Estonia: Martin Villig, Heidi Kakko appointed members of EIC's advisory board

  • 2019-06-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The European Innovation Council (EIC) appointed new advisory board members, who will advise the European Commission on innovation issues, among the newly appointed members are also Bolt co-founder Martin Villig and BaltCap Growth Fund partner Heidi Kakko.

In addition to advising the European Commission, the task of the advisory board members is to increase the innovation's visibility and introduce it in society. The members were appointed for a period of two years, the entire work of the advisory board will take place in the form of meetings and mainly in Brussels, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research said.

"The involvement of our representatives will definitely help raise the awareness of major European powers of how breakthrough innovation is created in smaller innovation systems and what kind of obstacles our startups are struggling with," head of the research department of the ministry, Katrin Pihor, said. "On the other hand, the European Innovation Council will also open up new opportunities for our companies for pre-market development as well as for accelerating their business," she added.

"If Europe was the driving force behind innovation in the world in the early 20th century, the current situation is different. Today, there are no European companies among the top 10 startups in the world. Support measures for innovation in Europe are rather complex and bureaucratic. Finding solutions to such challenges is what the European Innovation Council deals with," Villig said in a press release.

The European Innovation Council advisory board advises the European Commission in the framework of the Horizon Europe program, which has a 100 billion euro budget of which 10 billion euros is to be allocated to the EIC. Horizon Europe is the successor of the Horizon 2020 program, which supports research and innovation in the European Union.

The EIC was called together in 2017 by the European Commission. Back then, activity was launched in the framework of a pilot project. The new advisory board is to start operating on the basis of a long-term strategy, with the goal of finding practical business possibilities for European research institutions and accelerating the development of local innovative companies. In order to realize the long-term vision, the EIC is to also recruit team of program managers.

In addition to the two Estonian members, the 22-member advisory board also includes, Jim Hagemann Snabe, chairman of the supervisory board of Siemens, Herman Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, and Anita Krohn Traaseth, former CEO of Innovation Norway, among others. Of Estonians, TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus has also previously been a member of a high level group of EIC.