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European clusters need to be better suited to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) overcome the valley of death – the difficult task of finding sufficient investment to get from idea to business.

Many SMEs, despite having a brilliant idea or product, find access to funding difficult. They need skills and training to pitch their idea perfectly, to the right investors and at the right time. The new project MPowerBIO helps them address that.

The ambitious MPowerBIO programme offers 10 training the trainers’ events for a total of 90 clusters across the bioeconomy, covering most of Europe. The events are set up to help clusters understand how SMEs can obtain capital and grow.

The MPowerBIO project will use feedback from clusters, SMEs and investors on the concrete challenges they have regarding investments to set up an online platform containing digital tools for evaluating investment readiness.

Online training modules and regional trainers’ events will be organised to build the capacity of clusters to train their SME members in preparing and presenting high quality projects to investors.

The best SME projects from these events will be selected by investors, and invited to one of the two European Finals, based on the European Bioeconomy Venture Forum model.A total of 72 high-quality, screened and investment-ready companies are expected to pitch at the two investment finals. The project will screen and support 350 SMEs towards this goal.

MPowerBIO (eM-POWERing SME Clusters to help SMEs to overcome the valley of death) will be implemented for 30 months starting from 1 May 2020. The project consortium of 10 international partners from 9 countries has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 887501.