The Start for Future (SFF) alliance, a dynamic and rapidly growing innovation alliance in Europe, is taking a significant stride forward by officially establishing its new organizational form as a European Cooperative Society/Societas Cooperativa Europaea (SCE). Comprising academia, startups, industry, and public organizations, the SFF Cooperative envisions revolutionizing systemic innovation and driving transformative advancements that will shape the future of innovation in Europe. With the establishment of the cooperative at the inaugural meeting held during the SFF Varna Summit on 24th June 2023, the alliance solidifies itself as a unified entity set to play a pivotal role in shaping Europe's political, social, and economic landscape.
Edinburgh Napier University proudly stands as one of the founding partners, alongside seventeen other prominent institutions from various European countries.
The inaugural meeting, held during the SFF Varna Summit on 24th June 2023, marked the establishment of the SFF Cooperative as a unified entity, set to play a pivotal role in shaping Europe's political, social, and economic landscape. Eighteen prominent partners from the existing alliance, consisting of 36 universities, incubators, research, and business organisations, have stepped forward as founding members:
- Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece
- City of Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland
- Edinburgh Napier University, UK
- EIT KIC Urban Mobility, Spain
- EURA AG, Germany
- Foundation for Innovation, Technology, and Transfer of Knowledge, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences, Germany
- International Burch University, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia
- Queen's University Belfast, UK
- Startups Academy, Greece
- Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship, Germany
- The Edge; Research and Business Development, Bulgaria
- University of Aveiro, Portugal
- University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland
- City of Varna, Bulgaria
- VIA University College, Denmark
The cooperative aims to forge a collaborative synergy between universities and innovation actors, working hand in hand to drive the advancement and commercialisation of revolutionary concepts and cutting-edge technologies.
"By fostering easier access to resources, funding, and expert knowledge, the SFF Cooperative ensures the seamless conversion of insights and ideas into tangible offerings, ranging from innovative products to valuable services and budding enterprises. This approach not only opens up a multitude of prospects for our university throughout Europe but also extends its reach to benefit our closest regional ecosystem partners,"
Explained Prof. Dr. Thomas Stumpp, Vice President for Economy and Entrepreneurship at HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences.
Democratising the Innovation Landscape in Europe
The Start for Future alliance, initiated in 2019 with the support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), and further endorsed by the EIT HEI initiative, as well as EIT KICs Urban Mobility and Manufacturing, has brought together a passionate team of 36 visionary universities and their stakeholders from corresponding regional ecosystems. The establishment of the SFF Cooperative marks a significant milestone in fostering long-term collaboration and cooperation among European institutions and innovation actors. The Cooperative's focus on systemic innovation reflects a broader commitment to addressing societal challenges and enhancing the well-being of European citizens. By encouraging collaboration and knowledge exchange between universities and innovation actors, the Cooperative aims to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in an open and democratic manner.
"We believe that volume is required to achieve excellence. Volume is achieved with an inclusive and democratic model, where success benefits the entire network rather than just a select few. A scalable and democratic approach is essential, promoting an eco-centric rather than an ego-centric view. Potential for innovation and entrepreneurship is to be found and nurtured in every corner of Europe, leveraging European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) incombination with regional stakeholders,"
Stated Martin Vendel, Academy Director of EIT KIC Urban Mobility.
Opportunities for Companies and Ecosystem Innovators in Europe
The establishment of the SFF Cooperative presents exciting opportunities for European corporations, investors, regional ecosystems, and SMEs. The cooperative brings together innovation actors from companies with universities and entrepreneurial talent to work on breakthrough technologies needed to address real-world challenges.
"This collaborative ecosystem facilitates knowledge transfer, fosters co-creation, and provides corporations with a unique platform to engage with entrepreneurial-minded individuals, driving innovation within their own organizations. The SFF Cooperative nurtures promising startups and spin-offs originating from universities, providing opportunities for early-stage investments and potentially high returns. Additionally, the cooperative nature of the SCE promotes cross-sector collaboration, enabling SMEs to form strategic partnerships, access resources and expertise, and scale their operations, propelling their growth and competitiveness in the European market,"
Explained Prof. Dr. Klaus Sailer, CEO of Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship, one of the founding members of the SFF Cooperative.
Through collaborative efforts, knowledge sharing, and unified goals, the SFF Cooperative aims to propel Europe toward a future characterised by systemic innovation, economic growth, and societal well-being.
About the Start for Future Cooperative: The Start for Future Cooperative (SFF Cooperative) is a European Cooperative Society / Societas Cooperativa Europaea (SCE) that emerged from an innovation alliance of academia, startups, industry, and public organisations. Comprising universities, incubators, research, and business organisations, the cooperative strives to drive the advancement and monetization of revolutionary concepts and cutting-edge technologies. By fostering collaboration, the SFF Cooperative aims to shape Europe's innovation landscape, promoting systemic innovation and contributing to economic growth and societal well-being. For more information, visit www.starforfuture.eu