The second INCENSe call, launched in June 2015 and dedicated to green technology, produced 257 applications from 30 European countries and Israel: more than 50% of these applications came from Spain and Italy. The call was targeted at eight key sectors: energy efficiency and home automation, renewable energy, smart grid, energy storage, advanced solutions for diagnostics and automation, electric mobility, computer security, and digitalisation through ICT. The aim is to innovate the energy sector, transforming the dreams of many entrepreneurs devoted to clean technology into success stories.
INCENSe stands for INternet Cleantech ENablers Spark, and is an acceleration programme coordinated by Enel, which also includes Endesa, Enel’s subsidiary in Spain, the Danish business incubator Accelerace, which boasts extensive experience in supporting startups in the energy sector, and FundingBox, the first – and largest – global platform dedicated to financing startups and researchers. The programme is supported by the European Commission through the FIWARE Accelerate Programme. It forms part of the third phase of the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) launched by the European Commission in 2011 for the creation of the free online technology platform FIWARE, involving the most innovative companies in the industry.
INCENSe, now at its second call, has allocated a total of €8m to promoting innovation and technical employment growth in the energy sector through the development of products and services related to green technologies. So far, the programme has supported 14 startups selected as a result of the first call. Now it’s the turn of another 28.
The INCENSe Evaluation Committee, made up of executives of partner companies and a group of independent experts, has begun the selection process, which will end with Pitching Day in early December. The winners will be announced in January, when they will embark on their path of acceleration.
The selected startups will receive a non-repayable grant of up to €150,000. They will also benefit from a 6-month incubation programme, training sessions with industry experts, special workshops on European funding programmes, access to specific projects in Spain (Smart City, in Malaga), Denmark (Next Step City Living Lab, in Esbjerg) and Italy, as well as participation in meetings for the presentation of projects with “Business Angel” investors.
Moreover, the partners involved in the initiative will put their expertise at the service of the winners, supporting them in the development of their products and services. On the strength of its customer base and global presence, the Enel Group will support the winning startups with many interesting opportunities.
This is a real opportunity for growth for the future winners, as demonstrated by the 14 startups selected from the first call, launched in October 2014. In the first three months of the programme, these companies set to work on their projects together with Enel and the other partners of the initiative, in some cases with important moments of cooperation. This extremely useful support pushes product development in the right direction. Thanks to the INCENSe acceleration programme, being held in recent months in Rome, startups are given the opportunity to attend master classes on business related topics; a chance to gain greater insights into an important side of business, but also to network and come into contact with different realities.
In total, INCENSe will support 42 startups. The projects rewarded so far are of a very diverse nature: many are dedicated to the management of energy consumption, others to ensuring safety in company plants, yet more to encouraging informed consumer choices. All of which are a testament to how technology and creativity, when properly channelled, can bring true innovation to the energy world.