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European Commission reinforces its support of training workshops to help scientists launch biotech start-ups.

Brussels, 21 December 2001

Draft Press Release

Growth in new sectors, such as biotechnology, is driven essentially through the creation and development of new companies. As researchers are seldom acquainted with management and finance, the European Commission is once again supporting the Biobiz™ initiative to help entrepreneurs launch their start-ups by preparing viable business plans1. Based on the success of previous series, the EC has reinforced its support this year with a new round of 15 workshops across Europe. This additional support will allow even scientists with limited revenue to participate.

Increasing chances of success through training

Scientists seeking to exploit their discoveries by setting up a biotechnology company are often faced with a dilemma - lack of management and finance skills. As they rarely can afford the time and cost of a professional training or the advice from consultants, Biobiz™ provides another option.

This intensive three-day training workshop uses a hands-on approach with a dedicated software package. It provides the basic tools and know-how needed by scientists to understand the business planning that is required for starting a company, and forces them to consider all aspects of such a venture.

"Biobiz™ has been developed to meet the specific business planning needs of biotechnology entrepreneurs," says programme director Michel Lepers of Eurobiobiz2. "The goal of this initiative is to provide scientists with the skills and knowledge needed to put together coherent business plans, which will enable them to attract real interest from venture capitalists."

For this third round of workshops, Biobiz™ has obtained a EUR 193,000 grant from the EC and is additionally supported by the firm Eurobiobiz, which promotes and facilitates the development of small and medium-sized biotech companies.

Providing a nurturing environment for bio-entrepreneurs

This initiative is in line with the orientations of EU research policy, through the scientific and technological objectives of the Fifth Framework programme, which aim to contribute to European social goals, such as fostering growth and employment.

By training researchers in this domain, the European Commission aims to cultivate further entrepreneurial initiatives and promote small research-based biotech firms in Europe, leading to job creation and growth. The main challenge is to link the ability to discover with the capacity to produce - a central tenet of the Cell Factory key action of the "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources" programme. In short, the programme provides a nurturing environment for bio-entrepreneurs to start up and flourish.

Pursuing a successful initiative

Earlier Biobiz™ initiatives, held between 1998 and 2001, enabled more than 200 potential entrepreneurs to follow the course in various European cities. 25 of these participants have since started their own company, such as Newron (Italy) or Biotechnology Inflection Point (BIP) (France).

Who can apply?

The workshops are specifically designed for (potential) entrepreneurs in the biotech sector. Applicants should be researchers from Member, Associated and Candidate states with a clear start-up project.

The EC's Quality of Life programme, together with Eurobiobiz, provide a subsidy of EUR 1900 for citizens of Member and Associated states wishing to attend a Biobiz™ training course, the cost of which is regularly EUR 2200, thus reducing the cost to only EUR 300.

Members: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom

Candidates: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey

Associates: Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

Prerequisites

Applicants should have at least a basic understanding of what is involved in starting and running a business. For the course, a working knowledge of spreadsheet software such as Excel(tm) is required. Candidates will be selected preferentially on the basis of the maturity of their start-up plans.

Biobiz™ workshops:

Cambridge (UK)19-21 February 2002Dublin (IRL)5-7 November 2002
Heidelberg (D)26-28 March 2002Prague (CZ)2-4 December 2002
Paris (F)9-11 April 2002Berlin (D)21-23 January 2003
Amsterdam (NL)28-30 May 2002Paris (F)18-20 February 2003
Milan (I)18-20 June 2002Warsaw (PL)18-20 March 2003
Strasbourg (F)2-4 July 2002Hamburg (D)15-17 April 2003
Madrid (E)17-19 September 2002Vienna (A)20-22 May 2003
Stockholm (S)15-17 October 2002

To register, please contact: Michel Lepers or Julie Cohade, Eurobiobiz
Tel: +33 (0) 473.644.336 - Fax: +33 (0) 473.644.337 - www.eurobiobiz.com
Email: biobiz@eurobiobiz.com

For further information, please contact:
Stéphane Hogan, Communications Unit, Research DG
Tel: +32 2.296.2965 - Fax: +32 2.299.1860 - Email: stephane.hogan@cec.eu.int

For more information on Research DG and previous press releases, visit our web site:
http://www.cordis.lu          http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/

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1 This initiative is sponsored by the European Commission Research Directorate within the key action "The Cell Factory" as an accompanying measure of the "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources" programme.

2 Linking science to business, Eurobiobiz is a leading company dedicated to the development of European biotechnologies. With over 60 years of accumulated experience, the Eurobiobiz team includes specialists experienced in the creation and development of biotechnology start-ups.

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