Venture Alliances project connects academics with industry – the first collaboration pairs have been established
Venture Alliances project, led by Turku School of Economics, brings academics and businesses together to collaborate and build meaningful partnerships that enable the bridging of knowledge and experience between academia and industry. During the project, 100 venturing pairs and partnerships among academics and businesses will be supported, with a special focus on green and digital sectors. The first milestone for the project was achieved in spring 2023, when the first international VA matchmaking event was organized and the first collaboration pairs began their journey with the Entrepreneurship Resilience Programme.
The Venture Alliances project was born out of the need to bring academic knowledge and innovative solutions to the forefront, solving real-world challenges. To be able to solve the wicked problems concerning social and environmental sustainability, we need especially new insight and solutions supporting green and digital transitions. As the European higher education institutions host researcher with great potential to develop new ideas and solutions of great value to the societies, they often lack the contacts and knowledge to bring them to market. But when combined with companies experienced in commercializing new products and services, the likelihood of success is significantly higher. At the same time, the companies collaborating with researchers get access to new knowledge that may boost their product development and creation of new business opportunities.
After designing the framework and methodology for the Entrepreneurship Residency Programme (ERP) with preparatory courses for both academics and businesses covering various key topics relating to innovation, entrepreneurship and research commercialisation, the first international matchmaking event was held in February 2023. In the online event, discussions between the researchers and businesses were initiated, and most of the pairs decided to continue their collaboration in the ERP programme.
A total of 49 applicants representing both business and academia were selected and began their journey with Venture Alliance by attending a two-week preparatory course in preparation for the three-day matchmaking event which was held in February.
The novelty of the programme lies in the support it provides for the collaboration pairs and its international scope: the collaboration pairs are matched according to their needs and expertise, and every pair gets its own ‘case owner’ who offers support (e.g. regarding IPR) and guidance during the process (regular meetings with the pair). The international dimension of the programme further enhances its appeal, allowing participants to connect with colleagues across Europe.
"We've had a promising start with the Matchmaking Event and the preparatory courses. The feedback from the pairs will be invaluable in refining the programme to better serve the participants.", says Marikka Heikkilä who is leading the project consortium.
Participants keen on joining this innovative platform can look forward to the next matchmaking event in September 2023. Registration is currently open on the project website Venture Alliances.
''I encourage researchers and students to seize this unique opportunity. Those with queries or concerns are welcomed to contact via the website or direct contact'', says Riikka Franzén from the UTU Venture Alliance team.
Turku School of Economics executes the Venture Alliances project in collaboration with Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), Saxion University of Applied Sciences (the Netherlands), University of Maribor (Slovenia), University of Murcia (Spain), Acceler8 (Malta), Arcinno Ltd (Finland), Web2Learn (Greece) and AcrossLimits Ltd (Malta).
The project has received funding from the European Union's Erasmus+ Programme.