2024 EIT Jumpstarter Cohort Selected!

2024 EIT Jumpstarter Cohort Selected!

These weeks mark the beginning of the Online Bootcamps for the EIT Jumpstarter programme, highlighting the strong demand for this initiative as individuals from across Europe seek to validate their innovative ideas. A significant step for 186 teams and 341 founders, the most promising participants will now work closely with experts to turn their concepts into reality. The digital classroom will soon be buzzing with activity as these diverse teams embark on their start-up journeys.

The appetite for the pre-acceleration offered by the EIT Jumpstarter is still huge. Only this year, 600 teams comprised of 1015 people applied to eight thematic cohorts: Food, Health, InnoEnergy, Manufacturing, New European Bauhaus, RawMaterials, Rebuild Ukraine and Urban Mobility.

Piotr Bourlange

“Every year, hundreds of researchers and students apply to the programme to validate their scientific ideas in a market-friendly environment. The EIT Jumpstarter gives this opportunity, especially since it targets non-Western European countries, which are often underrepresented in the global start-up accelerators,”– emphasised Piotr Boulange, international start-up expert who leads the EIT Jumpstarter.

“Our focus on idea-holders and very early-stage start-ups sets EIT Jumpstarter apart from many other programmes. It provides support from the first steps, ensuring that scientific and research ideas have the opportunity to grow and develop,”  he added.

In addition to the streamlined application process, EIT Jumpstarter offers unparalleled access to EU resources and business networks through its extensive EIT communities and partnerships. This network provides participants with crucial connections and opportunities to enhance their start-up journey significantly.

Diverse Participation Reflects Europe’s Rich Tapestry

The programme’s extensive reach reflects Europe’s diversity and the dynamism of the EIT Community. This year, the applicants represent 62 different nations. The most ideas came from Ukraine (104), Türkiye (64), Portugal (35), Poland (34), and Croatia (31)1.

Significantly, every eligible country was represented in the applications, showcasing the broad interest and engagement in the EIT Jumpstarter programme.

Almost 10% of the applicants are from the Western Balkans, way more than their share of the total eligible population would suggest – this highlights the EIT Community’s strategic efforts in these regions.

The establishment of an EIT Community RIS Hub in North Macedonia in the summer of 2023 has borne fruit, with thirteen teams from the country applying and eight of those joining the programme, the highest from the Western Balkans, and exactly matching Serbia, even though having the third of a population.

Since opening the EIT Jumpstarter to Ukrainians, the number of applications from Ukraine has been the highest for two consecutive years, constituting around 20% of the total applications. Since 2023, the EIT Jumpstarter has been prominently recognized within the local innovation ecosystem. In 2024, following the establishment of the EIT RIS Hub in Ukraine, we received significant promotional support for the EIT Jumpstarter from EIT Community Officer Ihor Markevych and his team. As a result, 42 teams from Ukraine, out of a total of 186, were selected for the programme, leading to 75 participants enhancing their entrepreneurial skills. These Ukrainian teams are represented across all cohorts of the EIT Jumpstarter.

As a key aspect of the programme’s internationalisation effort, each team must include at least one person from an eligible country, although teams can also have members from non-eligible countries. This cross-national collaboration is crucial, as research indicates that start-ups with diverse national backgrounds tend to be more successful. A study by McKinsey & Company2 found that companies with higher ethnic and cultural diversity are 33% more likely to outperform their peers in profitability.

The most popular categories are healthcare, food and New European Bauhaus

The EIT Jumpstarter programme saw the highest number of applications in the Health category, with 154 submissions in total. This was followed by the Food category, which received 118 applications, and the New European Bauhaus category, which garnered 75 applications. These categories reflect the diverse interests and innovative potential within the EIT Community, emphasizing critical areas of impact and development.

The New European Bauhaus initiative, launched by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in 2021, aims to blend art, culture, social inclusion, science, and technology to create sustainable and inclusive living spaces across Europe.

Despite being a recent addition to the EIT Jumpstarter programme in 2021, it has experienced significant growth thanks to its vision for a culturally diverse and ecologically sustainable Europe. Most of the ideas submitted are in the early stages of development, with only 10% of the successful applications having verified prototypes. This stage is crucial as teams will now focus on validating the best business models for their innovative ideas. The courses will cover essential topics, including market segmentation, customer value proposition, financials, investment basics, legal foundations, and intellectual property basics, all framed within the lean start-up methodology adapted from Silicon Valley to the European context.

This edition of the EIT Jumpstarter programme has achieved the best gender ratio so far, with 43% of female applicants. The EIT Jumpstarter programme continues to be a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs across Europe, providing them with the tools, knowledge, and network necessary to launch successful start-ups. As the Online Bootcamps commence, the diverse and dynamic cohort of participants will bring fresh, innovative ideas to life, furthering the EIT Community’s mission of fostering entrepreneurship and innovation across the continent.

[1] To provide some context, these countries have substantial populations: Ukraine (approximately 41 million), Türkiye (around 85 million), Poland (around 38 million), and Spain (approximately 47 million  ). Generally, larger countries tend to have more applicants,  which aligns with the linear correlation between population size and the number of EIT Jumpstarters participating. 

[2] Hunt, V., Prince, S., Dixon-Fyle, S., & Yee, L. (2020). Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from McKinsey & Company website.