Partnership and innovation in action: this year’s BizSpark European Summit
The IT industry’s constant evolution is what makes it so exciting. Our annual BizSpark European Summit
is a great demonstration of this: in its 7th year, this event seems to be reaching new heights and attracting an increasingly impressive list of speakers, judges and delegates from the entrepreneurial community.
Held on 14 June in Brussels in partnership with ING, the 2011 BizSpark Summit will bring together thought leaders in the European entrepreneurial community: start-ups, investors, government representatives and journalists. The summit provides a unique platform to debate the issues facing tech entrepreneurs in Europe and see some of the best start-ups in Europe. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Research and Innovation Commissioner recently stated that start-ups and SMEs are the powerhouse of Europe’s Innovation Union. Access to finance is often the biggest hurdle to the success of these start-ups and SMEs, and the BizSpark Summit is a great platform to connect them with top European venture capitalists.
The theme of partnerships is echoed throughout the event, with this year’s programming having a stronger emphasis on cross-industry collaboration. Besides an elaborate start-ups showcase, this year’s agenda includes two panel discussions around new trends in funding and cloud based businesses in Europe.
Here are some of this year’s highlights:
- The cloud: finding business models that work – a panel session debating what it takes to build a truly sustainable cloud business in Europe.
- New trends in funding – a second panel designed to provide a comprehensive perspective on traditional, alternative and emerging funding sources for start-ups.
- Start-up showcase –15 of Europe’s most promising and inspiring BizSpark start-ups. This short-list is being honed from a long list of outstanding start-ups, so expect an impressive line-up on the day!
- Past winners: one year on – presentations from the CEOs of last year’s joint winners Artesian Solutions and Kobojo: what has happened in the past 12 months? And what advice would they pass on to the next generation of start-ups?
- An all-star panel of judges –15 finalists are presenting to some of the region’s leading investors and industry luminaries, including: angels Sherry Coutu and Richard Titus; serial entrepreneur and early-stage investor Rodrigo Speuldeva Schlultz; renowned VCs Sami Ahvenniemi (Conor Venture Partners), Julie Meyer (Ariadne Capital) and Bernard Dallé, Index Ventures; and Julien Cordoniou, Director of Partnerships, Facebook.
Our line-up of VIP speakers includes: special guest speaker Hans van der Noordaa, CEO Retail Banking Benelux, ING; Deputy General Director, Daniel Calleja Crespo, DG Enterprise and Industry and European Commission SME Envoy.
While relatively new to Microsoft, I have a long track record as a business angel, entrepreneur and venture capitalist myself, so I identify strongly with many of the start-ups and investors at the event.
Watch this space for our next blog, when we’ll be announcing details of the final 15 selected start-ups who will be presenting in Brussels in June. In the meantime, for more information about the event, including speaker biographies and how to register to attend, click here.