Plans to recruit up to 30 companies developing cutting edge technologies to participate in Innovate UK’s Korea EUREKA Day 2020 Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) had to be changed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
GBIP is a three-phase programme which funds and helps the most ambitious and innovative companies breakdown the barriers and overcome the challenges of accessing complex markets, like South Korea.
Delegates receive intensive support to build their capability and confidence to meet Korean companies, leading research organisations and senior figures to explore collaboration opportunities.
With the current restrictions on international travel, EEN’s GBIP lead Louise Hooker was determined that companies who had shown strong interest should still derive real value from the programme and quickly adapted existing arrangements and explored alternative ways to engage.
Advanced manufacturing and materials
The result was a two-day virtual interactive workshop highlighting the opportunities in South Korea for SMEs developing innovative products and services in advanced manufacturing and materials.
30 participants from the UK and South Korea joined online on 22 & 23 April to listen to a series of keynote addresses from market experts and inspirational innovators.
Delegates benefited from detailed information about the advantages and unique aspects of participating in the GBIP and top tips for creating and securing collaborations with Korean partners. They also heard about some of the successes to date:
- Herdsy, a Cambridge agritech company who from his pitch to Samsung secured a partnership deal to develop an animal tracking device, estimated to be worth £8.5 million to the business
- Altered Carbon a University spin out developing graphene gas sensors who are hoping to start a project under the Eurostars programme with the leading Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and GRIB which if successful could lead to sales worth $4.0M by 2028.
Among the keynote presenters was Dr Athan Fox, of Aurelius Environmental who spoke candidly about his own experience as a GBIP participant, securing funding through the EUREKA programme with a Korean partner and provided valuable insight on how to manage relationships with international partners.
Funding, finance and innovation advisers
Delegates were able to get a deeper understanding through breakout round table discussions with speakers and improve their knowledge, awareness and skills through dynamic masterclass sessions led by experienced funding, finance and innovation advisers.
Louise said: "This was a true case of being thrown in at the deep end. We had to adjust and learn quickly, hosting a virtual event is very different. We spent hours getting to grips with the tech and rehearsing bringing in speakers who were 8 hours ahead so that we were able to feel really confident on the day.
"There was a bit of apprehension but above all we were all really excited. We had a receptive audience, a great line-up of speakers and a variety of activities which meant everyone was able to get involved and get the most out of the day. No one wants a crisis but it was great to be given the opportunity to try something new and think outside the box. And the positive feedback that we have received has made it all the more worthwhile and rewarding.
"We are looking forward to visiting South Korea again but certainly hope to run some more virtual events in the meantime."
Tony Winfield, Sustainable Computers Ltd in Nottingham, said: "This was definitely the best webinar that I have attended. It was highly interactive and friendly. I agree that such webinars should be integrated into the process in the future as they give you the opportunity to explore any doubts that you may have, whilst preparing you for entry to a new market."
For more information about the Global Business Innovation Programme or other areas of support please contact us.