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Blockchain HUB FOR EUROPEan startups acceleration and growth

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - B-HUB FOR EUROPE (Blockchain HUB FOR EUROPEan startups acceleration and growth)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2021-12-31

B-HUB FOR EUROPE is an EU funded initiative, under the H2020 Startup Europe programme, aimed to leverage technological excellence and boost blockchain-based applications in five European ecosystems in Italy, Germany, France, Romania, and Lithuania providing support to startups for market penetration and business growth. By facilitating business connections between startups and private/public organisations as potential adopters of new technology solutions, B-HUB FOR EUROPE intent was to bring blockchain applications closer to the market and enable a knowledge transfer process for blockchain-based solutions which could be beneficial to a large group of players in different sectors in Europe. Through communication and dissemination activities, the initiative was expected to create a broad community of innovation stakeholders to accelerate blockchain diffusion at European level.
Five main objectives were pursued:
1. Monitor blockchain startups ecosystems growth and discover talents and technology excellence
2. Educate target beneficiaries and create awareness on blockchain potential and its possible applications in the industry and service sector
3. Increase the technology demand and create more opportunities for blockchain technology uptake
4. Enhance the interaction between blockchain startups and the public and private sector to create business opportunities, encourage technology partnerships and assist fundraising operations
5. Contribute to the creation of a more favorable regulatory framework for blockchain technology by gathering inputs and insights from the blockchain community.
The project, implemented over a 24 month period, started in January 2020 and closed by 31/21/2021.
B-HUB FOR EUROPE set up a European hub for blockchain startups building on five technology and business accelerators in Italy (INNOVA), Germany (CONNECT GLOBAL), France (SYSTEMATIC) , Romania (SPHERIK), and Lithuania (STARTUP DIVISION) to leverage technological excellence and boost blockchain-based applications towards the public and private sectors. Two acceleration calls were launched in 2020 and 2021 to select innovative startups offering solutions with potential application in the public and private sectors and building on the blockchain technology. Support for business growth was provided through a tailored acceleration programme to 45 European startups benefiting of 190+ tailored acceleration services to fine-tune business models and growth strategies, address IPR challenges, facilitate links with potential clients, partners and investors, boost access to public funding schemes, and approach the European market through cross-border collaborations.
A broad capacity building action was put in place towards private (corporates and SMEs, non-profit organisations, sectoral associations) and public organisations (central and local governments, public agencies and academies) in the five target countries reaching more than 460 organisations and 600 participants to transfer knowledge on the blockchain technology application in different verticals, the most advanced solutions suitable for application to improve business production and distribution processes and innovate public services.
Matchmaking opportunities through matching labs were created for 51 startups with 90+ SMEs, corporates, public administrations, local governments and investors to establish business links and technology partnerships. The efforts put in place led to 2 B2B commercial agreements and 3 technology partnerships signed, one seed fundraising operation finalised, 3 PoCs developed, 5 pilots for technology validation, 20 startups supported to access national and European funding schemes. Links with investors were also created for more than 20 startups.
The B-HUB FOR EUROPE community is growing in the five ecosystems, involving blockchain startups, experts, enthusiasts and various stakeholders engaged in project activities and dissemination events. Through 112 events, including conferences, webinars, workshops, training sessions and summits, the B-HUB consortium reached 10,800+ participants. Furthermore, a bi-monthly digital newsletter was distributed to about 1,500 stakeholders in the five countries.
Through a scouting and mapping activity conducted by partners over the period 2020-2021, profiles of national ecosystems in the blockchain field were traced. A Blockchain Report was published in December 2021 illustrating the five ecosystems blockchain profiles.
The B-HUB FOR EUROPE team created cross-border and international links building synergies with 25 ongoing initiatives dealing with blockchain innovation and ecosystems mapping at European level. Contacts established provided for business leads for supported startups. Furthermore, links allowed for knowledge transfer, signposting of startups and innovations, joint organisation of events and public initiatives, data and figures exchange on blockchain ecosystems.
Finally, B-Hub has collected feedback and inputs from the engaged stakeholders and startups on the main needs, critical aspects and upcoming opportunities related to the standardisation and normative processes at national and EU levels. Material collected led to the publication in October 2021 of a startup survey reporting insights on the blockchain technology adoption landscape. Furthermore, final remarks, observations and recommendations were consolidated in a Report to contribute to the improvement of the ongoing regulatory process for a sustainable growth of the blockchain technology at EU level.
The B-HUB FOR EUROPE project contributed to increase the awareness on the blockchain technology and its tangible economic and industrial benefits in the five target ecosystems, boosting customer discovery to validate solutions in the public and private sector. A training format was developed and applied in each ecosystem that can be easily replicable in the medium-term.
The brand-new & customised acceleration programme tailored to the needs of the participating companies provided increased European visibility to the accelerated startups favouring the establishment of international links. Furthermore, services supplied contributed to reinforce startups business models and competitive capacity in an international context.
A dynamic community of experts and startups was created experimenting new technological partnerships.
A strong boost was ensured to public national and European funding schemes by encouraging and supporting startups to access the available opportunities for access to finance.
Accelerated startups benefited of enhanced awareness on the importance of IP protection management as strategic lever for business growth.
Through mapping activities, an updated picture was provided of the five blockchain ecosystems. Data collected were published and transferred to other European observatories and mapping initiatives to enrich the information base and give more visibility to the startups and actors identified in each country.
Recommendations and policy insights were brought to stimulate the launch of capacity building actions for SMEs and financial support for blockchain technology uptake in the five ecosystems.
Project website landing page
Project logo
Kick-off meeting - project team
Screenshot of the Final B-hub for Europe Conference on 09-12-2021