The European Commission is looking for entrepreneurs active in the blue economy to take part in a high-profile event aimed at matching cutting edge companies with public and private investors. #BlueInvest 2018, the first European event of its kind and hosted by Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will take place on 17 May in Brussels.
The global blue economy, which covers all activities making use of the ocean's resources – from fisheries, to renewable energy to biotechnology, is set to grow at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030. For Europe, this could mean 10.8 million jobs and nearly 1 trillion euro in turnover. It could mean cleaner energy, new health benefits, dependable food. But the needs for investment are huge and many innovative companies lack the financial backing to grow and bring their products and services to the marketplace.
Commissioner Vella is determined to help: "Our ocean is a source of food, medicine, energy and so much more. The European Commission wants to boost companies that see the ocean as an opportunity. Access to finance is the passage to sustainable growth. We want to go beyond merely funding and actively match companies with potential investors. I believe this will shine light on this rapidly developing sector and create opportunities for jobs creation, economic growth and the sustainable development of the blue economy."
The event follows on to the 2017 Our Ocean conference, where the EU pushed blue growth higher on the international agenda and helped to mobilise the corporate sector. It also dovetails with the priorities set by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, namely to improve the EU's overall business environment by removing barriers to investment and promoting sustainable finance.
#BlueInvest 2018: meet your future business partner
The event will create bilateral networking opportunities for blue economy entrepreneurs, innovators and investors.
In addition, a selection of companies will have the opportunity to pitch their projects live in front of a jury of investors. Companies interested to take part in this session can apply until 9 March 2018.
How can I apply to the pitching sessions?
Go to the website and you will be guided how to take part in the call for expression of interest.
Is my company eligible to take part in this contest?
All young companies (start-ups, scale-ups, accelerators…) active in the blue economy can join. This includes fisheries, aquaculture, biotechnology, renewable energy, transport, tourism, waste management (e.g. marine litter) and much more.
More information can be found on the website
I don't want to pitch but would love to attend the conference for networking
Great! You will be able to register as of 8 February until 10 May.
Be aware that places are limited!
What is the EU's policy on blue economy?
You mention that the EU promotes investments. How exactly?
The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called 'Juncker Plan', focuses on creating jobs and boosting growth by making smarter use of financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. Moreover, other EU facilities such as the EIB's InnovFin can provide the right financing instrument for your research and innovation project.