European Union funded FICHe (Future Internet Challenge eHealth) accelerator program has selected 80 European health technology companies out of more than three hundred applications to the first phase of the project. Participation was open to all European eHealth small and mid-sized enterprises and startups eager to develop innovative applications in the eHealth domain using FIWARE technology (www.fiware.org). In the coming next weeks the 80 SMEs and startups are offered bootcamps, coaching and webinars. By the end of February they all have to deliver a clear business model of their innovation, present their team to the review committee and develop a plan to execute in the next phase of the program.
The FICHe project is a three phase accelerator program that will challenge handpicked applicants to create the best business model, go-to-market strategy, proof of concept, investors pitch and tested prototype. To reach the next phase, applicants have to be among the top 50%, ending with the best 20 that will make it to the final phase.
FICHe Coordinator Satu Väinämö, University of Oulu, is satisfied with high quality of applications selected in the program. Väinämö: “It is great to see also small startup companies with a simply brilliant business ideas enter the FICHe progam. I hope that small companies would keep their eyes and ears open for this type of opportunities also in the future.”
In the first stage, companies are working on a two-month period to refine their idea into a business model. Each of them will receive funding of EUR 15 000, as well as training in bootcamps, the first of which took place at the end of January in Oulu, Finland. The other two bootcamps are held in Murcia, Spain and in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
“The aim of the Bootcamp was to sharpen a business perspective of the companies. Real end-users from the PATIO-service, managed by CIE, participated in a user workshop where SMEs and startups interviewed them and got feedback to their ideas. This was a valuable opportunity for companies to get insight and ideas how to better meet the needs of end-users”, says the leader of the first phase Mari Koskinen, Business Oulu.
FICHe provides companies with the overall funding of EUR 6.24 million for developing eHealth applications and creating sustainable business models. Funding will be distributed through a three-step process. In the first stage, companies will receive 15 000 euro for business model development. In the next phase, 40 out of the 80 companies will receive 50 000 euro for proof-of-concept. The third phase entering 20 out of the 40 companies will receive additionally 152 000 euro for working prototype development. At best, companies are therefore offered up to 217 000 euros funding.
FICHe is co-funded under the European Union’s Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. Project partners are University of Oulu, Business Oulu, TIC BioMed, FFIS de la region de Murcia, TNO, Amsterdam Economic Board, Stichting zorgInc., Dutch eHealth Fund Management BV and Stichting Digitalezorg.nl.
With aging populations, European countries are spending an increasing percentage of their GDP on healthcare. The healthcare sector has been more resistant to the current crisis than other industries, continuing to attract investments. Innovation is now expected to have a big impact, making health access, management and delivery more efficient by the use of Information Technology. By empowering highly-innovative start-ups and small- and mid-sized enterprises, FICHe aims to make European healthcare more competitive.
FIWARE is an innovative, open cloud-based infrastructure for cost-effective creation and delivery of Future Internet applications and services, at a scale not seen before. FIWARE API specifications are public and royalty-free, driven by the development of an open source reference implementation which accelerates the availability of commercial products and services based on FIWARE technologies. http://www.fiware.org
Oulu – Capital of Northern Scandinavia – growth and development hotspot of Northern Europe.
BusinessOulu is in charge of implementing the City of Oulu's industry policies, and providing growth companies with the services they require, in addition to promoting export, import, investments, and employment. With the help of its international partner network, BusinessOulu acts as a partner to companies and helps them grow, particularly in the North, where it leads and participates in the operations of Suomi-talo (”Finland Houses”). BusinessOulu persistently develops tourism business, conferences, congresses and events.
Oulu’s innovation environment, ecosystems, and think tanks create innovations in a bold and productive manner. The aim is to rapidly develop business opportunities and significantly increase start-up investments. BusinessOulu’s OuluHealth ecosystem is in charge of the Health of the Future scheme, part of the national Innovative Cities (INKA) 2014–2020 program.