region Slovakia-Austria-Hungary (ISTER)
Migrating Innovation and Research Through Alliances (MIRTA)
Development of Methods and tools to support the creation of technology based innovation firms (TECTRA)
Validation of the "QUASI ENTERPRISE" initiative: a new southern European Model for setting up innovative firms through a new approach to technology transfer (QUASI-E)
Israeli Financing Innovation Schemes for Europe (IFISE)
Stimulation of SME start-ups in life science technology (STARTMED)
Innovation Growth Groups (InnoGrowthGroup)
Start-up Support for Entrepreneurs (SUSE)
The role of regional development agents as fertilizers promoting innovation and the co-operation of small and medium enterprises (FERTILIZER)
Development of EMBRIO firms for the transfer of technology from the Universities (EMBRYO)
University Start up of International Entrepreneurs (USINE)
"Política Regional Integrada de Apoyo a la Creación de Empresas Spin-off" ("Integrated Regional Policy to Support the Creation of Spin-off Companies", PRIACES)
Expertise in the setting-up of innovative firms (EXSIF)
Karlsruhe, Rhône-Alpes, Emilia Romagna, and Oxfordshire Finance and Management Development Project ( KREO-FMD)
Telematic Market of services related to digital objects (TEMA)

For results or more information concerning these 24 projects, please contact the Project coordinators, or contact (email removed) .

The 24 Projects of PAXIS

As part of Enterprise Directorates pilot action on the creation of start-ups, the European Commission was supporting 24 Projects, which demonstrated best practice in setting up and developing innovative companies. Universities, research organisations and public sector bodies were invited to propose projects for funding and 72 proposals were received. The projects were funded on a shared-costs basis with the Commission providing 50% of the total cost. The average contribution per project was 400 000 euros.

The topics covered within these Projects included :

  • mechanisms to stimulate the transfer of knowledge and the creation of innovative firms by higher education and research institutes;
  • new services for start-up companies;
  • new funding mechanisms such as regional funds and business angels networks.