How to apply to become an EC-BIC?
EBN membership is organised into two categories:
- The EC-BICs
This status is granted to business and innovation support organisations implementing the EBN quality assurance system involving a quality charter and a self-assessment protocol. Full Membership is awarded to organisations offering outstanding business innovation and incubation support to start-ups,
spin-offs and SMEs.
Their mission is to accelerate the generation of new innovative enterprises, to provide integrated incubation support to start-ups and spin-offs, to stimulate and mentor innovation projects in developing SMEs, and to create awareness for entrepreneurship, innovation and internationalisation at regional and local communities level.
- Candidate BICs
Associate membership status is granted to organisations which are in effect BICs ‘in waiting’ and which go on to form a fully fledged BIC and take on Full Membership, benefiting from the whole range of services which being a member of the EBN brings. Once they have gone through the quality process successfully and have demonstrated their suitability to become a BIC, those associate members switch to the Full Membership status.
- Business Support Organisations
Any business support organisation which is not an EC-BIC but which aims to provide high profile and multidisciplinary professional assistance to small innovative businesses: technology transfer centres, incubators, innovation and entrepreneurship centres, science & technology centres and parks, chambers of commerce and industry, regional/local development agencies, clusters managers, etc.
- EBN partners
Other EBN associate members include blue chip companies (Procter & Gamble, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, etc.), financial institutions, consultants, international organisations (European Space Agency), national agencies (Iapmei, Sviluppo Italia, Czech Invest, Awex, Luxinnovation, Eommex, etc.) and similar organisations.
- Sector specific sub-networks
EBN integrates sector-specific networks of incubators and innovation centres such as the ESINET Network specialised in the “space & sat sector” and supported by the European Space Agency (ESA).
In July 2 July 2002, the European Space Incubators Network (ESINET) was launched as an experimental thematic platform for the transfer of knowledge and technologies in the field of space. At the beginning of 2007, ESA invited EBN to integrate ESINET as a structural thematic component of the EBN network and to further professionalize and deploy its operations.
Organisations that provide innovation support services to new entrepreneurs and existing SMEs can apply to become an EC-BIC, as long as the EC-BIC Quality Criteria are met.
EBN recommends that organisations wishing to apply for EC-BIC status become Associate Members first. Associate Membership gives access to all EBN services and enables ‘Candidate’ BICs to become involved with the network and to prepare for the evaluation and accreditation process. This involves a number of steps as follows:
- Organisation applies to EBN for full membership as an EC-BIC.
- Pre-evaluation visit if necessary.
- Completion of self-evaluation questionnaire.
- If ready for evaluation, visit by expert organised by EBN Quality Team.
- Evaluation report prepared by expert and submitted to EBN.
- Evaluation report assessed by BIC Quality Mark Committee.
- If approved, full EC-BIC "licence" issued and organisation becomes EC-BIC.
- Ongoing annual evaluation.
To find out if your organization is ready to become a full EC BIC with a view to going through the accreditation process for the EC BIC Quality mark, then we recommend the following preparatory reading material
NB: EBN is able to support "candidate" BICs that are not ready for evaluation and accreditation, through its Technical Assistance service.
Most importantly if you are convinced that joining our network is of real benefit to your organization, to proceed with your application:
- Please give us a call or come and meet with the EBN Quality Team at EBN offices.
We will contact you very quickly to answer all your pending questions.