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How the city of Izmir is strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurial potential of the region


 Deeptech innovation in fields such as AI, IoT, biotechnology, robotics, and augmented reality applications mean unique products, new jobs, and new markets

The development of solutions in these fields are hindered by insufficient financial resources, lack of support mechanisms, and difficulty in innovating while serving customers.

Izmir city in Turkey is one of the administrative centres that is actively working on overcoming these barriers. The ambition is to create an entrepreneurial-friendly ecosystem where innovative ideas in the field of technology are transformed into value-added products and services.

A series of support-programmes have been launched in the past years to develop the infrastructure and enable researchers and entrepreneurs to acquire new skills and get access to professional networks and funding opportunities.

 "There are a lot of different initiatives dedicated to boost the innovation potential and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. They are on the right path, but still at an early stage," said Lorenzo Valeriani, Senior Expert at META Group. Lorenzo was involved in the İzmir Network and Innovation Centre Project (İzmir NIC), an initiative focused on stimulating the development and commercialisation of innovative solutions that meet the needs of users in an international context.

Funded through EUROPAID, the project aimed to improve early-stage start-ups investment readiness through:

  • Ecosystem building: increase the capacity of the ecosystem through training, networking, legal support, awareness raising and the creation of a partnership framework.
  • Technology framework: create a reliable and scalable technology infrastructure to allow the efficient delivery of Izmir NIC Hub services.

"One of our main objectives was to equip local trainers with the necessary concepts and methodologies required when mentoring innovators working in very competitive and highly specialised fields. The trainers we have worked with had different backgrounds but were very engaged and eager to learn international best practices. If all the players in the ecosystem are involved and willing to work together, great results can be expected in the following years," Lorenzo added.

Bringing innovation to the market

Laying the foundation of a strong ecosystem is a prerequisite for encouraging innovators to develop novel solutions. Another one is providing them with expert support in complementary areas that allow for their solutions to reach the market and generate impact.

In Izmir, this second phase is addresses by the D-TECH4ENT initiative. The aim of this project is to nurture promising disruptive ideas by providing deep-tech entrepreneurs with support for prototyping, validation, and demonstration in real world conditions, and allowing for wider deployment, scale-up and uptake.

The incubator serves as a "hatchery" for early-stage high risk deep-techs startups, with training programmes covering marketing, pitching, financing and management. Following the trainings, a match-making meeting will be held in İzmir to bring together corporate companies, investors and start-ups, which are part of the relevant ecosystem, to increase their cooperation opportunities. D-TECH4ENT is expected to facilitate the development of 12 new and innovative products and 6 national and 2 international patent applications.

Deep tech startups offer unique opportunities by developing impactful solutions to real life problems like climate change, healthcare, or access to green energy. In Europe, and according to the 2023 European Deep Tech report by Dealroom, European deep tech startups raised $17.7B in 2022, a 22% decrease from 2021. The four main categories in deep tech are novel AI, future of computing, novel energy, and space tech.

Initiatives like İzmir NIC and D-TECH4ENT enable deep tech innovators and entrepreneurs to build the next generation of category-defining businesses that will shape our societies. Contact our team to learn how META Group can support your organisation with similar support solutions.

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